Addon domains - multiple websites on a single hosting account using addon domains

Addon domains are additional domains which are redirected to a subfolder in your main website. Luckily, even though your new website is located in a subfolder under your main website, it is possible to configure the addon domains so that your website visitors and search engines see these as independent websites.

First you need to register the domain from a domain registrar as usual. Then, if your webhosting provider allows this, you can setup this addon domain to point to a subfolder in your main account. This is usually done from the hosting provider's control panel.

When setup properly, your website visitors will never see the "real" domain name anywhere.

[Here is an example. Both this website and my other site are located at the same hosting account. Try and see if you can figure out which is the addon domain...]

But here comes the tricky part... Often times the addon domains functionality offered by webhosting providers doesn't work like this. Even though they call them addon domains, these domains actually behave like simple forwarded domains - with or without masking. This can make your websites look quite unprofessional (see problems with domain forwarding for details). Therefore always make sure you know what your hosting provider means by multiple or unlimited domains and try it out before committing yourself.

Here is a list of website hosting providers I have found through trial and error and know their addon domains function properly: website hosting providers. (I'm sure there are many more out there, but unfortunately I haven't found a way to tell them apart without actually testing them out.)

Which brings us to the last type of domain forwarding: dedicated IP addresses.

Dedicated IP addresses

As far as I know, the only limitation with addon domains sharing an IP address (name based virtual hosts) is that this kind of virtual hosting can not be configured to work with your own SSL certificate. Usually you can use your hosting providers certificate to set up a secure SSL connection, so this should not be a problem in most cases.

An added bonus with dedicated IP addresses is that your website and FTP server will be accessible directly through the IP address. This means that you can still access your site during domain name propagation periods for example.

Website hosting providers which offer dedicated IP addresses at reasonable prices are quite rare. In fact there are only two that I know of at the moment: IX Webhosting and GoDaddy . With GoDaddy you need to pay extra for this, but with IX Webhosting the dedicated IP addresses are included in the hosting plan.

If you see that your website hosting provider is offering dedicated IP addresses for your domains, you can also be sure that their addon domains will work just right (atleast as many addon domains as you get IP addresses, maybe more). Therefore hosting multiple websites with dedicated IP addresses is always a safe bet.

There has been a lot of debate amongst SEO specialists about whether it is better to host your websites on dedicated IP addresses. First of all search engines might want to penalize a site for using questionnable promotion techniques and if your website happens to be on the same IP address, your site could be penalized as well. This doesn't really sound too likely, because the majority of websites nowadays are hosted with shared IP addresses and certainly the search engines know this too. Therefore blocking a website according to it's IP address instead of it's domain doesn't make much sense. Another reason why it might theoretically be better to have dedicated IP addresses for your websites is that search engines might give more weight to external links coming from a different IP address (your own websites). And many will tell you that it really doesn't make any difference what-so-ever...

Next page: Subdomains

Popular Web hosting providers
which offer multiple domains
on a single hosting account:

  • Green Geeks
  • IX Web Hosting
  • Host Monster
  • Think Host
  • Host Papa
  • Dream Host
  • Host Gator
  • Go Daddy Web Hosting

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