Addon domain vs subdomain vs parked domain

What is an addon domain?, what is parked domain?, are subdomains and addons domains the same thing?. In which situations should you use one or the other?. Guess no more!..

Addon Domain vs Subdomain

What are the main differences between an addon domain and a subdomain?, are not they the same thing?. They are not, in fact a subdomain is not even a real domain. A subdomain is just a sub-directory that you create inside your main domain directory, your subdomain is not an entity on it’s own, it depends entirely of your main domain and cannot ever be accessed without it:

  • main domain: hostingfornoobs.com
  • subdomain: spanish
  1. hostingfornoobs.com/spanish —> this is OK
  2. spanish.hostingfornoobs.com —> this is also OK
  3. spanish.com —> this will only be OK if someone already registered that domain name, and it won’t even be a part of your website!

Think about this, if subdomains were like real domains, you will only register one domain and then you will create as much as additional domains as you want, heck you will own the internet 🙂

Addon Domain & Parked Domain

When you register a new domain, you can do whatever you want with it. Usually your options are:

  1. pointing that domain to another domain or just do nothing with it
  2. pointing that domain to your web hosting account and proceed to create your website
  3. pointing that domain to your already existing web site and make it part of it

The first case is what we call a Parked domain, is just a domain pointing (you may say redirecting) to some other domain or just sitting there doing nothing (in that case it will be pointing to your registrar).

The second case is what you will usually do and know about domains in general, nothing special there.

The third case will be an addon domain. Instead of using a new hosting account (a different server or computer)  for your new domain you go and place it in one of your already existing websites, basically in a sub-directory  of your website, hence, you need a main domain before you can create an addon domain. Wait a second!, that is like a subdomain!. I hear you, now take a look at this:

  • main domain: hostingfornoobs.com
  • addon domain: spanish.com
  1. hostingfornoobs.com/spanish —> this is OK
  2. spanish.hostingfornoobs.com —> this is also OK
  3. spanish.com —> this is OK now!

 

Addon domain vs Subdomain

Still confused?. Here is the real main difference between an addon domain and a subdomain : you can at any point take your addon domain and separate it from your main domain, you can move it to a different web hosting provider update it’s name servers and you are set, you can then create a new website if you want. You cannot do that with your subdomain, remember, it’s not a real domain name, it’s just a virtual facility for your website, it never existed outside of the scope of your main domain in the first place.

Addon domain vs Subdomain – Advantages and Disadvantages

The only advantage of a subdomain is the price: it’s free and you can create as much subdomains as you want. The disadvantages however are:

  1. you cannot create a website of total independent value (your main website will always be part of the URL)
  2. you cannot move it to a different hosting account
  3. it cannot be used for branding purposes

Wait, is not point number 1 also true for an addon domain?..good catch, but no is not. You can always access the addon domain using just it’s normal domain name: www.addon-domain.com and you can also prevent people accessing it using your main domain, that’s it, you can prevent people to do something like: addon-domain.main-domain.com or main-domain.com/addon-domain. This is great because you can create a totally different (unrelated) website to your main domain and people will never know that they are actually dealing with an addon domain. You cannot do that with a subdomain.

Addon domain vs Subdomain vs Parked domain – When to use them

Parked domains are great for branding purposes: you want to protect your brand, or you want to avoid people taking advantage of your hard work by using a top level domain similar to your precious domain, what you do then is to register the most important ones and point them to your main domain:

  • maindomain.net —> parked domain pointing or redirecting to maindomain.com
  • maindomain.us –> same as above

Of course powerful companies and well established websites won’t even bother with this, they will simply SYA off if you use their names 🙂

Subdomains are great for website organization and better structure, here are some examples:

  • hostingfornoobs.com/help     –> a separate section only for helping your users, posting your Q&A, etc.
  • hostingfornoobs.com/es    or es.hostingfornoobs.com   –> the same content in spanish

Addon domains can be used for everything a subdomain can and more. If you are going to use an addon domain to create a unrelated website to your main domain, then the main reason to do so are:

  • you are trying to save money, after all web hosting is expensive
  • you just one to manage everything from one account

There is not much to think about it:

  1. do you want to better structure your website?, use a subdomain
  2. do you want to redirect people to your main website?, buy a domain and park it
  3. you already have a website, want to create another unrelated one and save some money?, buy a domain and make it an addon domain

 That’s it for addon domain vs subdomain and parked domain, I hope that everything is a little more clear to you now 🙂

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