We have a server that we installed SharePoint on to use for our new production intranet site. We needed the site to be accessible from a friendly name. We installed it on a server with the name of prod05 (not the real name, just an example). We wanted users to be able to use the url http://portal/ to access the site and not have to type http://prod05/. The first thought would be to set up a DNS alias. That is easy, but SharePoint refuses to serve the site when the more friendly URL is used. The solution is to use the “Alternate Access Mappings” feature of WSS 3.0.
Head to Central Administration > Operations. Under the Global Configuration section, click Alternate Access Mappings. You will see an entry for http://prod05 (Zone: Default). Click Add Internal Urls at the top. Click the drop down next to “Alternate Access Mapping Collection:” and choose the main SharePoint site. Enter the friendly name into the “URL protocol, host and port” box. (In our case: http://portal) Make sure you choose Extranet as the Zone. This is the crucial part. Leaving the zone as Default will allow SharePoint to serve up the page to that URL, but it will redirect the user’s browser to the unfriendly name.