ƒµ©Ҝ You WordPress

In my WordPress MU migration, I made the delightful discovery that it will not serve on a 'www' subdomain.  Period.  It will answer, but it will never regard a 'www' subdomain as canonical, and always assume the bare domain is the right spot to serve from.

Fuck You, WordPress.

While I certainly agree that the behaviour of typing 'www.barneyb.com' and 'barneyb.com' into a browser should be the same in nearly all cases (and it is in mine), using the bare domain as the canonical name is absurd.  If I'm hitting a website, it's canonical address should be the 'www' subdomain.  Exactly the same as every other protocol significant enough to warrant a globally accepted "standard" subdomain.  Setting up the bare domain to forward to the proper canonical subdomain is good manners, but the bare domain is not the web host.

WordPress MU, on the other hand, requires exactly the opposite.

My web site is located at www.barneyb.com.  Period.  End of story.  If you're lazy and type in 'barneyb.com', it'll happily forward you to the right location, because I'm a courteous administrator, but you'll not stay on 'barneyb.com'.  I'm lazy in most of my one-off demo apps and don't enforce canonicalization, so in those cases you can see either one in the address bar, but for my "official" web presence it's www.barneyb.com and only www.barneyb.com.

Perhaps worth mentioning is that my OpenID lives at http://barneyb.com/; it does not live at http://www.barneyb.com/.  Why?  Because while OpenID is HTTP-based, it's not part of my web site, and so doesn't belong on the 'www' subdomain.

I also split my HTTPS traffic to a separate subdomain (ssl.barneyb.com), though if you go there you'll be redirected back to www.barneyb.com unless you enter a specific application's path.  All those applications are not part of my "official" website; they're things like EventLog, Pic of the Day, timecard/invoicing, financial tracking, etc.

I'm going to intentionally not  dwell on this any more this evening.  My gut reaction is to say "you're stupid, I'm not going to use you" and stick to my Ant-based solution.  I'm not sure a bit of time to "cool down" will change that decision, but I'm going to give WPMU the benefit of the doubt and delay the decision until I'm not quite as pissed off.  It doesn't deserve it (software is supposed to serve the user, not the other way around), but I'm a courteous administrator after all.

Update (2009-05-04): I've come back and patched WordPress MU to allow the use of a 'www' subdomain.  Hopefully the change will eventually make it back to the main codebase, but I'm not holding my breath.

5 responses to “ƒµ©Ҝ You WordPress”

  1. rob

    Wow, that was a completely appropriate reaction :)


    I actually hold the opposite view – http:// with www seems redundant to me. However, I totally feel your pain when fighting with uncooperative software.


  2. Roger Benningfield

    Barney: Step one… take a deep breath. :)

    Okay, my first suggestion is to use blog.barneyb.com instead of www. That leaves www for a static HTML site or whatever you like. (You can 302 it for now, until you decide what to do.)

    You could also submit a ticket to Donncha and see if he's willing to add support for a canonical www in a future release. If he were to buy in, it might make it into 2.8… 2.7.1 is too close to release, I suspect.

  3. Uncle Richard

    Barney, Your language!!! What would your mother say? :)

  4. Luke

    You should seriously give Drupal a try. It does multi-site hosting out of the box and a lot more.

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