I'm slowly purging all references to my Etsy shop from my business cards, ads, etc because I want more control over by branding. Although I don't have any short term plans to set up my own shopping cart I want to be a little more prepared if I do decide to.
I've set up http://shop.everythingtiny.com as a redirect to http://kfarrell.etsy.com and thought while I was at it I would write up instructions for how other folks can to - and on the super cheap. I've seen a bunch of places that charge a monthly or annual fee for domain forwarding. The cost of my setup is about $10/year including domain registration.
Tools You'll Need
- A membership with NearlyFreeSpeech.Net. If you know a little bit about what you're doing you can use this setup on *any* host, but for the sake of simplicity all my examples are on how to do this with NFSN.
- An FTP or SFTP client. I like to use FileZilla.
- A text editor. Notepad will work just fine.
If you don't already own a domain you can buy one through NearlyFreeSpeech.Net. It's a little less than $9/year for domain registration and unlike GoDaddy they won't spam you into getting a zillion of their other service. Deposit $10 into your NFSN account, purchase your domain name (it pulls from your account balance), and you're good to go.
If you already have a domain name there will be a little extra configuration for you, but we'll get to that later.
Setting up your site
Ok, there is a tiny cost to setting up the forwarding. While NFSN doesn't charge any monthly fees for sites, they charge for storage (how big your site is) and bandwidth (how many gigabites of files your site sends to other people). Since you're just forwarding your visitors on to Etsy, both of these will be very very low. Extermely low. But nonetheless you'll need to make a small deposit into your NFSN account, $1 should be plenty.
Creating your .htaccess file
A .htaccess file is a special file that tells the server how to handle requests for your site. Open up a new file in your text editor and copy/paste the following:
RedirectTemp / http://yourshop.etsy.com/
Save the file to your hard drive with the name ".htaccess", making sure there is no file extension such as .txt.
Upload the File to Your Site
Open up your FTP client and connect to your site (the connection information can be found by logging into NFSN and clicking the 'sites' tab and then the name of your site.
When you connect you'll likely see a number of folders such as "logs" "private" and "public". Upload your .htaccess file into the public folder. If it has a file extension rename the file so it is just ".htaccess"
Add Your Domain as an Alias
To make your domain work with your site you need to add it as an alias. Go to the site information page and click "Add a New Alias" on the right. Enter the domain you wish to use. I.e. if you want "http://shop.everythingtiny.com" to go to your Etsy shop enter "shop.everythingtiny.com".
If you purchased your domain name through NFSN you're done! It may take 24 hours for everything to start working, so be patient if it doesn't seem to be doing anything right away. You can test to see if your redirect is working by going to http://yoursite.nfshost.com, where yoursite is the name of the site you created.
If you purchased your domain elsewhere
You'll need to add a record to your DNS to get things working. Check your registrar's documentation for "how to add a DNS record." Once you've figured it out, you'll want to add what's called a CNAME record. It will look something like:
shop CNAME yoursite.nfshost.com.
Where "shop" is the subdomain you want to use (i.e. shop.everythingtiny.com) and yoursite is the name of your site at NFSN. The CNAME record may take a few hours to take effect.