In the past, any hosting provider would’ve been adequate to help you host a series of websites.
Now, the growing complexity of websites and web services has made picking the right hosting provider critical to online success.
This is doubly true for anyone who’s looking to manage multiple domains at the same time. Select the wrong hosting package, and you could end up crippling your websites and frustrating your audience and customers.
There’s no need to panic, though. We’ve prepared an easy-to-follow guide that lays out everything you need to choose the right multiple domain hosting solution for you.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is multiple domain hosting?
- Advantages and disadvantages of multiple domain hosting
- What should you consider when choosing a multiple domain hosting plan?
- Final thoughts: How to choose the best web hosting solution for managing multiple websites
What is multiple domain hosting?
Multiple domain hosting is a hosting arrangement that allows you to host multiple websites from the same account. It differs from regular hosting in that you use a single hosting plan for multiple websites instead of a different plan for each individual website.
Ideally, a multiple domain web hosting plan would let you host an unlimited number of websites or domains. Most customers don’t need that flexibility, so hosting providers offer different multi-domain plans to suit varying customer requirements.
Multiple domain hosting is perfect for businesses that need to manage multiple websites.
For instance, let’s say you have an agency that manages websites for multiple clients. With a multi-domain hosting plan, you can manage any number of websites with different domain names for your clients, all hosted under the same account.
Or what if your products or services have different audiences? You could try and manage multiple website domains and accounts, but this could easily get out of hand as your business and catalog of products or services grow.
The better solution would be to create one multiple domain web hosting account. Then, you could manage each brand's separate website without tracking different accounts, saving your team time and resources on domain management.
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Advantages and disadvantages of multiple domain hosting
Let’s go over the pros and cons of this hosting package. Your use case will determine how much these advantages and disadvantages affect your decision to use multi-domain hosting.
Advantages of multiple domain hosting
Multiple domain web hosting offers several advantages, including:
- Ease of management: Since a multiple domain hosting plan uses a single account, you can manage everything from one dashboard. This includes domain names, websites, email addresses, nameservers, parked domains, and file storage. Without a multi-domain plan, you would have to deal with separate admin control panels for each website.
- Reduced cost: Besides the time you save by managing all your websites from one hosting account, a multi-domain hosting arrangement also saves you money. The cost of owning a separate plan for each website can grow exponentially. Contrast this with a multiple domain hosting plan that allows you to increase the number of websites you have with no additional cost, and the advantage becomes clear. For example, the Nexcess Maker plan allows you to host up to five WordPress websites on the same hosting plan at the same monthly fee.
- Seamless expansion: One multi-domain hosting account means you don’t have to go hunting for login credentials every time you want to add more storage to one of your websites or spin up a new website entirely. You can easily add new domains or manage existing domains from a single dashboard. It’s also easier to manage your websites’ resources and scale them up or down as needed.
Disadvantages of multiple domain hosting
Now, let’s look at the downsides of multiple domain web hosting:
- Hosting costs can escalate quickly: Multiple domain hosting can save you money. But without proper monitoring, the cost of your plan could easily spiral out of control. This is particularly the case for hosting providers that offer pay-as-you-go pricing, where you only pay for the services you use and nothing more. You could end up with an expensive bill if several of your websites start seeing a lot of traffic without any alerts in place.
- Increased risk of attacks: There’s an increased risk of malicious attacks spreading between the websites on your hosting plan. This risk is much higher with hosting plans that use shared resources like IP addresses and storage.
- Can hurt SEO performance: If you have several websites with similar content, like subdomains, it's difficult to track how your content is doing on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Duplicating content also could hurt your user experience (UX). And several UX factors can affect your SEO performance.
What should you consider when choosing a multiple domain hosting plan?
Now, let’s go over a few of the most important factors you should keep in mind when selecting your multiple domain hosting plan:
Type of hosting
All hosting service providers offer a variety of hosting plans, and most of them have some level of support for multiple domains. What you should be on the lookout for here is whether the other aspects of the hosting plan are a match for your needs.
You should be aware of these major hosting types when considering a multi-domain hosting plan:
- Shared hosting: It’s usually the most affordable option because customers share server resources with each other. This web hosting option is best suited for smaller websites that don’t expect a lot of traffic.
- Dedicated server hosting: It gives you exclusive access and control over a server. Both Nexcess and Liquid Web offer servers on dedicated hosting.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting: It offers a balance between the exclusivity of dedicated hosting and the cost savings of a shared hosting plan. You have access to a virtual server to host your websites at a fraction of the cost of a dedicated server.
- Cloud hosting: This form of web hosting lets you deploy only the resources you need for your websites. It lets you easily scale up your websites as traffic increases.
Number of domains/websites supported
Some hosting plans offer unlimited domains, while others don’t.
If you only ever plan on managing a few websites, then a hosting plan with limits on domains might be the right option.
But if you’re unsure of how many domains you might need in the future, a web hosting plan with unlimited domains makes more sense.
If this information isn’t specified, don’t hesitate to contact the hosting company for more details.
Bandwidth determines the amount of traffic your websites can handle and how fast they load. The amount of bandwidth your websites will get is a critical factor in selecting a multi-domain hosting plan that fits your needs.
If your goal is to host many websites, selecting a high-bandwidth hosting plan should be your priority.
You should also be on the lookout for plans that offer unlimited bandwidth. While the offer may be accurate to an extent, looking at the terms and conditions of these plans usually reveals some restrictions that could impact your websites’ performance.
Nexcess does not currently bill on bandwidth usage or overages on cloud plans as a default practice.
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It’s essential to consider the amount of storage that comes with a hosting plan. Do you plan to have several websites with high-quality media content? Will you be storing backups for your websites on the same hosting platform?
These are the questions you should ask to determine your storage needs. Many hosting providers offer a range of storage options. These can range from a few gigabytes to unlimited storage on solid-state drives (SSDs) and disk drives.
Capacity refers to the performance of a hosting server’s processor and its memory capacity. High-performance servers with multiple cores can handle more page requests for websites and are more capable of hosting numerous websites. They also cost more than lower-capacity servers.
Knowing the kind of websites you want to host will help you understand whether you need a high-capacity server. For example, ecommerce websites have higher processing requirements than personal blogs.
Budget constraints prevent most customers from picking the most feature-packed option for web hosting. The trick is to decide which multiple domain hosting plan offers you the most bang for your buck.
This doesn’t mean going for the cheapest option. That choice may come back to hurt you in the future. Instead, compare plans from different vendors and focus on the features that best suit your requirements for the available price.
You’ll also need to consider the cost of future upgrades or renewals. Some hosting plans offer a discounted initial price that changes once your plan is due for renewal or if you decide to upgrade.
Beyond the core features required for your multi-domain hosting plans, most service providers offer additional features that can influence your decision.
Common added features include:
- Free domain registrations.
- Dedicated IP addresses.
These features may not be available with every hosting package, so you should figure out the addons you want and find which plans they are attached to. As expected, the more expensive plans usually have the most features.
Note: Nexcess caching includes the Nexcess CDN, page caching, Redis using Object Cache Pro for all managed WordPress plans.
What management platform does the hosting service include with its plans? cPanel is a popular dashboard tool that makes it easy to manage multiple addon domains. It’s the go-to for many service providers because of its functionality, adaptability, and relative simplicity.
Liquid Web offers some cPanel-enabled hosting plans.
Other hosting providers have in-house platforms for monitoring your websites, especially those that offer managed hosting plans. Cloud hosting services have unique management dashboards.
Your hosting package of choice should include a management platform you’re familiar with or can quickly adapt to.
The security features available from hosting providers include:
- Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates.
- Malware scans.
- Secure File Transfer Protocol (FTP).
- Automated backups.
- Security alerts.
- Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection.
While hosting plans include some of these features, others may come at an additional cost.
You should also consider what security features are regulatory requirements for your industry or the type of websites you plan to host.
Level of support available
Support comes with almost all web hosting plans, but the quality of the support team can vary dramatically.
Some plans offer support via email and live chat during working hours. Others go a step further and offer 24/7 support through different channels, including voice calls, chat, email, and social media.
Your level of technical expertise and the costs associated with the different levels of support can help you determine what’s best for your multi-domain hosting plan.
Web hosting company reputation
The final thing you should consider is the reputation of the hosting service provider you’re thinking of going with.
Looking at customer reviews on third-party sites and news articles about the provider’s operations can reveal a lot about the quality of its products and customer service.
Research like this can also reveal how hosting providers handle malicious attacks. This is a good indicator of how things would go if your websites were attacked.
Final thoughts: How to choose the best multiple domain hosting provider
Choosing a multiple domain hosting solution is a serious endeavor, as the wrong decision can negatively impact the future health and sustainability of your websites.
But once you account for important details (like the type of hosting, pricing, supported features, security, support, and vendor reputation), you should have the necessary data to make an informed decision.
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