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My Newbie Web Hosting Mistake

What I Didn’t Know About My Webhost Did Hurt Me

When I first started out online 8 years ago, the entire hosting landscape was different. Multiple domain hosting (or unlimited domain hosting) was only offered by a few providers. It was more expensive than it is today. To even have multiple domains, there was a good chance you would end up with a reseller account.

After doing (what I thought was) good research on available hosting companies, I decided on a multiple domain shared hosting plan. Now, I’m not going to name the company because the plan has changed greatly since 2002. So while the plan may not exist anymore, my experience is still just as relevant today as it was then.

Overall, this host was just as good as I thought. My websites loaded quickly, they had good customer support, my site was rarely down and they had all of the features I needed… so I thought.

When I went to put up my second website on a new domain, I went through cPanel and set everything up. It worked fine, until I got to the email. You see when you register for unlimited domain shared hosting, you start with a primary domain. Add-on domains are just forwarded subdomains of your main domain.

Let’s say you have www.mysite.com and www.secondsite.com, where www.mysite.com is your primary domain. The world will see these as independent domains. Your server sees your add-on site as secondsite.mysite.com, which is a subdomain of your primary website.

How does this relate to email? Well, as it turned out, all of my emails could only be sent via my primary domain. Even though I could have an email account for each domain, they were receive-only – except for email accounts tied to my primary domain. Email for add-on domains were really just forwarding accounts that used my other domain emails as email aliases of my main domain accounts.

Cutting through the jargon, I could send and receive email using email@mysite.com. I could receive email using email@secondsite.com. If I needed to send email, it would always be sent from @mysite.com. That means I didn’t have independent email accounts for each of my sites.

Imagine having 2 different businesses that are completely unrelated (like one about computers and the other about specialty cheeses) and trying to use the same email address for both. It was horrible! I had to resort to using a hotmail address for outgoing mail on my second website. It looked unprofessional and I’m sure it cost me some business.

Needless to say, this didn’t last long and I left the host. Upon further inspection deep in their operating agreement, I found the statement (convoluted with legalese and industry-speak) about the email. Man did I feel dumb. Not to mention the hassle of transferring my sites to my new host.

That’s why it’s so important to know what you need in a host and do your homework to make sure they have it – even if it seems like a picky little thing. I know I’m opening myself up to get ragged on here, but what do you think about this? Have you had any similar experiences? (I’m sure I can’t be alone on this, but hearing your story would make me feel better!)

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