Can you redirect your subdomain from Substack?

I was positive the answer was no... until I wasn't.

Can you redirect your subdomain from Substack?

There seem to be lots of folks bailing out of Substack right now, so I'm fielding questions about how to migrate to Ghost. Nazis? New year, new host? I'm not sure.

Substack to Ghost migration of content should be pretty smooth, especially with the new migration tools available in the Ghost settings area.

Be sure to put a little thought into not breaking your current links. I talk more about all the logistics in this article:

Moving? Read this first.
How to move your existing blog/newsletter without losing readers or page rank.

There's one kink in all of this, and that's for users who currently blog/newsletter as somesubdomain.substack.com. Substack doesn't allow injected JavaScript, nor allow you to redirect your subdomain somewhere else, so it'd seem that these users are going to lose all their traffic from search and inbound links when they move. It's a pretty strong disincentive to move, if you have worked hard to rank your current site and/or get lots of inbound links.

Is redirecting from Substack impossible? Well, I thought so. And then, I realized that maybe it wasn't. If you configure a custom domain with Substack (one time charge of $50), they redirect your subdomain.substack.com traffic to that custom domain.

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Disclaimer: Everything below about my client is true, and I have verified that everything I'm proposing works right now, today, but I don't know whether it'll continue to be true forever. Substack might change how they handle custom domains and refuse to redirect if the DNS doesn't go to them. So, YMMV, and don't yell at me if you pay Substack $50 and it doesn't work or doesn't work forever.

[If you have done this, I'd love to hear about it. Use the comments.]

I have a retainer client hosted on Ghost, whose old Substack subdomain now redirects to Ghost. I don't actually think he accomplished this on purpose. I think that what happened is that he used to have a custom domain on Substack, and so hissubdomain.substack.com was set up to redirect to hisdomain.com back when substack hosted it. Then he moved to Ghost, so now hisdomain.com's DNS points at Ghost. But see, it looks like Substack never noticed. (It's been 6 months plus since he moved.) The 301 redirect from hissubdomain.substack.com (managed by Substack) still points at hisdomain.com, but hisdomain.com is now on Ghost.

So... while I can't promise you you'll get the same outcome, I've got a concrete example of where that happened.

Happy migration!


Hey, before you go... If your finances allow you to keep this tea-drinking ghost and the freelancer behind her supplied with our hot beverage of choice, we'd both appreciate it!