Domain Forwarding 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

Domain Forwarding 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

Photo: pch.vector / Freepik.
Photo: pch.vector / Freepik.

Acquiring your first internet domain is a major step in establishing your online presence and building your brand. Whether you’re starting an online business or aiming to boost your visibility on the web, securing your own domain is a critical strategic move.

You can think of an internet domain as your street address, while the actual website is your office building where customers visit. After buying a domain, you have purchased the name for your site, but you still need to build and host the website separately.

Owning a domain offers a multitude of benefits beyond the conventional use of hosting a website. Not only does it provide a digital address for your online presence, but it also enables you to streamline access to various platforms and services.

Related: How Domain Names Are Making Online Identity Verification Easier and Safer

Why Forward Your Domain?

The process of designing and hosting a website can be expensive and time-consuming. A well-linked network of social media sites can get you off the ground quickly and offer many of the same features and benefits of having your own website.

Social media allows your audience to engage with your content without any complicated setup and the added work of content moderation. You offload all of this onto another platform. As your business grows, you can decide whether hosting your own service makes sense.

Enhanced Connectivity

Domain forwarding is ideal for scenarios where you want to maintain a presence at a particular domain but direct all traffic to a different website. Forwarding records are easy to set up and manage, requiring minimal configuration. These records are commonly used when you have multiple domain names pointing to the same website or pointing your domain to social media profiles.

If you are just starting out and are not ready for building and hosting your own site, simply forwarding your domain to a link profile such as Lnk.Bio or LinkTree can serve as a central gateway to your entire online presence.

Easy Access to Social Media

With your own domain, you can easily forward or create subdomains to direct visitors to your social media profiles, such as your YouTube channel, Instagram, and more. This integration ensures seamless navigation for your audience across different platforms.

Instead of sharing a direct link to your profile (such as, you share your own domain ( This helps you start building backlinks across the web, which can provide “link juice” to your website later if you choose to develop one.

Above all, you have the added benefit of using a single link across all of your profiles, rather than maintaining an extensive list on each profile.

Photo: storyset / Freepik
With your own domain, you can easily forward or create subdomains to direct visitors to your social media profiles, such as your YouTube channel, Instagram, and more. Photo: storyset / Freepik.

Masked Forwarding

Domain forwarding has two options: forwarding only and forwarding with masking. Both options will redirect your visitors, but forwarding with masking has additional features you can use.

Masked domain forwarding, also known as URL cloaking, is a type of domain forwarding that allows you to redirect visitors to a new URL while keeping the original URL in the browser’s address bar. This means that your domain name will still appear in the address bar, and you can enter meta-tags for search engine results.

For example, you can set up to forward with masking to, so that the browser address bar still shows while masking the destination URL.

Subdomain Forwarding

Using subdomains can be an effective marketing strategy, especially if your social profile handles are not consistent or don’t match your domain name at all. It can be hard to secure the exact same handle across all social media, and remembering several different handles makes it difficult for users to find you online.

To forward a subdomain like “” to another website, such as an Instagram profile, you can create a CNAME (Canonical Name) record for your subdomain “ig” pointing to the target website (in this case, your Instagram profile).

As an example, subdomains allow you to turn a set of inconsistent social links such as:


into a set of consistent links, like these:

  • (Facebook)
  • (Instagram)
  • (YouTube)

Email Forwarding

Email forwarding is another strategy that allows you to use a personalized email on your marketing materials without the added work of managing your own server. You can set this up with domain records so that email incoming to gets sent to

The downside to this method is you cannot send email from your custom address without additional setup, but this does allow you to receive messages from your audience while masking your personal email.

If you want to be able to send email from your domain without running your own server, it’s possible to set up your custom domain with a third-party email provider such as Google Workspace. There are also several hosting providers which can provide managed private email servers with an Open Email Platform such as Open-Xchange.

There is minimal setup with these options and any reputable provider will have good support to get you set up quickly. Here are some options to consider:

These services allow you to reinforce your brand identity with every email you send. It helps in brand recognition and creates consistency across your website, business cards, and other communications without the added headache of managing your own server.


Domain forwarding offers a versatile solution for consolidating and managing your online presence, especially for new domain owners. Whether you’re redirecting traffic to social media profiles, utilizing subdomains for improved branding, or implementing email forwarding for a professional touch, these strategies allow you to enjoy the benefits of domain ownership without the complexities of building and hosting a website.

By understanding the various methods of domain forwarding, including basic forwarding, masked forwarding, subdomain forwarding, and email forwarding, you can tailor your approach to suit your specific goals and style. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, an aspiring influencer, or simply looking to establish a cohesive online identity, domain forwarding provides a flexible and efficient solution to enhance your online presence and strengthen your brand recognition.