First of all, What is Domain Forwarding and Masking ?
Domain Forwarding in simple terms is a mechanism by which a web page redirects a visitor to another website location or another page.
When a domain is forwarded to another web page, the domain name disappears and the URL of the new page or forwarded page is displayed on the address bar of the browser.
The domain name redirects itself to the site and no script or HTML is required to do this.
GoDaddy offers free Domain Forwarding feature with its domain name. This feature is helpful for those people who have a great desire to create a website with a custom domain but have low budget. In that case a website or blog can be created online using the online website builders with a free plan.When your website is ready and you publish it you will get a custom domain name, example: www.mywebsitename.subdomain.com
In the above case you are saving on the additional Web Hosting costs. Now you just need to purchase a Domain name from the registrars online and enable the Domain forwarding facility. Suppose you have purchased a Domain name : www.mywebsitename.com and redirect it to www.mywebsitename.subdomain.com. Hence, now your website that you had created can be accessed from the domain name that you have purchased.
But let me also share with you that Free hosting is not reliable and secure. Always go for a paid domain name and hosting plan.
But the only drawback behind this feature is that after your website is redirected, the URL that will be visible on the top of your browser will be the forwarded page URL. But there is a solution to this as well which I will be share next. Here comes the role of Domain Masking. But before that Let me guide you how to do domain forwarding through GoDaddy. The step by step process is given below:
1) Go to GoDaddy page and login with your username and password.
2) Go to the DNS Management page and scroll down to Forwarding.
3) Click on Add just next to Domain. Enter your domain name that you have purchased.
4) Select http:// or https:// under Forward to.
5) Enter the URL that you want to redirect your domain to.
6) Select Forward type: Permanent( 301) or Temporary(302).
7) Select Settings : Forward only
8) Check Update my DNS setting to support this change.
9) Click Save.
Now lets see, how does Domain masking work
Domain masking is a feature through which you can hide the actual domain name of a website and the URL visible in the user's browser will be only the URL that he has actually typed. Domain masking prevents the forwarded domain or sub-domain from displaying in the browser's address bar.
This gives a more professional look to your website as your users won't be able to see the custom domain name.
For enabling this feature you need to follow the same first six steps that I have listed above. There will be a slight change in the 7th step. Here you just need to choose option Forward with masking. After selecting this enter the Title, Description and Keywords fields.
Then follow the 8th and 9th step to apply the settings.
But it is believed that Domain masking is not good and affects SEO. Actually masking uses a framed forwarding for hiding the real URL and this creates a bad user experience. The page which is framed has the actual content and hence only this page is likely to get indexed by search engines.
So I would advice you to avoid using Domain masking.
Hope this helps you out. Please share your feedback or comments below.