Hosting Domain Mistakes can be Costly

I’m going to use GoDaddy hosting as an example here.   Not because it is bad, because there are a lot of RE Bloggers with their sites on GD Deluxe Hosting.

Deluxe hosting on GD means you have the primary domain assigned to the hosting account and up to 25 other domains on that hosting package.

The Primary Hosting Domain

Not all domain names are the same.   They start out the same but that can change quickly.

Some domains are bought and parked, some pointed to a main domain.   Others are assigned a folder where their content exists on the hosting package.

Others are assigned as the primary domain on a hosting package which makes them “special”.

A domain that isn’t a primary domain can be pointed anywhere, I can register a domain on Godaddy and host it on Bluehost.   I simply change the Nameservers (DNS) for the domain and once pointed I route it to the directory where it’s content files reside.

But a primary hosting domain would never be pointed to another hosting package.   It is the domain associated with a hosting package.

Don’t Point the Primary Domain within

The primary domain should never be a forwarded domain.

The primary domain should never be pointed to a directory or domain under itself.

Here is the scenario:

You buy a domain for your business and purchase hosting for it.   That domain becomes the primary domain.

You purchase some other domains and set them up on the same hosting, UNDER the primary domain.

Then you realize the purchased domain has better keywords than the primary domain so you want to make it your “Main” site.

If you want the secondary domain to now be the primary domain you can remove it from under the primary domain and make it the primary domain.

Before you do this you would need to move all the files from the secondary domain folder to the root.

It can take some time for things to reset.   Therefore you do this during off traffic hours to your site.

What sometimes happens:

But, some are intimidated by this process so they do the easy and what at the time seems logical thing to do.

The go to their domain manager and forward the primary domain to the secondary domain so when anyone goes to the primary domain it is routed to the secondary domain.

THIS IS A BIG MISTAKE.   It is trying to point the parent (Primary) domain to a secondary (child) domain location which is actual under it.   Will it work?   Usually, YES it will.   But this type of circular reference, so to speak, can take a lot of time to resolve.   Meaning, the site slows to a crawl when loading.

There are two options here, depending on your situation.

First, you can do what we mentioned above by changing the primary domain and then forwarding the old primary domain to the new primary domain.

Second, you can do a 301 redirect in the .htaccess to point the primary domain traffic to the secondary domain.

The first option is the better of the two.

Don’t point the primary hosting domain to a domain inside itself.


  1. Thanks for the very informative post. Now I have to go make some changes to my website.

  2. Great information….it would have been great for me to know this two years ago. I learned the hard way but still learned something new from this post. Thanks for helping to keep us all on track.

  3. Denise Hamlin says

    Really interesting post. I’m hosting with GoDaddy so it was particularly helpful to me. Your tips on what to do and what not to do make perfect sense, but I certainly wouldn’t have come up with it on my own! Thanks.

  4. Dave,

    Really good article! Most of us don’t access our domain hosts frequently enough to learn the ins and outs of their world.

  5. I use GoDaddy for hosting and haven’t had too many problems, but to prepare myself for the inevitable, am thinking of doing round robin hosting. That way, if one host goes down or is having trouble, the other host can pick up the slack. Still researching this idea, but it seems like a good idea. Does anyone have any positive or negative opinions with this hosting plan?

  6. Brent,

    Round Robin hosting is for those sites with millions of hits a day. For most of us 1000 hits a day is “Huge”. There is no reason for us to go to the expense. It would be like buying a firetruck to put out a match.


  7. Thanks for the advice Dave! If I start having trouble with GoDaddy, I’ll look into Host Gator to host my sites.

  8. A common sense issue, but many wouldn’t know about it. Go Daddy are great for you’re Mom and Pop operator but if you get bigger, you will need a new host!

  9. Just found this post and had to go check my GoDaddy settings to make sure I didn’t mess something up. Thanks for the tips…all is well (thankfully)!