Nothing is real without a Domain

I’ve been on a bit of a Sandstorm kick for the last few days, and this is a follow-up to my previous two posts about this impressive server environment for open source apps. The title of this post comes from a brief exchange with Tom Woodward when talking about mapping domains in Sandstorm. I’m only half joking when I said it. Domains provide, as Martha Burtis so eloquently put it, the metaphysical act of naming a thing which in many ways brings it to life intellectually. There is real power in the framing of a site on the web around a unique namespace you define.

So, as I have been playing with a number of applications in Sandstorm, I have been happy to see that a few of them have the ability to map a domain on top of the default URL, which is usually something unwieldy like The only sites I’ve seen that provide domain mapping in Sandstorm currently are WordPress, Ghost, and HackerCMS, though there may be more I didn’t see. In fact, it would make sense these apps have domain mapping because they are all designed for building and running blogs/sites.  Some of the other apps I would have liked a domain mapping feature on are Hacker Slides, Etherpad, and DocuWiki, though i can understand why folks might not see the need given these are more collaborative/presentation tools. But like I said, it’s not real for me without a domain!

Screenshot 2016-02-03 10.52.13

Anyway, I spent a few moments building a really simple splash page for  VCU ALT Lab’s Sandstorm sandbox using a WordPress grain on their Sandstorm server and then pointing it to (See what I mean about domains : ) While a WordPress instance was a bit of overkill for this splash page, it’s the devil I know. What’s more, my attempt to customize the Oasis splash page with Hacker CMS didn’t get very far, you can see it here. I was trying to pull the Sandstorm login for VCU’s Sandbox, which you can see here, into the splash page via an iframe, but my CSS chops broke down quick. They have some pointers for this in their FAQ, but I could see many a wasted hour in pursuit of something I could do with WordPress in minutes.

Screenshot 2016-02-03 11.21.34

Anyway, once the splash page was done, I asked Tom Woodward to map by giving the following screenshots with the credentials. I find the text in the WordPress Dashboard explaining this nicely placed, but a bit hard to read cleanly. If you are not familiar with DNS zone stuff it would all flow together and confuse an impressionable technologists like myself. So, below are screenshots spelling it out, which might be useful for folks who are trying to map  a domain in Sandstorm but are getting confused.

In the Advanced DNS Sone settings provided by your domain registrar or host you need to configure a CNAME record, which should look something like this:


And a TXT record which should look something like this.


After that, you have a seamlessly mapped WordPress site, and I tried it with Ghost as well, and it works a treat. Have I ever mentioned on this blog that I never get tired of domain mapping?


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4 Responses to Nothing is real without a Domain

  1. Grant Potter says:

    Rather than HackerCMS I used a published Davros volume to frame out a basic landing page for … Davros volume at

  2. Reverend says:

    I love it, you are using Davros like you do Dropbox for making the files public and redirecting the DNS? Does Davros make the mapping piece easy? I really like this, something Adam Croom might try and do for OU’s Sandstorm instance, or Tom Woodward for VCU’s, so cool.

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