Etiquette question on naming my domain to serve RStudio

rstudioserver

#1

Hi - I'm a transplant surgeon and part-time data scientist/informaticist. I've set up RStudio Server open source edition on my home ubuntu machine as a sort of proof-of-concept to show to the leadership at my hospital. I registered a domain for the purpose, and I have nginx set up as a reverse proxy server to serve RStudio via https with a signed ssl certificate. As it stands currently, everything that hits the server goes to the RStudio server login.

We also want to make Python available, so my next step is to also serve Jupyter from the machine. Which is better:

RStudio: https://rstudio.gnuorleans.org

vs.

RStudio: https://gnuorleans.org/rstudio

(with analogous setup for Jupyter)

I'm pretty much a novice at web serving. My concern with the first scheme is that I don't want to misrepresent my home machine as being affiliated with RStudio.

Does this matter? Sorry if this is a silly question.

David


#2

From my personal experience: the domain approach is much easier to set up than a subdirectory, especially if you plan to secure it via https (which is a good idea).


#3

I wouldn't worry about this, as long as we're talking about people who know how domain names work (it's hard to know what assumptions might be made by others!). Perhaps surprisingly, domain names drill down in specificity from right to left — so rstudio.gnuorleans.org clearly represents "the rstudio subdomain of gnuorleans.org" (with gnuorleans itself being a subdomain of the org top-level domain, and org being a subdomain of the root of the whole internet). But if you're really concerned, you could try to come up with a name that represents the function, rather than the product. Like, this site is called community.rstudio.com, not discourse.rstudio.com, but other people using the same forum software have chosen to go the other way (e.g.,: https://discourse.omnigroup.com).

Back when websites were static files in folders, there was a substantial architectural difference between subdomains (which involve DNS configuration) and subfolders (which just involved making a new directory on a physical disk). These days, so many sites are generating URLs dynamically that the distinction is less clear (e.g., the URL for this thread is being interpreted by the forum software as clues for how to locate the right resources in a database — there are no physical folders named t or etiquette-question-on-naming-my-domain-to-serve-rstudio). Historically, subfolders were often considered to be easier to set up than subdomains, so sometimes people hosted entire applications (e.g., mysite.com/blog) that way because it was less hassle — but these days most web hosts have control panels that make configuring subdomains dead simple.

In terms of common practice, people tend to use subdomains when they want to create a substantially separate site in addition to their main site (such as community.rstudio.com vs regular old rstudio.com :grin: ). People tend to use subfolders (e.g., gnuorleans.org/rstudio) to represent parts of their main site.

The people who argue most passionately about subdomain vs subfolder are the SEO folks, and it doesn't sound like that's a consideration in your case. However, if you want a taste of that debate:

https://mainpath.com/putting-end-to-subdomains-vs-subdirectories-debate/
https://www.fourfront.us/blog/when-to-use-subdomains-and-subdirectories


#4

OK, I now have DDNS entries through Google Domains for gnuorleans.org, as well as subdomains for rstudio and jupyter. I also have a SSL certificate from LetsEncrypt that includes all three of these names (it was a bit of a hassle getting it manually with DNS-01 because my ISP blocks port 80 for home accounts).

So basically, I want to serve RStudio server (open source) and JupyterHub via the respective subdomains, with the base domain name being a general landing page with links to the two applications.

I'm a novice at web serving, but so far I have been able to get nginx up and running to serve RStudio at the base domain, with proper ssl security in place. I can also point the base domain at Jupyter and get it served correctly. However, I've not yet had any success at getting the subdomains to serve anything. Is this an appropriate venue for getting more detailed help at setting up nginx? I'm not planning on really going into web serving beyond getting this one machine set up.

Thanks for any suggestions - David


#5

It's getting a bit far afield, but I suspect there are people here who have done this before and may be able to help. If you want to ask, though, please post this question as a new topic, since it's substantially different from the topic that started this thread.