Home > Archive > Add-On Domains, Parked Domains and Sub-Domains
December 26, 2003
Domains, Parked Domains and Sub-Domains
Once you have a website up and running, you may want to launch other websites.
The default way to do it is to register new domain names and open new hosting accounts.
However, opening new hosting accounts can be expensive, especially if you still have
plenty of free space and bandwidth available in your original account. Fortunately,
it is possible to share the web space and bandwidth of your original
account among different sites.
You can basically do so through:
- Add-On Domains
- Parked Domains, and
What is an Add-On Domain?
An add-on domain is a new domain name that points to a subdirectory
within your existing domain hosting account, where the website for the new domain will
reside. Add-on domains must be registered domain names that you
own, and that are configured to point to your web host's servers.
From a web user perspective, an add-on domain functions just like
any other domain. For example, if you already have a hosting account under
www.main-domain.com, you can register and set up an add-on domain (for example:
www.add-on-domain.com), so that when your visitors type
"http://www.add-on-domain.com" in their browser, they will be transported to the
The advantage of add-on domains is that the browser's address bar will show
"http://www.add-on-domain.com" (there will be no reference to the original
domain), so the process will be totally transparent to your users. If
your users navigates to another page, their browser will accordingly show
"http://www.add-on-domain.com/anotherpage.html", just like it should.
Apart from sharing web space and bandwidth with your main domain, add-on domains also get
their own cgi-bin and statistics.
Many web hosts now offer to set-up add-on domains for free. This is only fair, since you
are not getting any more web space or bandwidth.
Others, however, will charge you a modest one time fee, which is not bad, especially when
the cost of registering the new domain is included. Finally, some web hosts will charge
you a montly fee for each add-on domain you set up. In some cases, that fee can be very
close to the monthly cost of your web hosting account, to the point that it is better to
just open a new hosting account for the new domain. If you plan to set up add-on domains
in the future, you're better off avoiding this kind of account.
What is a Parked Domain?
A parked domain is a domain that doesn't have a hosting account
associated to it, and that is usually enabled with URL forwarding
capabilities, so that it points to an existing website. For example, let's assume that you
already run a newsletter that is hosted in a subdirectory of your domain name, as follows:
"http://www.domain.com/newsletter/index.html". You may at one given point want
to register a separate domain name for your newsletter, so that it is more memorable, but
may not want to move its pages to a new server, open a new hosting account, or pay to
establish an add-on domain. You can then register a and park a new domain for your
newsletter (for example: "http://www.newsletter.com"), which will be forwarded
You don't need to register this new domain with the same company that hosts your website.
You can register it with any domain registrar (preferrably one that offers free URL
forwarding) and point it to the physical location of the pages.
The difference between a parked domain and an add-on domain
from a web user's perspective is that with a parked domain the URL in the address bar will
change to the physical location of the page as the page loads. For
example, if you type "http://www.newsletter.com", that domain won't remain in
the browser address bar, but will change to
"http://www.domain.com/newsletter/index.html" as soon as the page is displayed.
From a webmaster's perspective, the difference is that the parked domain won't have its
own separate statistics reported through
the control panel of your hosting account.
If you are a good observer, you may have probably noticed that my newsletter domain
"http://www.theinternetdigest.net" is parked and points to the physical location
of my newsletter pages, which is "http://www.accordmarketing.com/tid/".
Parked domains are also a good alternative for webmasters whose site is hosted by a free
hosting service, since by using a memorable parked domain users won't need to
remember the cumbersome web addresses usually associated with free hosting accounts.
They are also widely used by members of affiliate
programs, who forward the parked domain to the merchant pages, so that they
don't have to use an affiliate URL that includes their affiliate id (which turns many
What is a Sub-Domain?
A subdomain, also known as a "third-level" domain, is a
great way to create memorable web addresses for various sub-sites of your
site. For instance, Yahoo! uses subdomains for its different services, like
"mail.yahoo.com", "music.yahoo.com", etc. The basic syntax
Large businesses use subdomains to establish branding and focus on
separate products or services, because a subdomain creates a separate URL and web
presence, all within your same main hosting account. For example, a restaurant directory
may establish sub-domains for different cities, or a school can set up subdomains for
different academic programs.
It is also possible to redirect (forward) traffic from a particular subdomain to another
location, either within the main site or to a different website altogether.
You should be able to set up and manage add-on domains, parked domains and subdirectories
from your hosting account or domain registrar control panel. However, as
we usually suggest, always consult with your web host before proceeding if you have any
You can freely reprint this article provided that you
include the following resource box:
Mario Sanchez is a Miami based freelance writer who focuses on Internet marketing and web
design topics. He publishes The Internet Digest ( http://www.theinternetdigest.net ), a growing
collection of web design and Internet marketing articles, tips and resources. You
can freely reprint his weekly articles in your website, ezine, or ebook.
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