Ok this may seem like more of a web guy rant, but I’m also wanting to inform you so that maybe you will understand why I think addon domains can be a very bad thing for your online business.

Before I get into why I dislike them let me clear up the domain differences.
Besides your every day domain there is also the a fore mentioned addon domains, sub domains, and parked domains.

I’ll start with the parked domain first. I have a domain ThatOneWebGuy.com it’s a website all on it’s own but for marketing purposes (and the fact it makes sense to do it) I have That1WebGuy.com as well. I don’t want to set up another website for the other spelling of the domain so I can simple “park” the one domain on top of the other so it uses the same resources.

Next would be sub domains. Lets say you have a domain like http://that1domain.com/support a subdomain would turn that url into http://support.that1domain.com (By the way That1Domain.com is a good place to get domains!)

Now an add on domain is a bit different and a little more difficult to explain so I’ll do what I can and try to keep it simple.

So you have hosting for one domain, I’ll use that1domain.com for an example again. You get a second and maybe a third domain but yet are quite ready to expand your hosting. With most hosting accounts you can log into your control panel and use the add on domain to use those domains with your existing hosting. What this does is add a folder inside your existing domain and you have your registrar (where you bought the domain) to point it to the same server as the original domain.

Now this works well it has it’s good points if you’re just getting started but it also has some bad points which is the whole purpose of this post.

The good point would be that you can expand your existing hosting at no additional cost but, if you’re going to add more than a couple I would seriously look at expanding your hosting account to what’s called a reseller account. If you want more info on that check out my site ThatOneHosting.com

Now to get to the reasons I would suggest NOT using addon domains.

The first is as I mentioned it uses the resources of your main domain, all of the resources such as email, mysql databases stats etc. At first thought that may seem like not a bad idea, and maybe for just a couple of domains no big deal. But, lets say one of the add on domains becomes wildly successful (we all want that right?) and you need to move it to its own account. THIS is where the trouble begins.

Since it is using the same resources as the main domain everything is associated to that domain mail boxes, databases, stats etc. Which means you have manually move each of those to it’s own account, there are no migration options to do this dynamically. This is a webmasters nightmare!

Another major problem with this if anything happens to the main account it effects ALL of the domains that are added on. For example if one gets hacked there’s a good chance many or all of them will get hacked. Once a hacker gets access to the site the can move from folder to folder on most accounts.

I’ve seen this happen all to often recently and feel that it could be avoided if the site owners knew ahead of time that this was even possible.

Leave a comment below if you have questions about this – I’d also like to hear your opinion if you’ve ran into this yourself with addon domains. (both good and bad.)

4 Comments

  1. Joshua M on March 8, 2012 at 11:28 am

    For me the security concerns alone are what makes addon domains a very bad idea. The idea that with one password someone can access all my domains in todays hack happy environment is very scary.

    Thanks for getting this info out there!

    Joshua

  2. Carla McNeil, Social Media Manager on March 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    OMG! I had no idea!

    Now I am going to have to do some re-thinking.

  3. Bettertax on May 17, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Great!! Just what I was looking for.

    I’m kinda ok looking after one account on a cPanel but the idea of managing 2 -3 and uploading files to the right place was what was bothering me. Hadn’t thought of security issues, but that is certainly a concern.

    I read somewhere else too that when updating files on the main site, it can sometimes effect the addon sites too…

    Thanks again!

  4. Trevor on September 6, 2012 at 9:29 am

    I have a gardening service that covers many suburbs would it be better to just add pages for each suburb or set up add on domains for each suburb?

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