[2024] What is Addon Domain – A Gateway to Website Expansion


An addon domain serves as a versatile tool, allowing users to host multiple independent websites under a single hosting account. It’s not merely a technical feature; it’s a gateway that empowers you to scale your online ventures, explore new niches, and tailor distinct online identities for varied purposes. Breathe easy, knowing your online presence is streamlined and scalable, thanks to the magic of addon domains. Follow VinaHost to discover What is addon domain: A gateway to website expansion, and a key to unlock an online empire brimming with potential!

1. The Basics of Addon Domains

1.1. What is a domain?

In a general sense, a domain can refer to a distinct area or field, often with its own set of characteristics or rules. In the context of the internet, a domain name is known as an unique name that identifies a website.

For example, “www.example.com” is a domain. It’s like the address of a house on the internet, helping people find and access specific websites. Anything specific you’d like to know about domains?

Also read: What is Domain & How It Impacts Your Online Presence

1.2. What is addon domain?

An addon domain is like having a bonus website under the same hosting account. It allows you to host additional domains on a single hosting plan. So, if you have a primary domain already set up, you can add extra domains (addon domains) within the same hosting account. Each addon domain can have its own content, and visitors will see it as a separate website.

It’s a cost-effective way to manage multiple websites without needing separate hosting plans for each. Plus, it makes things more convenient when it comes to administration and maintenance.

1.3. Differentiating addon domains from subdomains

Addon domains are like having multiple independent websites under one hosting account, each with its own domain. Subdomains, on the other hand, are extensions or divisions of your main domain, often used for specific sections or purposes within your website.

Here’s a clear differentiation between addon domains and subdomains, incorporating visual aids for clarity:

Addon Domain

  • An addon-domain is a separate, fully functional website with its own unique domain name.
  • It appears as an independent website to visitors.
  • You can host multiple addon-domains within a single hosting account.
  • Each addon domain has its own directory for files, and you can install different content management systems (like WordPress) for each.
What is addon domain
Example: You have “example.com” as your primary domain and add “additionalwebsite.com” as an addon domain.


  • A subdomain is a part of your main domain, serving as an extension of it.
  • It functions as a separate entity but is still tied to the main domain.
  • Subdomains share the resources (like the hosting space) of the main domain.
  • Common subdomains include “blog.example.com” or “store.example.com.”

Example: You have “blog.example.com” as a subdomain of your main domain “example.com.”

Key Differences:

FeatureAddon DomainSubdomain
Domain NameUniqueExtension of primary domain
Website StructureSeparateSubfolder
Control PanelSeparate sectionManaged within primary domain
DNS SettingsSeparateShared with primary domain
Use CasesMultiple distinct websitesOrganizing website sections, blogs, stores, etc.
  • Addon domains: Ideal for hosting completely different websites with distinct branding and content, even if related to your primary website.
  • Subdomains: Better suited for organizing different sections or extensions of your main website, maintaining a cohesive brand and structure.

Also Read: What is a Subdomain? Exploring the Difference Between Domains & Subdomains

2. How Addon Domains Work

The process involves configuring DNS settings, linking the addon domain to the primary domain through the hosting control panel, and managing files and directories

2.1. The role of DNS (Domain Name System)

DNS acts as the internet’s phonebook: It translates domain names (like example.com) into IP addresses (like, which computers understand.

DNS configuration for addon-domains:

  • Update the DNS records for your addon domain to point to your hosting account’s IP address.
  • This ensures that when someone types your addon domain name into their browser, they’re directed to the correct website.

2.2. Linking addon domains to the primary domain

Creation within hosting control panel: Addon domains are created within your web hosting control panel, typically cPanel. This involves:

  • Creating a new directory (folder) for the addon domain’s files within the public_html folder.
  • Assigning a subdomain of your primary domain to that directory (e.g., addondomain.yourprimarydomain.com). This subdomain is used internally for linking purposes but is not visible to visitors.

2.3. Managing files and directories for addon domains

Separate file structure: Each addon domain has its own separate file structure within the public_html directory. This ensures that files for different websites don’t conflict with each other.

Access through control panel: Manage files, email accounts, databases, and other settings for each addon domain from its own section within your hosting control panel.

File uploads and edits: You can upload files, install content management systems (like WordPress), and make edits specific to the addon domain without affecting the primary domain or other addons.

File access: File management can be done through FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or the hosting control panel, providing you with the flexibility to access and organize files for each domain.

Also Read: What is a Nameserver? | A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

3. Benefits of Addon Domains

Addon domains offer a cost-effective and convenient way to manage multiple websites under one hosting account. The isolation and independence of each addon-domain contribute to enhanced website management, and strategically using addon domains can provide SEO advantages by allowing for focused keyword targeting and establishing diverse online identities.

What is addon domain
Addon-domains offer numerous benefits, and you’ve identified key advantages

3.1. Cost-effectiveness and convenience

Save money: Hosting multiple websites with addon domains is significantly cheaper than purchasing separate hosting plans for each. It’s like renting multiple apartments in the same building instead of paying for individual houses.

Centralized management: Manage all your websites from a single control panel, eliminating the need to juggle numerous logins and interfaces. Think of it as having a master key for all your website apartments.

3.2. Enhanced website management

Independent websites: Each addon-domain acts as a completely separate website with its own content, settings, and files. You can customize each one individually without affecting the others.

Separate content: You can run different content management systems, web applications, or custom setups for each addon domain, tailoring them to specific needs.

Flexibility: Create distinct brands or target specific audiences with different domain names while leveraging the resources of your shared hosting plan.

Scalability: Easily add new websites as your needs grow without needing to migrate or switch hosting providers.

3.3. SEO advantages of addon domains

Multiple online identities: With addon-domains, you can establish and maintain multiple online identities, each with its own domain. This can be beneficial for businesses or individuals looking to diversify their online presence.

Backlink strategy: Build backlinks to your primary domain through well-optimized addon domains, boosting overall search authority.

Internal linking: Create internal links between your primary domain and addon-domains to distribute SEO juice and improve website structure.

Keyword targeting: If each addon domain is focused on specific keywords or topics, it allows for more targeted SEO strategies. This can potentially improve search engine rankings for each domain individually.

4. Setting Up an Addon Domain

4.1. Choosing a reliable web hosting provider

Support for addon domains: Ensure your hosting plan allows for addon-domains. Most shared hosting plans do, but double-check with your provider.

Reputation and features: Look for a provider with a strong reputation for reliability, performance, and customer support. Consider features like disk space, bandwidth, and ease of use.

4.2. Registering a new domain or using an existing one

If you don’t have a domain, register a new one through your chosen hosting provider or a domain registrar. Follow the registration process and make sure to choose a unique and relevant domain name. We have an example with VinaHost:

What is addon domain
Domain pricing list – VinaHost.VN
  • Start by registering a domain name through domain registrar VinaHost. Choose a domain name that you think has value or that you might want to develop in the future. Follow this guideline to resigter a domain at VinaHost https://vinahost.vn/en/ten-mien-vn/.
  • Once registered, you can choose to keep it parked by not associating it with any specific website or content. This is typically done through the VinaHost’s control panel.
What is addon domain
Register your domain names at VinaHost to get more online visibility!

You can buy and register a domain name for as low as $1.50. These are the prices for VinaHost’s most popular TLDs:

  • .com – $14.85/yearly
  • .net – $15.95/yearly
  • .co – $32.18/yearly

If you already have a domain registered with a different registrar, you can still use it as an addon domain. In this case, you’ll need to update the domain’s DNS settings.

Also read: What is DNS Record: The Key to Unlocking the Internet

4.3. Configuring DNS settings for addon domains

  • Access DNS settings: Locate your domain’s DNS settings, usually through your domain registrar or hosting provider.
  • Update A record: Change the “A record” for your addon domain to point to your hosting account’s IP address.
  • Propagation time: Allow 24-48 hours for DNS changes to propagate worldwide.
  • Access control panel: Log in to your hosting control panel, typically cPanel.
  • Find “Addon Domains” section: Locate the “Addon Domains” or similarly named section.
  • Enter domain details: Provide the addon domain name, choose a subdomain (usually automatically generated), and select a document root (the folder where its files will reside).
  • Submit: Click “Create” or “Add” to create the addon domain.
What is addon domain
Click “Add” to create the addon domain.
  • Upload to document root: Use an FTP client or file manager in your control panel to upload your website files to the addon domain’s document root.
  • Email accounts: Set up email accounts for your addon-domain if needed.
  • Databases: Create databases if your website requires them.
  • SSL certificates: Install SSL certificates for security (HTTPS).
What is addon domain
DNS changes can take some time to propagate, so you neet to be patient.

Once these steps are completed, the hosting provider will configure the server to recognize the addon domain, and it will be ready for use. You can now manage files, install applications, and treat the addon-domain as a separate website within your hosting account.

5. Managing Multiple Websites with Addon Domains

5.1. Installing and configuring content management systems (CMS)

  • Independent installations: Each addon domain can have its own CMS, allowing you to use different platforms for different websites based on their needs.
  • Installation process: Install each CMS within the corresponding addon domain’s document root, following the specific CMS instructions.
  • Configuration: Configure each CMS independently, adjusting settings, themes, plugins, and content for each website.
  • Example: You could have WordPress for one addon-domain, Joomla for another, and a custom-built website for a third.

5.2. Organizing files and databases for each addon domain

  • Separate file structures: Each addon domain has its own distinct file structure within the public_html directory, ensuring organization and preventing conflicts.
  • Database management: If using databases, create separate databases for each addon domain to avoid data overlaps.
  • Access through control panel: Manage files and databases for each addon-domain from their respective sections within your hosting control panel.

5.3. Implementing security measures across all websites

  • Use SSL certificates: Secure communication between the server and visitors by installing SSL certificates. Some hosting vendors provide free SSL certificates.
  • Strong passwords: Use strong, unique passwords for all website admin accounts, databases, and hosting accounts.
  • Security plugins: For CMS platforms like WordPress, install security plugins that provide additional layers of protection against common threats.
  • Regular audits: Conduct secure audits regularly to identify and address the vulnerabilities. This includes checking file permissions, monitoring website logs, and ensuring all software is up to date.
  • Firewall protection: Enable server-level or CMS-level firewalls to filter malicious traffic and protect against potential attacks.
  • Monitoring tools: Utilize website monitoring tools to receive alerts about any suspicious activities, downtime, or performance issues.
  • Backups: Create regular backups of all websites for data protection and disaster recovery.
  • Shared resources: Addon domains share server resources, so optimize websites for speed and efficiency to avoid performance issues.
  • Resource limits: Be mindful of resource limits (disk space, bandwidth) on your hosting plan, especially if managing multiple websites.
  • Consider upgrades: If resource needs grow, consider upgrading your hosting plan or using a VPS or dedicated server for more control and resources.

6. SEO Considerations for Addon Domains

6.1. Maintaining distinct content and branding

  • Unique Content: Each addon domain should have unique and valuable content. Avoid duplicating content across multiple websites, as search engines favor original, high-quality content.
  • Branding: Develop a distinct branding strategy for each website. This includes unique logos, color schemes, and messaging. Clear differentiation helps users and search engines recognize each site as a separate entity.

Example: A business might have a primary website for general information, an addon domain for e-commerce, and another for a blog, each with distinct content and branding.

6.2. Avoiding duplicate content issues

  • Canonical Tags: Implement canonical tags on pages with similar content across different domains. This helps search engines understand the preferred version of the content and avoid penalties for duplicate content.
  • 301 Redirects: If you have similar content on multiple domains and want to consolidate the SEO value, consider using 301 redirects from duplicate pages to the preferred ones. This consolidates link equity and avoids duplicate content issues.

6.3. Optimizing each addon domain for search engines

  • Keyword research: Conduct keyword research for each addon-domain to identify relevant keywords and phrases. Optimize content, meta tags, and headings based on these keywords.
  • Meta tags and descriptions: Craft unique and compelling meta titles and descriptions for each page on every addon domain. This helps search engines understand the content and encourages user clicks.
  • Mobile optimization: Ensure that each addon-domain is optimized for mobile devices. Search engines like Google, Bing will prioritize mobile-friendly sites in their rankings.
  • Site speed: Improve the loading speed of each website. Faster-loading sites are favored by search engines and provide a better user experience.
  • Backlink strategy: Develop a unique backlink strategy for each addon domain. Focus on acquiring high-quality, relevant backlinks to improve domain authority.
What is addon domain
By carefully considering these SEO factors, you can maximize the visibility and performance of each addon domain in search engine results.

7. Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoiding these common mistakes is crucial for the smooth operation and success of your addon domains.

7.1. Neglecting proper file organization

Problem: Mixing files from different addon domains within the same directories can lead to confusion, conflicts, and errors.


  • Maintain distinct file structures for each addon-domain within the public_html directory.
  • Use clear and descriptive folder names to easily identify content.
  • Regularly review and clean up unused files to maintain organization.

7.2. Overlooking security measures

Problem: Addon domains share server resources, so a security breach in one could potentially affect others.


  • Implement robust security measures for all websites, including:
    • Strong, unique passwords
    • Regular software updates
    • Firewall activation
    • SSL certificates (HTTPS)
    • Regular backups
  • Educate users on security best practices to avoid phishing attacks or malware.

7.3. Failing to update and maintain addon domains

Problem: Outdated software, plugins, or content can introduce vulnerabilities and negatively impact user experience.


  • Regularly update CMS, themes, plugins, and other software to address security patches and bug fixes.
  • Refresh content regularly to maintain relevance and user engagement.
  • Monitor site performance and promptlyaddress any issues if any.

8. Scaling Your Online Presence with Addon Domains

8.1. Expanding your business or personal brand

  • Identify expansion opportunities: Determine areas where your business or personal brand can expand. This could involve offering new products, services, or content.
  • Register relevant domains: Register addon domains that align with your expansion plans. These domains should reflect the new aspects of your business or personal brand that you want to highlight.
  • Develop unique content: Populate each addon-domain with unique and valuable content that caters to the specific expansion area. This helps establish authority and credibility in diverse niches.

Example: A business with a primary website could create addon domains for different product lines, services, or geographic regions.

8.2. Creating niche websites for targeted audiences

  • Identify niche markets: Research and identify niche markets or specific audience segments that align with your interests or business expertise.
  • Register niche-specific domains: Register addon-domains tailored to each niche market or audience. Choose domains that resonate with your target customer.
  • Curate specialized content: Develop content that caters specifically to the needs and interests of each niche. This targeted approach can attract a dedicated audience and enhance engagement.

Example: A personal blog could have addon domains for specific hobbies, travel experiences, or professional expertise.

8.3. Maximizing revenue streams with multiple websites

  • Diversify monetization strategies: Explore different monetization methods for each addon domain. This could include affiliate marketing, advertising, sponsored content, product sales, or subscription models.
  • Cross-promotion: Strategically cross-promote products or services between your websites. Leverage the audience from one addon domain to drive traffic and revenue to another.
  • Optimize for conversions: Implement conversion optimization strategies on each website to maximize the effectiveness of your revenue streams.

Example: A business could have an addon-domain for an online store, a blog with affiliate links, and a membership site offering exclusive content.

9. Addon Domains vs. Subdomains: Which is Right for You?

9.1. Understanding the differences

What is an addon domainWhat is a subdomain?
  • Separate website: Acts as a completely independent website with its own unique domain name, files, content, settings, and management within your web hosting control panel.
  • Ideal for: Hosting multiple distinct websites with different branding and objectives, even if related to your primary website.
  • Drawbacks: Requires higher resource usage than subdomains and involves separate SEO optimization efforts.
  • Part of your primary website: A section or extension of your main website, using a prefix added to your primary domain name (e.g., blog.yourprimarydomain.com).
  • Ideal for: Organizing different sections of your primary website, creating separate pages for specific purposes, or targeting niche audiences without significantly altering your main brand.
  • Drawbacks: Shares the branding and authority of your primary domain, limiting flexibility, and potential SEO benefits may be lower.

9.2. Deciding on the best approach for your needs

Choose addon domains if:

  • You want completely independent websites with distinct branding and content.
  • You need separate databases, email accounts, or control panels for each website.
  • You target different audiences or operate distinct businesses.

Choose subdomains if:

  • You want to organize or extend your primary website with dedicated sections.
  • You want to maintain a cohesive brand for all website areas.
  • You need a cost-effective and resource-efficient way to add new pages or functionality.

9.3. Exploring hybrid strategies

Combining for versatility:

  • Use addon domains for entirely separate websites with unique content and branding.
  • Utilize subdomains for additional sections or specialized content related to the main domain.

Example hybrid Strategy:

  • Primary Domain: example.com
  • Addon Domains: business1.com, business2.com
  • Subdomains: blog.example.com, store.example.com

Benefits of a hybrid approach:

  • Versatility: Provides flexibility to cater to different needs within the same hosting account.
  • Efficient Resource Utilization: Allows for efficient utilization of hosting resources by sharing some elements (subdomains) while keeping others separate (addon-domains).
What is addon domain
Hybrid approach offers a versatile solution that combines the benefits of both.

Also read: What is a Parked Domain: What You Need to Know

10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

10.1. Can I use addon domains with any hosting provider?

Addon domains offer exciting ways to expand your online presence by hosting multiple websites under one account. However, not all hosting providers offer them. Before choosing a plan, check features carefully; addon-domains may be limited in number or absent from lower tiers.

Provider like Bluehost, DreamHost and VinaHosttypically offer them, but verify details like number of allowed domains and setup procedures.

If addon domains aren’t available, consider using subdomains for specific sections within your primary site or, for truly independent websites, exploring separate hosting accounts. Choosing the right strategy depends on your budget, goals, and provider options.

10.2. Is there a limit to the number of addon domains I can have?

The limit on the number of addon domains you can have typically depends on your hosting provider and the specific hosting plan you’ve chosen. Different hosting providers and plans come with varying limitations and resources.

Shared hosting plans often have a specific cap on the number of addon-domains allowed, and exceeding this limit may require upgrading to a higher-tier plan or opting for a different hosting solution like a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or dedicated hosting.

To determine the addon-domain limit for your specific hosting plan, refer to the hosting provider’s documentation, terms of service, or contact their support team for accurate and detailed information. It’s essential to understand these limitations to ensure that your hosting environment aligns with your website expansion goals.

10.3. Do addon domains affect website performance?

Addon domains, when managed effectively, typically do not have a significant negative impact on website performance. The key factors influencing performance include the availability of server resources, the nature of content and traffic for each domain, the organization of files and directories, the efficiency of the chosen content management system (CMS) and plugins, and the implementation of security measures.

Ensuring an adequate allocation of server resources, optimizing the file structure, keeping software up-to-date, and balancing security measures with performance considerations are essential practices. While addon-domains share resources with the primary domain, strategic planning and adherence to best practices can help maintain optimal website performance across all domains within a hosting account.

If you have specific concerns or considerations related to your hosting environment, consulting with your hosting provider’s support team can provide tailored insights.

10.4. Can I transfer an addon domain to a separate hosting account?

Yes, it is possible to transfer an addon domain to a separate hosting account. The process typically involves a few key steps. First, ensure that the domain is unlocked and obtain the authorization code from the current hosting provider.

Next, sign up for a new hosting account with the desired provider and initiate the domain transfer process, providing the authorization code during the transfer request. Once approved, the domain and its associated files will be moved to the new hosting account.

Keep in mind that there might be a brief period of downtime during the transfer, and it’s essential to update DNS settings to point to the new hosting account after the transfer is complete.

What is addon domain
Check with both the current and new hosting providers for specific transfer procedures and any potential fees associated with the process.

10.5. What happens if I delete an addon domain?

Deleting an addon-domain typically involves removing its association with your hosting account. When you delete an addon domain, the associated files and directories for that domain are usually removed from the server. However, it’s crucial to understand that deleting an addon-domain does not necessarily release the domain name itself; it merely removes the hosting configuration.

The domain may still be registered and active unless you separately cancel or transfer the domain registration. Additionally, any email accounts, databases, or other resources associated with the addon-domain may be deleted, so it’s advisable to back up any essential data before proceeding. Always check with your hosting provider for specific details on their deletion process and any potential implications for domain registration or other associated services.

Also Read: Unveiling the Web’s Hidden Foundation: What is Web Hosting?

11. Conclusion

Addon domains are not merely a tool; they are a harbinger of an evolving web. Imagine a future where websites morph and adapt, seamlessly merging and branching, powered by addon domains.

Brands seamlessly shift identities, niche communities flourish, and the boundaries between domains blur into an interconnected ecosystem. This is the potential we glimpse, the exciting unknown that addon domains unlock. As you build your next website, remember – you are not just creating a space; you are planting a seed for a future of unbounded online possibilities.

Hope you understand What is addon domain and the way it help you to wield, crafting web empires, nurturing diverse audiences, and amplifying your voice!

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