How to manage Addon Domains in cPanel?

Introduction #

Often, when it comes to managing multiple websites on a single Web Hosting Account you might reach a point when you need to add a new domain and manage a completely separate website for it apart from your Primary Domain. The ability to add new Domains and manage separate websites for each one of those in the context of cPanel is a functionality called Addon Domains. In the following lines of this tutorial, we will review the “Addon Domains” feature of cPanel. 

First, let’s learn what an Addon Domain actually is. An Addon Domain or also called an Additional Domain is a domain name that is added separately from the primary domain in a typical cPanel Web Hosting Account. Addon Domains will allow you to manage multiple different websites under a single cPanel Web Hosting Account. This is possible thanks to the cPanel functionality that maps an Addon Domain to a specific folder from the Web Hosting Account similarly to how the primary domain is mapped to work with the public_html folder. Since you can add as many folders as you would like to a cPanel account this means that you can add basically an unlimited amount of addon domains as well. However, since every domain opens a website and since loading a website consumes a certain portion of hardware resources, often you will find yourself limited in terms of how many addon domains you can have. Or in other words, please avoid adding an excessive amount of addon domains to a single cPanel account or you might risk your websites not being able to load.

Technical Explanation #

Now that you know what an Addon Domain is, let’s expand that cPanel functionality with a bit of terminology. The thing that maps a domain to a folder is actually not cPanel. cPanel only sends the instruction to the Web Server who is the one that saves the configuration in a Virtual Host stored in the Web Server main configuration file. However, since a cPanel account can have only one primary domain, only one domain Virtual Host can exist per cPanel account with an unlimited amount of subdomains Virtual Hosts. However, if that is so, how does cPanel instruct the Web Server to associate an Addon domain with the same user account? The answer is pretty simple, for each Addon Domain cPanel actually creates a subdomain. The subdomain is required since the Web Server will not add any other type of domain as a Virtual Host for this user. Once the subdomain is created, the addon domain is then configured as its alias. Or in other words, cPanel instructs the Web Server to create a new Virtual Host entry for the subdomain and then to “park” the addon domain on top. So basically the subdomain is associated with a folder on your web hosting account and the addon domain is simply put as an Alias of the subdomain. It might sound complex, however, it is not. It is just how cPanel handles Addon domains. 

Accessing the Addon Domains cPanel feature #

Being able to manage your Addon domains means for you to be in the right place. So before we share any further information on the matter, you will need to login to the cPanel service.

Once logged into the cPanel service, you will have to find the “Addon Domains” cPanel feature which naturally should be located under the “Domains” features group.

Accessing the Addon Domains in cPanel

If you click on the feature you will be redirected to the main page you should use when it comes to managing Addon domains. 

Create a new Addon Domain  #

When you access the “Addon Domains” feature, the first thing you will see is the “Create an Addon Domain” section. As the name of that section suggests, it is being used when adding a brand new Addon Domain to your cPanel account. To complete the process please fill out the following fields:

  • New Domain Name – Here you should input the domain name you would like to add. Please make sure that the domain is registered and it is properly pointed to your web hosting account with us using the nameservers, provided in your Client Area and in the welcome email that we have sent when you signed up for a service with us.
  • Subdomain – cPanel will automatically fill this field with content. If you would like to rename the subdomain, please feel free to do so, however, in most cases simply leave it as it is. 
  • Document Root – The path to the folder where the website for your brand new Addon Domain will be stored. Please note that the folder in question is relating to the “public_html” folder of your web hosting account, meaning that the new folder is contained in it. 
  • Create an FTP account associated with this Addon Domain – This option will allow you to configure a brand new FTP account which you can use to deploy the files for the website your brand new Addon Domain will open. 
Add New Addon Domain

Once your new Addon Domain is added, cPanel will display a status message indicating either the successful creation of your Addon domain or any errors that it faced when adding the domain. 

Add new addon domain status

If you would like to, you can immediately start managing the files of your brand new Addon Domain by clicking on the “File Manager” link. This action will redirect you to the “File Manager” feature of cPanel with the directory root of the newly added addon domain being selected. 

To return back to the “Addon Domains” page, please use the “Go Back” link at the bottom of the page. Your new domain should be listed in the table under the “Modify Addon Domain” section which we will review in the next step of this tutorial. 

Modifying existing Addon Domains #

Now that you know what an Addon Domain is and how to add a new Addon Domain, let’s see what management tools and features cPanel has to offer for your Addon domains. To continue with this tutorial please ensure that you are located once again on the “Addon Domains” page of cPanel. 

Immediately after the “Create an Addon Domain” section, you will find another one called “Modify Addon Domain“. In this section, cPanel will provide you with an easy-to-use table containing each of your addon domains in a separate row. For each domain in the section you will be provided with the following columns of features or modifications:

  • Addon Domains – In this column, you will find each addon domain you have associated with your cPanel Web Hosting Account. 
  • Document Root – In this column, you will see the Document Root of every addon domain. If you click on the path to the folder you will be redirected to the “File Manager” feature once again with the document root path being opened. If you click on the small pencil icon you will be prompted to edit the Document Root for the domain name in question. 
  • Subdomain – In this column, you will see the actual subdomain that is used by the particular Addon Domain. Please bear in mind that the subdomain is not subject to modifications.
  • Redirects to – In this column, you will be presented with the Redirects that you have configured for the particular addon domains using the “Redirects” feature of cPanel. 
  • Actions – In this column, you will find two available actions which are used for:
    • Remove an Addon Domain – If you click on the “Remove” link, you will be prompted to confirm the removal of the selected Addon Domain. Please bear in mind that removing an Addon Domain does not mean that the folder and the website it has opened will also be deleted.  
    • Manage redirections for an Addon Domain – Using the Manage Redirections link will allow you to configure redirections for your Addon domain. 
Modify existing Addon Domain

As you can see understanding how the Addon Domains feature of cPanel work is critical when it comes to managing those. Although cPanel made the management of Addon Domains pretty straightforward often different errors might prevent you from achieving your goal. In such cases, it is always recommended to contact our Technical Support Crew, since they will be able to explain and assist you with every Addon Domain issue you might experience. 

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