I have noticed today several Q&As on GIS Meta have been modified by user Community. When looking at what had changed, the edit was an update of Meta URLs from HTTP to HTTPS (as announced was happening in a featured Meta SE Q&A recently).

But looking closer at the edits I noticed that the actual URL subdomain order had been changed. Where the link previously may have been meta.gis.stackexchange.com where the gis comes after the meta, it has now changed to gis.meta.stackexchange.com where the gis now comes before the meta.

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Is this change correct or has the Community user broken how links work in Meta?

1 Answer 1


This change to URL structure is correct. If you look at the URL in your browser now you will see the updated structure with the expected https as well as gis.meta.

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And if you type into your address bar meta.gis.stackexchange.com it will automatically update to https://gis.meta.stackexchange.com.

This is correct, was planned, and was listed as a change in the same Meta SE Q&A that announced the change to HTTPS.

  1. (Child metas) Move from meta.*.stackexchange.com to *.meta.stackexchange.com.

As yet I am unsure the reason for this change, and have added a comment on the Meta SE Q&A asking about the purpose.

The reason for this change is because you can have wildcards to the left of an address for a site certificate e.g. *.meta.stackexchange.com but not a wildcard in the middle of an address like meta.*.stackexchange.com, so it makes it easier to apply certificates to meta sites if they are all a subdomain of Meta.

Ok so the top level domains are easy, a SAN cert which allows many domains on a single cert – we can sanely combine up to 100 here. So what about all of our *.stackexchange.com domains? A wildcart cert, excellent we’re knocking these out like crazy. What about meta.*.stackexchange.com? Damn. Can’t do that. You can’t have a wildcard of that form - at least not one supported by most major browsers, which means effectively it’s not an option. Let’s see where these restrictions originate.
Section 3.1 of RFC 2818 is very open/ambiguous on wildcard usage, it states:

Names may contain the wildcard character * which is considered to match any single domain name component or component fragment. E.g., *.a.com matches foo.a.com but not bar.foo.a.com. f*.com matches foo.com but not bar.com.

From Stackoverflow.com: the road to SSL

This may mean that some Q&As that link to the old GIS Meta site directly, such as this answer to Where has Meta of GIS Stack Exchange gone? may still refer to the old site, however an auto-direct is currently in place to send you to the correct site anyway.

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