OpenShift provides an easy way to host your Ruby based blogs (built on Sinatra or Jekyll) or Wordpress site, without incurring expense. Being content heavy, these kind of apps should really not have duplicate content on different domains out there on that crazy ass Internet. Them spiders just won’t like you as much!

So what do you do when you have your app at and because you’ve set up a custom domain - will that split your SEO Google juice?

The solution is to use a bit of .htaccess magic in order to use permanent 301 redirects to shepherd on traffic arriving at to

Solution for Ruby

Here’s a example .htaccess file for a Jekyll/Sinatra hybrid app. It can be dropped under your example_app/public directory.

(Note: public can be used instead of a _site directory for convenience on OpenShift)

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$
RewriteRule (.*)$$1 [R=301,L]

But if you rebuild a Jekyll site locally it will blow away the .htaccess file if you put it under your example_app/public directory. So I leave it in the root directory. Then you can use a action hook to move it from the root directory of your app to under the example_app/public directory. Here it is and you can put it in the file example_app/.openshift/action_hooks/deploy

# Move .htaccess from root folder to public folder on every deploy
mv $HOME/app-root/repo/.htaccess $HOME/app-root/repo/public/.htaccess

# Paranoidly ensuring sane permissions (in case we check in dodgy perms)
chmod 644 $HOME/app-root/repo/public/.htaccess

The last line ensures that the .htaccess file has the correct permissions. If you have a Wordpress site instead you should still carry chmod 644 example_app/php/.htaccess before you check it into git the first time - just to be on the safe side.

Solution for Wordpress

Here’s a example .htaccess file for a Wordpress site, which you can drop under your example_app/php directory. Just replace with your app URL and with your custom domain URL.

# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
# END WordPress

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$
RewriteRule (.*)$$1 [R=301,L]

Again, remember to do a chmod 644 on the .htaccess file like above in the Ruby section to ensure it has the correct permissions.


With all the above in place, your next git push should deliver you the redirecting experience you are looking for! Just visit your app URL at and hopefully you are whisked away to your custom domain URL. Thanks to the guys on the OpenShift forums, especially kpendic and statikip for taking the time to help out with this.

Till the next time, keep it Shifty!