Root (Apex) Domain to Subdomain Redirects

When managing DNS records and configuring redirects, it’s important to consider the best location for these operations based on your infrastructure, needs, and best practices.

When it comes to redirecting from a root/apex domain (e.g., to a subdomain (e.g.,, there are generally three main places where you can implement this:

  1. DNS level
  2. Load balancer level (like F5 BIG-IP)
  3. Web server level (like IIS)

Each of these options has pros and cons, and the best choice depends on your specific needs and the nature of your infrastructure.

  1. DNS level: Some DNS providers offer a feature (often called “URL forwarding” or “redirect record“) that allows you to set up a redirect from the root domain to a subdomain. This is a simple solution and doesn’t add any overhead to your servers or load balancer. However, not all DNS providers offer this feature, especially because a redirect is not technically a function of DNS but of HTTP. Moreover, this method might lack some advanced features, like preserving the path and query string or performing a type of redirect other than 301.
  2. Load balancer level (F5 BIG-IP): Configuring the redirect at the load balancer level can be beneficial in a few ways. This offloads the redirect logic from the web servers, which could improve performance, especially under heavy load. Moreover, if you have multiple web servers behind the load balancer, configuring the redirect at the load balancer level ensures consistency and simplifies configuration management. However, it might complicate the load balancer configuration and monitoring.
  3. Web server level (IIS): Implementing the redirect at the web server level gives you a great deal of control and flexibility. For example, you can use the URL Rewrite module in IIS to perform complex redirects based on various conditions. However, this puts additional load on the web servers (which could be an issue under heavy traffic), and you have to make sure the redirect is correctly configured on all servers.

Given these considerations, there isn’t a definitive “best” place to set up a root domain to subdomain redirect—it depends on your needs and infrastructure. However, a common practice in complex environments is to handle such redirects at the load balancer level. This approach generally provides a good balance between simplicity, performance, and control.

Please remember to test the redirect thoroughly in a non-production environment before deploying it, to ensure it works as expected and doesn’t negatively impact your website’s availability or performance.