What is dream.website

I bought my domain in May. Recently, I discovered there seem to be a mirror of my website with dream.website added to it. It shows “http”, not secure but every single thing on the site is like a mirror of mine. What could be wrong

Interesting. I’ve never heard of this before, however it actually looks suspiciously like the result of a half-hearted attempt at automating an installation. What process did you follow to install your website application on to your brand new domain? I’m going to guess it’s WordPress.

You could check your panel and see if there is any mention of that rogue address anywhere.

Look in these locations in your DreamHost Panel

The mirroring on the dream.website domain appear to be a recent feature to aid in site migration. The only doc I could find are brief mentions in a help article and blog post (step 6) on WordPress migration. @kaleb2 asked about dream.website in February, but got no answer.

The feature allows one to copy example.com to DH and test with example.com.dream.website, while the original example.com is still running on the old web-host. Once testing/fixing are finished, the site’s DNS can be switch to DH with confidence.

Unfortunately, the feature seems overly broad, because almost all sites hosted on DH are now mirrored under dream.website! About 90% of the sites I checked are mirrored. This could cause problems with SEO, etc. For example, several hundred mirrored pages show up in Google’s index:


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Facepalmable state of affairs.

I’d still be interested to know if the mirroring can be terminated manually in Panel or if it really is a half-arsed attempt at automated installation which requires the should-be-transient domain as a source in perpetuity rather than being a temporary solution while waiting for DNS to propogate.

I don’t see anything on the Panel about the dream.website mirroring, but I just have a shared-hosting account. Maybe it is more visible under other plans, like DreamPress.

As a test, I setup hosting for the site foo.bar (not registered under .bar TLD), and presto the mirror domain works automatically:


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Like all the pros :sunglasses:

Wow. So it’s similar to a dreamhosters.com temp domain that’s likely available to everyone with a hosting account that has Add Domain rights. Handy to know.

Except this does not seem to be a “temp” domain, but a permanent one. It is mirroring the most recent content (today) that I’ve put on my website.

Not knowing exactly how this is set up, I can see this as a potential conflict to search engines which dislike duplicate content on multiple sites. I wonder what Dreamhost is doing to make sure their dream.website is not causing issues.

Is that actually the case anymore? I’ve very often been returned search queries where the top results are verbatim copy/pasta content that reside on different domains.

Based on what I’ve read from Google, yes, that is still the case. The issue that we see (for I see it too) is that the penalty is not enough to downgrade the search.

There is also a way to link with an attribution to another site’s content where you do show up without taking the hit. I suspect that this is how they get around it.

However, in this case, there may not be a hit against the original site, as the SSL cert (at least in my case) generated an error. The bots don’t seem to like that on search engines.

I should amend this. For the pros, that pop up like that there may also be a reputation (i.e., how many sites link back to the content) that helps. Most of our sites are small. One hit can be enough to knock us to the next page.

Are you getting results for the dream.website location when doing searches specific to custom content that you’ve posted on your target (actual) domain?

True, but that still isn’t good enough if an effect is even remotely possible.

I think the (should be transitory) domain should be 301 redirected to your actual URI once DNS propagation has completed and your domain points at DreamHost servers. This seems like it’s a case of a job-half-finished on DreamHost’s side with respect to their WP moving plugin.

It actually appears that your domain may in fact just still be mirroring the (should be) temporary one in that they’ve skipped a logical final step with not switching the target domain to master and removing the transitory/temporary URI from their DNS servers after successful propagation.

If you’re seeing search results from the rogue location and also have the ability to Add a domain in your DreamHost Panel then you might try adding the [yourdomain].dream.website as a Redirect to your actual domain name to see if you can override this issue manually.

Another workaround is to include a redirect rule in the site’s .htaccess file. For example, this rule will redirect any request that is not exactly “example.com”:

# Force canonical domain (i.e redirect *.dream.website, etc)
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^example.com$
RewriteRule (.*) https://example.com%{REQUEST_URI} [redirect=permanent,last]

That would fix any random example.com.dream.website URLs that have leaked out to search engines. Of course, I’d prefer not to be in the position of defending against rouge mirroring by my own web-host.

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That would indeed be the best solution for informing search engine bots and other web spiders that the “real” domain is the only one that should be considered a legitimate endpoint. And it can be employed by those who may not have “Add Domain” abilities in their Panel.

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