The Trouble With Addon Domains

Many web hosts offer a feature called addon domains. This feature allows you to use more than one domain on a single hosting account, essentially providing hosting for multiple websites. While this may sound like a great idea, it can quickly become a nightmare.

Addon domains are added to your web hosting control panel. They tell the web server where to send traffic from that domain. When someone visits that domain, the web server directs the person to your account. Your account sends them to the directory you’ve created for your addon domain. As far as the visitor knows, the domain they are visiting is being hosted on it’s own account.

httpMany people use addon domains to avoid paying for additional hosting accounts or a reseller account. It’s easy to see why when your account allows you to freely add additional domains with no additional cost. So where do the problems come in?

Imagine you have ten websites that you would like to host. For our example, we’ll break them down further. In this example, you have:

2 storefronts using Prestashop
4 community forums using phpBB
3 business websites using Drupal
1 marketing blog using WordPress

Each website is running under the same control panel. This makes it easy to access them all because they are in the same general area. However, the hidden problems and dangers will soon creep up.

The Pool is Only So Big

Your web host provides a set allotment of server resources beyond the storage and data transfer rate that you focused on when signing up. You also have a set amount of CPU, RAM, Entry Processes, I/O, and Inode count. This allotment is the same for every account on the server, regardless of how many addon domains are being used.

Each addon domain will pull from this resource pool. While this won’t be a problem for low traffic sites with sufficient optimization, it will become an issue when your viewership increases. As more people view your web sites and the complexity of them is put to the test, the resource pool will soon begin to dwindle away. Soon you will notice speed and loading issues for multiple sites. You new wave of visitors will be meet with slow loading pages and error messages stating “Resource Unavailable” or perhaps database connection error messages.

Security Issues

frustrated-surfing-smallerAddon domains can also present a major threat to all of the web sites on your account. Imagine that one of the web sites on your account has a security hole that has not yet been patched. Perhaps you’re running an outdated plugin or theme which has a vulnerability you are unaware of. This vulnerability can become the doorway to all of your websites.

If a malicious attacker is able to access the filesystem of one of your websites, they will potentially have access to the rest of your web sites. This will allow them to deface and destroy files for every website under your single account, possibly harming the reputation of your web sites in the process. They may also use your account to send spam from, which can get the web server blacklisted by email providers and affect everyone on the server.

To make matters worse, an attacker could use this intrusion to gain access to your database and leak the information within to the world. One hole can lead to a lot of damage and headache for you.

Tons of Clutter

As you add more addon domains, the filesystem can become cluttered. I’ve worked with accounts in which people have hosted 50 addon domains under a single CPanel account. This can be bothersome as it takes longer to find things if they aren’t properly organized. Even when you do have sites neatly placed in various directories, you still have to find what you’re looking for.

Additionally, you have to face another issue known as inode usage. Inodes are a way for the operating system to keep track of files and directories. Each inode represents a single file or directory. Your web host will have a limit on the number of files you can have on your hosting space, even if they say the storage space is unlimited. As you add more web sites to your account, you will naturally be reducing your available inodes. Once you hit your limit your account can no longer accept files, and this includes receiving email.

Addon Domains are NOT for Reselling Hosting

Some people will use the addon domain feature to run a hosting business. This is simply a terrible idea on every level. In the case of CPanel, there is no way to provide CPanel access for your customers without giving them the master account login. If you give them that, they have access to everything, including other web sites you host.

You are also exposing every customer’s web site to the issues above. One malicious attack on a security vulnerability in a customer’s web site can effectively bring an end to the web sites for each customer you have.

In short, don’t try to build a hosting business off of addon domains. It can quickly lead to headaches.

Host Multiple Domains the Correct Way

woman-small-businessThe best way to host multiple domains is by using a reseller hosting account. A reseller hosting account provides a way to create single hosting accounts which you can use for your additional domains. This means that each domain can have it’s own control panel and allotment of resources. No more sharing CPU and RAM since each domain will have it’s own to pull from.

Using a reseller account will also help prevent malicious attacks from spreading to your other domains. If one web site is defaced, the others won’t be in the same filesystem to be discovered and suffer the same fate. This can save you hours of times since you will only need to repair one site instead of ten.

Hosting multiple websites under a reseller account also makes it easier to move a popular website when it outgrows a shared environment. Since the website will be inside of it’s own control panel account, your web host will have an easier time migrating it to a Managed VPS or Managed Dedicated Server. If it was an addon domain, it would be more difficult to move. In some cases the move would be your responsibility since the host may not offer migration services for addon domains.

Avoiding the Headaches

freaking-outI understand why some people choose to use the addon domain option. When you’re unable to afford additional hosting accounts or your web host does not offer reseller hosting, using the addon domain feature is your only option. However, keep in mind the issues that can arise. I’ve seen first hand how multiple addon domains can dissolve a shared hosting account’s resources like they were water. I’ve also helped repair the damage done to the web sites of dozens of addon domains when a single web site in the group was hacked.

If you can avoid the headaches, do so. Go with a reseller hosting plan if you need to host multiple domains. If your web host does not offer a reseller plan, find one that does.

Transfer a domain from Godaddy to Namecheap

If you’re someone who is looking to jump ship from Godaddy, you may want to take a look at Namecheap. An ICANN-accredited domain registrar, Namecheap offers fantastic prices on domain names. If you would like to transfer a domain name from Godaddy to Namecheap, follow these instructions.

Godaddy – Step 1
Log into your account at Godaddy and shut off the domain lock and privacy option (if enabled).

Namecheap – Step 2
Go to Namecheap and transfer your domain.

Godaddy – Step 3
Send your EPP code (Authorization Code). This is often listed at the bottom of the page that shows your Domain Details. It will send to the email address on file in your contact information for the domain name.

Namecheap – Step 4
Go to the Transfers page. Click the domain name and enter the EPP code from the Godaddy email. Wait for the transfer email from Enom. This can sometimes take 30 minutes or more. When it arrives, click the link in the email and approve the request on the form it provides. Wait again.

Godaddy – Step 5
An email will arrive from Godaddy, indicating your request to transfer. Instead of waiting for the automatic transfer, go to the Transfers page in your Godaddy account by clicking Domains in the top navigation and then Transfers. Click on Pending Transfers, then Accept/Decline. Accept the transfer. Wait for another set of emails.

Godaddy will send an email alerting you that they are transferring the domain. You will also get one from Namecheap when they have received the domain. When this happens, double check your domain at Namecheap to be sure the contact information and DNS information has transferred correctly.

That’s all! This gets you over to Namecheap and out from under Godaddy. Right now (10/11/14), Namecheap is providing free Whois Protection for the first year for any domain transferred to them. You can also use a coupon to drop the prices of the domain further.

For the current Namecheap coupons, visit this page: https://www.namecheap.com/promos/coupons.aspx

What is domain privacy?

When you register a domain name, your name, address, phone number and email address become public record. Anyone who wants to find out who owns a domain name can run a whois search to grab information about you in just a few seconds. Did you know that you can hide that information? That’s what domain privacy is.

When you sign up for home telephone service, your name and address are listed in the phone book. For those who wish to keep their info out of the public directory, the phone company will offer to have your information unlisted for an additional fee. Domain privacy works the same way.

Do you use domain privacy?Nearly every domain registrar offers a feature to hide your personal information from domain name whois searches. Domain privacy (sometimes called whois protection) is a service which when used, replaces your personal information with the name, phone number, address, and email contact of the domain privacy service.

This can help protect your identity from prying eyes, spammers, scammers, and other annoyances that you wouldn’t want to have your info. Best of all, this service is usually inexpensive, and some will offer domain privacy for free for the first year.

Important things to remember about domain privacy services

  • If you add the privacy service after you have already registered your domain, your information may still be available. Whois search engines may not update instantly, while some services may choose to include it in a history of ownership list.
  • Some websites exist solely to provide information about websites, including the domain owner’s information. This data will remain available until the website providing it decides to remove it.
  • Domain registrars must adhere to the law. Don’t think that using domain privacy will allow you to anonymously break the law. After all, the domain registrar has your information and they will provide it to law enforcement if required.
  • When using domain privacy, you are no longer listed as the owner of the domain name. While there isn’t usually anything to worry about, there have been times in the past when domain ownership issues have occurred between the person who purchased the domain and the privacy company entrusted to hide your identity.
  • You may need to renew your domain privacy individually. Some domain registrars will include an option to set auto-renew for domain privacy just as you can do for the domain name itself.

It’s Your Choice

Most people choose domain privacy to keep spammers, scammers, and floods of marketing from showing up in their emails, voicemails, and mailboxes. This is quite understandable. At $4 or less per year, it’s also an affordable option to hide your domain’s ownership information.

What is a domain name?

You’ve probably heard the term “domain name” before. As a beginner, you may not know what it is or how important it can be. In this article, you will learn what a domain is and why it’s important.

A domain name is your website address, also called your URL. For this site, our domain name is webmasternotebook.com. It is the address people type into their web browser to get them to our website.

There are several domain extensions to choose from.
There are several domain extensions to choose from.

Domain names consist of a name and an extension. The extension, also known as a TLD (top level domain), is the part that comes after your domain name. Popular domain extensions are .com, .net, and .org.

While most domain extensions are available to anyone in the general public, there are a few that you may have visited which are only available to specific groups. The .edu extension is only available to educational institutions that fit specific criteria. The .gov extension is reserved for the United States government, while .mil is reserved for use by the United States military.

Domain names can include letters, numbers, and hyphens. It can be up to 63 characters long. To get a domain name, you simply sign up with a domain registrar like Godaddy, Namecheap or Name.com. Many website hosting providers will offer domain registration to their customers as well.

When registering a domain name, you pay for the length of time you wish to register for. The shortest length of time you can register your domain for is 1 year, and when the time comes for your registration to be renewed, you can choose to register again or let the domain go, making it available for anyone in the public to purchase and own.

To start searching for your domain name, we recommend using Namecheap or Name.com. They both offer great prices on domains, use easy to understand interfaces, and typically run promotions to new signups.