We want to setup a set of site collections that all have their own unique vanity domain names. There will be 100 or more. For example:

  1. www.domain123.org
  2. www.domain234.org
  3. www.domain456.org
  4. etc.

We are planning on using the Host-named header approach http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc424952.aspx

However, one of the issues is how to get the web application to support both HTTP and HTTPS. My understanding of host-named header approach is you can either do one or the other, not both in the same Web Application. Plus, you lose the ability to configure anything with AAM (alternate access mappings).

One possible solution is to use UAG (Unified Access Gateway, one of the successor products to ISA) to offload all the SSL. So all unique certificates get installed at the UAG level, but what about the URLs themselves? Since AAM is not allowed with SharePoint Host Header solution, will UAG rewrite the URLs from https to http?

What is the best architecture approach?


If you are wanting to do both HTTP and HTTPS traffic, you will most definitely need to consider a solution that includes SSL termination. UAG and products like F5 will do SSL termination for you, so that both HTTP and HTTPS traffic can route properly. They will manage the encryption there, so that you only have to manage one URL within the SharePoint environment. There are some good things about host header site collections or "Vanity URL's" but there are also some downsides, as you have already seen, the issue of Alternate Access Mapping is one of them. There are alternatives, though, such as URL redirects if you prefer. If these are not public facing sites, but internal or even extranet type sites, I would strongly consider using a redirect so that you maintain the functionality and the ability to manage search within the SharePoint architecture without manually adding each site collection. I've written several blog posts on this as I have had to work with vanity URLs on several different occasions. Feel free to check out my blog for some other tips and suggestions if you want. (http://pointgowin.com/seethepoint)

  • Also read Spence Harbars rational guide to Multi Tenancy. Oh and you can mix host-named site collections with "normal" as long as the host-named site collection is the default zone, path-based site collections can exist in the other zones. – Anders Rask Apr 11 '11 at 13:43
  • Lori, these are anonymous public facing sites (the http side) and then authenticated options (the https side) – Shane Apr 11 '11 at 15:22

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