Switching back to the original WordCamp URLs

Earlier this year we changed the URL structure for WordCamp websites, migrating from year.city.wordcamp.org to city.wordcamp.org/year.

There were two primary reasons for the change: 1) At the time, we thought that it was the best way to work around some obstacles that prevented us from securing the sites with SSL certificates; and 2) Over the years, many organizers had expressed dissatisfaction with the original URLs, especially related to SEO issues.

@matt has raised some concerns about the new structure, and has asked us to move back to the original one.  His concerns are:

  • Subdomains are more consistent with the rest of WordPress.org’s infrastructure (e.g., core.trac.wordpress.org)
  • Using subdomains gives us more flexibility and forwards-compatibility. For example, they allow us to point different camps to different servers in the future, opening up possibilities like giving each camp their own isolated virtual server where organizers could have full control, rather than having a centralized platform.
  • The Systems team now has more capacity to help with getting the large number of SSL certificates that we’d need.
  • We should switch now before something happens that locks us into the current structure.

Matt has worked out a plan with the Systems team to ensure that we maintain the ability to secure traffic with SSL. We’ll be able to use the new Let’s Encrypt certificate authority to automate the generation and installation of certificates for each individual domain. The plan to have landing pages at the city.wordcamp.org URL will also be unaffected by the move.

There’s no potential timeline for the project yet. Let’s Encrypt is still being developed, and once they are ready it will still take a significant amount of work on our end.

We know this is a significant change, so before we start the process, we’d like to give everyone a chance to share feedback, ask questions, etc. Please leave a comment and follow the discussion if this is something that you’re interested in.