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> One thing I'm not willing to do is set up a wildcard A record

Why not? I'm being earnest here, I'm a name.com customer and I do have such a wildcard record. Are you building a network service that relies on nonexistent subdomains being resolved at the DNS level (rather than a 404 page or a redirect to a subdomain that does exist)? Or is it more of a philosophical thing?

1. I don't want to provide multiple entry points. As an intentionally vulgar example, http://f***you.example.com would resolve if using a wildcard address. That is unacceptable.

2. I'm in the process of setting up a self-assembling system that will need to be environment aware (public, staging, dev). If I redirect everything to a single A record I actually have to perform logic on my end. A failed request will instead mean to simply move to the next in the list. (Or that is how I am scheming for it to work anyway, not being built yet I don't know how it will turn out.)

For most people the solution is very simple. Use a rewrite rule in your web server config. In nginx:

  if ($host !~  "^(example.com|beta.example.com|valid.example)$") {
      rewrite  ^/(.*)$  http://example.com/$1  permanent;





This is good practice in any case, so that you're always serving up the canonical URL.

I would much rather http://fuckshit.example.com/ end up at a browser error page instead of being redirected to my site. This prevents the clever person who decides to link to me with http://fuckshit.example.com/ as the URL. (And I use mod_rewrite for naked domain to www redirect, so I'm familiar with this.)

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