Many web hosting plans only allow you to host a single domain name on your account. This is fine if you only plan to host one website. However, this isn’t enough for everyone. If you have multiple sites or plan to have more than one website in the future, you’re going to want to sign up with the best multi domain hosting provider.
There are a number of reasons why multi domain hosting is the preferred option to single domain hosting. In this guide, we will look at the reasons why you may want to choose this type of hosting plan. We will also look at some of the pros and cons of multi domain hosting so you can decide if this is the right web hosting option for you.
Finally, we will look at some of the things to look for when selecting the best multi domain hosting provider.
What is Multi Domain Hosting?
A domain is your address on the web. It’s how people find your website, and each one is unique with each unique domain name pointing to a different website.
With multi domain hosting, you have the ability host multiple sites on a single web hosting account. This account, set up through your web hosting provider, gives you more flexibility and cost savings over a single domain account.
For example, your hosting plan may allow you to host five domains on your account. Let’s say that you pay ten dollars a month for that account. Since it allows for five domains, you can host five different websites under that account. You don’t pay ten dollars a month for each site. You only pay ten dollars a month total.
Who is Multi Domain Hosting For?
The ability to host multiple domains on a single account is attractive to a number of different people for various reasons.
1. Web developers
Let’s say you only have one site you want to host for your business. With a multi domain hosting plan, you can also set up a development site. Here, you can test out interesting applications, new themes and plugins, as well as carry out design work.
This allows you to ensure that the newly added features are compatible with your current site before you implement them. For site’s where uptime and security are concerns, this is a huge bonus.
2. Owners of multiple websites
Another use for multi domain hosting is the entrepreneur who runs several marketing sites. Since these sites often use little storage space and require few resources they are perfect for multi domain hosting. You can setup all of your sites under one account for easy management and less overhead costs.
3. Freelance web designers and small agencies
Finally, web designers who manage the sites they build for their clients often rely on multi domain hosting. This allows them easier management of their clients’ sites. It also gives them the option of charging their clients hosting fees for this additional service.
Pros of Multi Domain Hosting
You have probably already guessed some of the benefits that the best multi domain hosting offers. We have talked about costs and ease of managing sites. For smaller businesses, these are huge benefits.
1. Save time
Multi domain hosting also allows you to save time. If you are trying to run a business, this is essential. Since you don’t have to log into multiple accounts when you are managing your web hosting, you can save a great deal of time.
2. Reduced admin overheads
Another benefit is that a multi domain plan makes account admin and management easier as well. You don’t have to worry about payments, account expiration and planned outages for multiple accounts. Since all of your sites are under one account, you only need to worry about one.
3. Easy to upgrade
Another benefit to multi domain hosting is that these plans often come in tiers. If you outgrow your plan, you can easily upgrade to the next level by simply paying a bit more each month. Nothing else changes.
Cons of Multi Domain Hosting
While there may seem to be little drawbacks to this type of hosting plan, even the best multi domain plans aren’t for everyone.
1. Plans can be lower performance
To begin with, most multi domain plans are often hosted on shared servers. This means that there are hundreds, or even thousands, of other customers on the same server. When you choose this type of plan, the server resources are shared among all of the different customers.
You are only allocated a fraction of these resources. Due to this, you’ll have limited CPU resources, hard drive storage and bandwidth allocated to your account. If you spread this across multiple sites on your account, you are further diluting your resources. If your plan allows for 5GB of hard drive space, and you host five websites, you have to divide that storage up. Each site now only has 1GB. This might be enough for you, but for others, it may not.
You can give certain sites more resources by taking them away from other sites to compensate. However, once you max out there is no more room to grow. Thankfully you don’t have to manage this allocation of resources as its taken care of by the web host.
2. All sites hosted on one account
Another drawback is that should there be an outage, all of your sites are affected. If you have your sites spread across multiple servers and web hosting accounts, if one goes out your other sites should remain online. In multi domain hosting, if your server is down so are all of your sites.
Remember, outages aren’t always the fault of your provider. If you misconfigure something or if your payment method is declined all of your sites could suffer.
Things to Look for When Choosing a Multi Domain Host
Choosing the best multi domain hosting is a challenging task. Most of the popular hosting providers offer these plans, and the basic features are often the same. The key is to look past these basic features.
Obviously, the cost is one factor to consider. Most entry-level multi domain hosting plans are reasonably priced, offering discounts if you pay for the year up front. You can see from the plans offered by SiteGround that not only are they affordable, but they are scalable as well. For only two dollars a month more you get the ability to host multiple sites.
Something else to investigate is the level of support that the hosting provider offers. If you are hosting multiple sites, especially for your clients and customers, you want the ability to get someone on the phone. The best multi domain hosting providers offer phone support, with email and live chat being other options. At a minimum, the best plans will respond to a support request within 24 hours.
Features are important as well. You may find that some of the less expensive providers don’t offer the tools you need to manage your websites. Again, if we look at what SiteGround offers there are some nice features on offer. Most of the larger hosting providers offer similar benefits.
4. Account management
The final thing to look for in a multi domain host is a reputable management tool such as Plesk or cPanel. If you are going to host multiple sites on your account, a tool that will help you manage them is a must.
Some providers offer customers their own management tool. This is fine if it helps with multi domain accounts. However, do some research. If other customers claim it falls short in this area, look for a provider that gives you the right tools. Plesk and cPanel are widely available and easy to use.
What to Pay Attention to When Choosing a Multi Domain Host
When looking for any type of hosting provider, uptime and reputation are going to be the top two things to watch.
It is essential that you’re trusting your websites to a provider with a solid reputation. Look over reviews and see what other customers have to say. Don’t go by testimonials on the provider’s website. These aren’t always the best representation of customer experience. Instead, do a bit of research and read some of the honest reviews found elsewhere online.
Uptime is the other area you want to pay close attention to. You should not even consider a provider that offers you anything less than 99% uptime in their service level agreement (SLA). Pay attention to the reviews you read. If you see that a provider promises this, but customers say otherwise they may not be delivering as promised. A Google search for “hostname outage” can help reveal information on the last time a particular company had a problem.
Finally, the best multi domain hosting providers make upgrading easy. If you grow to big for your plan, you should be able to switch over to a larger plan without any disruption in service. Even if you paid for a year up front, a good provider will help you transition. You may also want to look for providers that will allow you to upgrade to a dedicated plan in case you need this option in the future.
Entry level shared multi domain hosting plans are a solid option for people or businesses that are starting out. Having the ability to host multiple sites on one account is beneficial for just about any scenario if your website is more to you than just a hobby.
Like any other type of web hosting, not all multi domain hosting plans are equal. You need to do your research to find the best multi domain hosting provider for your needs. You may find one that is priced right and is loaded with features. However, if they don’t offer the web applications your site uses then they aren’t the right fit. If they don’t give you the ability to move between plans, look for someone who does. Most of all, if they can’t meet your resource requirements keep looking around.
There is a multitude of quality hosting providers out there. It won’t be difficult to find the right one.