Just what DO you mean?
This is bothering me somewhat, especailly since I checked Dictionary.com [dictionary.com] for a meaning and got The dress prescribed by canon for officiating clergy [dictionary.com].
Now, far be it from me to point out the obvious, but what exactly does web design and SEO have to do with The body of people ordained for religious service?
Welcome to WmW NetGrease,
Thanks for starting off with one of my favorite terms :)
>conforming to a general rule or acceptable procedure
>reduced to the canonical form <a canonical matrix>
>the simplest form of something
>a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works
Many hosts do use this term and in fact it was from a host that I adopted it. The purpose? We need to begin to find a single term to define all the various terms out there that describe a certain thing. Other terms for canonical include sub-domain, sub-directory, vanity, virtual, alias. I happen to use canonicals quite a bit in my marketing and site development. I talk about them a lot and itís easier for folks to follow if I continue to refer to them as canonicals. Also, to search WmW put in the term canonicals and see what you come up with. I think thereís some good meat in those discussions.
Does the term work? For me it does because in developing a site I use a canonical to define the simplest form of the theme Iím working with, they are set up as a related grouping of the theme, and they do conform to an acceptable procedure. Not to mention that I have so much fun with the term and the constant stream of interesting questions:)
<added>Go to Google and run a search for canonical domain. You will find several hosts that use the term.
I believe when canonical domains (aka- sub-domains or third-level domains, ie: canonical.domain.com) are set up properly, it's by adding redirection info to the "CNAME" records on the hosting servicer... I'd assume CNAME means "canonical name."
::digs around in over-crowded memory for more info::
That's all as far as I can remember... so don't take it as gospel. ;)
Always ask your hosting provider for details if you're unsure, since many ISPs/hosts seem to make up their own terminology conventions. You could end up asking for something totally different according to host A and host B, even if you use the same words each time.
I must say that I find this use of the term "canonical" highly confusing (trying to avoid stronger words...).
The general meaning of the word was given correctly from Webster. If you have several names for an item, then the "officially sanctioned" one, or just the one most often used, is the canonical one. With domain names, this fact is reflected in the CNAME DNS entry, which stands in contrast to ALIAS names. The CNAME is the name directly assigned to an IP address, while the ALIASes usually point to that CNAME entry for reference.
Now, using the term "canonical domain" for what is more often referred to as "vanity domain", rather turns the meaning of the word on its head. Don't you think?
While, assuming IP based hosting, each vanity domain will indeed get its seperate CNAME entry, this is not what makes them special. In the true meaning of the word, the canonical host name part of the domain name for a web server is "www"! Let's just hope that the hosting services who use the term all the same are better with technology than with language... ;)
Personally, I've heard them called "subdomains" more often than "vanity domains"...