I'm in dilemma. I'm hiring content writers etc for my new sites who risk getting fired from me for not meeting my expectations. I want to keep my site names confidential from the world because of competition and other concerns.

What is the best way to hide the domain name also allowing them to add the content(articles, forum posts etc) straight-forwardly at my production site ?

I was thinking to symbolic link( on my Centos hosting) another idle domain name to point to my site. I'd use relative urls in my site content so Pathauto would take of this. So the content writers would see this idle domain when working on my site.

A site can be visible from multiple domains. For example I can install the same site on my localhost PC. Secondly there are more than 50 million sites. For new sites it'd take a couple of months for a site to start appearing in the top 100 results in Google. How'd a naive person find the site in short time? Hiding the domain name means suppose I've a site name myjobs.com I want to make it visible in somejunk.com domain too and editors will add content in this site.

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    What do you mean 'hide the domain name'? How will people browse to your site if they don't know the domain name? Are you just going to give them an IP address and be done with it? I also can't see how this would relate to Drupal, surely it's a DNS/server issue? How does Drupal (6 AND 7 apparently) come into this?! – Clive Feb 27 '13 at 15:04
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    Firstly, I agree with Clive. Secondly, there's really no effective way to do this. They could always Google a string of their own words and find your site. I do not think this is a technical issue at all. The real solution would be to have some contracts/NDA signed by your employees. – jdu Feb 27 '13 at 15:29

As long as you have your server configured properly (ie, have your ServerName and ServerAlias directives set right for Apache), then this should work our of the box as long as you don't explicitly set the cookie domain or base URL in your settings.php. A potential complication is if you have any rewrites for canonical URLs on your site.

However, I think your best approach is to use the Domain Access module to run two sites out of the same installation. Have one affiliate be for the live domain, and the other affiliate be for the authoring domain. Then separate the content / themes as needed. When content is OK, just move it from the authoring affiliate to the live affiliate.

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    +1 for this. In addition, set up the robots.txt for the authoring domain to prevent indexing of this site. As long as you keep sub-standard content off the live domain. it will never show up in search. – Free Radical Feb 28 '13 at 1:07

I don't think anything you do is a realistic option.

Content writer A (let's call him Bill) doesn't meet your expectations, and as a result gets fired. Because of your approach Bill doesn't know what site he was writing for. Bill then uses Google or Bing (apparently that's still an option) to search for a sentence or two of the content that he wrote and it lo and behold it appears in the SERPs. Bill now knows where his content went, and all the hard work in hiding the domain was a waste.

If I were Bill, I would then write a scathing blog post about how annoying that whole situation was. From what I've read around the web, the two worst kinds of people for a company/employer to p*ss off are social media managers, and content writers ;-)

I apologise if this sounds too chatty or too informal, but I think you are trying to fight the wrong fire here. Just get a ROCK SOLID contract written up for the content writers. Also get a SOLID NDA (you can get basic ones for free here) as part of it, and make sure you set out your expectations fully and clearly from the beginning.

Ask for employment references for your content writers - if they have only written for a couple of sites, find out how long they have been writing for them. Get a history. Then still get them to sign the contract!

You also might want to try posting a similar question to one of the following members of the SE Network. Don't be put off by the beta status - the more members a beta community gets, the more likely it is to become fully fledged. Drupal Answers was a whole different community during the beta phases, now look at us ;-)

Project Management Beta

OnStartups Beta

The Workplace Beta

Personal Finance and Money

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