Multiple Domain Web Hosting
Many web hosting companies offer multiple domain web hosting for either a one time fee or as an extra monthly fee. A method called "alternate domains" is a common way to accommodate multiple domains. Web hosting entities ask the client to set up a sub-directory off their main domain and the secondary domain name is pointed at that sub-directory. In this scenario, then, www.domain.com would point to http://somedomain.domain.com or http://www.somedomain.com/subdomain.
Although this method is very easy to set up, there is a drawback in that statistics are normally compiled only for the main domain making it sometimes difficult to monitor traffic and usage on the additional domain. Also, because the additional site files exist as a sub-directory of the main site, granting FTP (file transfer protocol) privileges to anyone but the webmaster of the main site may create a security problem.
Another way to accommodate multiple domain web hosting is the use of sub-domains. Today virtually all hosting accounts come with some kind of control panel (cPanel or vDeck for instance.) The controls available in these panels allow the user to create sub-domains as a function of the main domain.
In this scenario for multiple domain web hosting, the main domain might be www.somedomain.com with the sub-domain being "help.somedomain.com." This method has the advantage of not requiring the website owner to pay to register a second domain name. Statistics will be reasonably valid for usage across the site although it can be difficult to filter out specific usage of the sub-domain on heavily visited sites.
While arguably not a "true" instance of multiple domains, web hosting in this manner allows for the creation of organized sub-sets of information from your main site that may only apply to the needs of certain visitors to your site. These kinds of sub-domains cannot usually, however, have their own CGI bins and the same issues of FTP security exist.
For some clients, the only "true" way to accomplish multiple domain web hosting is to register additional domain names and to open separate hosting accounts for each one (in case if it's a reseller hosting account). In this scenario it is best to shop around and to investigate multiple domain web hosting options with various companies. Many companies will consolidate the administration of multiple domains under one control panel application or will discount the addition of second and subsequent domains to a client's account.
In this scenario for multiple domains, web hosting amenities will be present for each domain. For instance, each domain will have its own FTP access, statistical package, and CGI bin for scripting purposes. While arguably more expensive and more complex to manage, multiple domain web hosting of this nature does, in the end, offer the greatest flexibility.
As the Internet continues to grow there are more reasons to have multiple domains. Web hosting has also continued to drop in price. With multiple domains, the client can distribute content across several sites and enhance their chances of being visible to the search engines. Additionally, with multiple domains it is possible to make subtle alterations to content and message by domain name in the hope of reaching a slightly different audience with each domain and thus enhancing clientele and visitor base.
The availability of multiple domains, web hosting at more economical prices, and the advantages to be gained in site functionality and marketing all speak to the viability of this method of site promotion and administration. Just do your homework first.
Compare hosting packages from multiple companies and specifically inquire about their preferred method of multiple domain hosting. Be sure you understand extra charges involved. Is this a one-time fee or will an additional charge appear monthly on your bill? Ask about things like statistical packages, FTP privileges, and CGI bins. Armed with the correct information you can make an informed choice and put multiple domain web hosting to work for you.
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