I'm waiting in the STL airport after an eventful week meeting my new team QuarkWorks, Inc. for the first time. I have some time before my flight home, so I figured I'd chip away at the blog.

One minor gripe I've had with my test drive of Ghost CMS is remembering how to access the admin dashboard where I write posts. I've deployed ghost to a subdomain of my site at ghost.mattrossman.com, which means my admin panel is hosted at ghost.mattrossman.com/ghost. I would prefer to access the page via admin.mattrossman.com so that I only have to type the first few characters to trigger browser autocomplete. Here's how I set up that redirect.

My root domain mattrossman.com is managed by Netlify DNS. I was hoping I could simply configure a new "record" in the domain panel to create this redirect, but turns out it's not that simple. The steps are actually:

  1. Create a new app on Netlify
  2. In a new folder, write a _redirects file with the desired redirect rule and an empty index.html
  3. Deploy manually by drag + dropping that folder
  4. Configure your desired subdomain as the custom domain for that app

The tricky part here was what to put in _redirects. I saw several sources saying that you could just write something like this to perform a catch-all redirect:

/*	https://example.com/whatever

However, this doesn't work. Whenever I visit the root of my new app, it strips away the leading slash and the redirect doesn't complete. I also tried removing the slash from that redirects file leaving just the * but that didn't work either. It still only performed the redirect if I typed something after the slash in my browser.

I found the solution here. You can force the redirect by specifying the desired status code with an exclamation point.

/*	https://example.com/whatever	301!

I got a warning when I tried configuring the custom subdomain which made me wonder if it would cause a configuration conflict with my root domain. Rest assured, I ignored the message and my root domain still works properly.