Hosting add-on domain process step-by-step | WP Learning Lab

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Hosting add-on domain process step-by-step | WP Learning Lab

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Hosting add-on domain process can be tricky if you haven’t done it before. Especially when hosts, like Bluehost, change the process to make it more difficult. Watch over my shoulder as I add an add-on domain to my hosting account.

The first thing you need to do to start the add-on domain process is log into your hosting account. In my example I’m using Bluehost.

Once logged in, find the Add-on domain section. In Bluehost you find it by clicking on the Domains link in the top menu. And then click on “Assign a domain to your cPanel account”.

This will take you to the add-on domain page.

On that page, enter the domain name in the first input field.

Bluehost will try to verify that you own it. If it fails to verify, the page will present you with options to verify the domain. They are:

1. Set the name servers to Bluehost nameservers.
2. Change the A record of your domain to point to the IP that Bluehost gives you.
3. Add an HTML page to your site.
4. Request an EPP Code from your domain registrar and put it into the input field.

The only options I ever use are 1 and 2 because they are the fastest. Even though when you do them a notice says they will take 48 hours to complete the process it never takes that long. It’s usually done in a few hours.

There is a key difference between setting name servers and an A record that you need to be aware of.

When you set name servers, all traffic that goes to that domain is sent to your hosting account. This include email traffic. So if you want to create an inbox on your Bluehost server that’s great. Set the name servers.

When you set an A record, only the website traffic of the domain is sent to the website you build on Bluehost. You can set the MX (email exchange) Records separately so you can use an email service like G Suite or Rackspace.

You can also set the MX Records in your Bluehost account to use with a 3rd party email service.

The difficulty is if you want to move your site to a different host. When you do that, there will be a period of time where your MX Records aren’t active because they are being migrated to the new host. That means you will not be receiving any email during that time. That email won’t be stored in the cloud either, it will just disappear.

If you use the A Record, if you migrate your website to another host you simply update the A Record IP. The MX Records don’t need to be changed or migrate, so you have zero email downtime.

Pick the option that’s best for you: nameservers or A Record and let’s carry on.

To set the Nameservers, log into your domain registrar (I’m using GoDaddy in this example). Find your domain name and check the box beside it. Then click on Name Servers in the menu bar above the domain list.

In the dialogue box that pops up click on Add Custom Name Servers. Add the name servers Bluehost presented to you:


Save your way out of those dialogue boxes. Now we way. Within a few hours your name servers should be updated and then you can try verifying your domain in Bluehost again.

If you want to go the A Record route, click on your domain name in the list. This will open a new page.

On that page click on DNS File Zone. There is a whole list of things you can do in the DNS file zone. One of the first ones will be the A Record.

Add the A Record IP that Bluehost provided and save both the IP entry and the DNS file zone page as well. (Yes, two saves). After a few hours Bluehost will be able to verify your domain’s ownership.

You may have to check back a few times to see if the changes have propagated.

Once they have, you will be shown a success message and you can carry on with the add-on domain process.

The next parts are quick and easy.

Choose whether you want to make your domain an Addon Domain, a Parked Domain or an Unassigned Domain.

If you want to build a website on the domain, choose Addon Domain name.

In the next step you will want to choose “Create a new directory” and enter a name for the folder that contain your addon domain.

Then you’re done.

Click on the Assign The Domain button to complete the process.

Now you will be able to find the domain’s folder in your cPanel File Manager and build a website there.

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