Small Business Websites
Add-On Domains and Parked Domains
Written by Charles Mburugu for Gaebler Ventures
Once your website is up and running, you might want to launch other sites. The default way of doing this is to open new hosting accounts and register new domain names. However, it can be expensive to open new hosting accounts, especially when you still have a lot of free bandwidth and space available in your original account.
The good news is that it is possible to share the bandwidth and web space of your original account among other different sites. This can basically be done through parked domains and add-on domains.
An add-on domain refers to a new domain name which points to a subdirectory within an existing domain account, where the site for the new domain will be located. Add-on domains must be your own registered domain names that are configured to direct to your web host's servers.
For web users, add-on domains operate just like any other domain. For instance, if you already have a hosting account under the name www.maindomain.com, you could register an add-on domain like www.addon.com. When visitors type www.addon.com in their browser, they will be directed to the new site.
The beauty of add-on domains is that the browser address bar will show www.addon.com, with no reference to the original domain. Therefore, the process will be very transparent to visitors. If your visitors move to another page, their browser will show www.addon.com/anotherpage just as it should.
Besides sharing bandwidth and web space with the main domain, add-on domains also have their own statistics and cgi-bin.
Many web hosts are now offering to set up add-on domains at no cost. This is only fair, because you are not getting any extra bandwidth or web space. However, other will charge a small one time fee, which is ok especially when it includes the cost of registering a new domain. In addition, some web hosts will charge a monthly fee for every add-on domain you set up. Sometimes, that fee will be close to what you pay for your web hosting account, which means it is better to just open a new hosting account. Accounts which charge such high fees should be avoided.
A parked domain refers to a domain that does not have a hosting account associated with it, and that has URL forwarding capabilities, so that it directs to an existing website. For instance, let's say you already run an e-zine that is hosted under your domain name as www.domain.com/ezine/index.html. You may later want to register a different domain name for your e-zine to make it more memorable. But you may not want to open a new hosting account or move the pages to a new server.
This can be solved by registering and parking a new domain for your e-zine, for instance www.ezine.com, which will be directed to www.domain.com/ezine/index.html. You don't have to register the new domain name with the same company hosting your website. The domain can be registered with any domain registrar, preferably one that offers URL forwarding at no cost.
Parked domains are a good option for webmasters who have sites hosted by free web hosting services. By using a memorable parked domain name, users will not have to remember the typically long web addresses of free hosting accounts. In addition, parked domains are widely used by affiliate marketers, who forward the parked domains to merchant pages.
Charles Mburugu writes for us from his home in Nairobi. He has a graduate degree in Business Management from Kenya Institute of Management. He is interested in writing about branding, CSR and intellectual property.
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