What is an Addon Domain?

There are a variety of different types of Internet domains. Most people who use the World Wide Web on a regular basis are familiar with primary domains; these are represented by Web addresses such as Amazon.com, Facebook.com, and Wikipedia.org. A primary domain is the registered domain that is associated with a website’s hosting account. According to HostGator, an addon domain is a secondary domain; it is a type of subdomain, which can mimic a primary domain, but is hosted in its own directory within the main hosting account.

What an Addon Domain Actually Is

An addon domain is a secondary domain, which is administered using the same control panel interface (most often cPanel) as the primary domain with which it is coupled, according to BlueHost. The files that are associated with the addon domain are also hosted on the same server as those associated with the primary domain. Unlike a subdomain, which is visibly subsidiary, an addon domain appears no different from a primary domain in a web browser. To the average Internet user, it doesn’t stand out as being any different.

How an Addon Domain Works with FTP

When an addon domain is created, a folder is generated within the public_HTML directory of the associated hosting account. The user login to access the addon domain via FTP would resemble an email address. For example, assume a primary domain located at alpha.com is given the addon domain beta.com. In that case, the login would normally look like this: beta@alpha.com. In this respect, an addon domain is structured like a subdomain, and in some ways it’s set up in similar fashion; a subdomain cannot affect the appearance of a top-level domain, however.

Accessing an Addon Domain via a Web Browser

There are several ways in which an addon domain can be reached via a standard web browser. As an example, let’s keep the previous addresses in mind: the primary domain of alpha.com, and the addon domain of beta.com. Assuming that both domains have been set up appropriately, and feature published, publicly accessible content, you could visit beta.com through a web browser using any of the following addresses:

  • beta.com
  • alpha.com/beta
  • beta.alpha.com

If “beta” were simply a subdomain of alpha.com, the second and third options within the preceding list would work, but typing “beta.com” would not. Since subdomains which aren’t also addon domains aren’t registered, the possibility would exist in this case that someone else already owned beta.com. If you want your subdomain to host important information, product listings, services, or other valuable content, this can lead to a lot of confusion on the user end of things.

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Advantages of an Addon Domain

Domain ownership is one of the benefits of having an addon domain, even if you intend to use it purely as a subdomain. Another advantage, thanks to the combined storage and interface, is convenience. It is possible to maintain what are (for all appearances) several separate websites, managing them all through the same control panel, file manager, and FTP access. For more information about addon domains, you can view the cPanel addon domain documentation.