When to choose reseller hosting over addon domains
Reseller web hosting and shared web hosting plans often include cPanel for managing your websites & domains. When you have multiple domains, you must decide on whether reseller hosting or a shared web hosting plan is a better fit.
Reseller Web Hosting
- master dashboard to control multiple cPanel accounts
- ability to create multiple cPanel accounts
- each cPanel account has a separate login; username & password
- resources are allocated to each cPanel (memory, cpu, processes etc)
Shared Web Hosting
- single cPanel login
- uses “addon domains” (directories) for additional domains
- no separate login for websites
- resources are shared among all websites on the account
When do we recommend using a reseller web hosting plan?
If you have more than a few domains that you’d like to host, we recommend a reseller hosting plan to keep each domain isolated via their own cPanel account. The two biggest issues with addon domains are the use of resources such as memory, cpu & processes and then security concerns. Addon domains within cPanel are not inherently insecure, but since the directories reside under the same system user, there is no isolation between them. Unfortunately, this means if for example, a WordPress website becomes compromised, it can potentially spread to other addon domains.
While the addon domains & security does pose a risk to other websites residing on the same hosting plan, we do not see a higher ratio of compromised websites simply due to the fact that addon domains are being used. As long as the website(s) being hosted on the addon domains (and parent cPanel account) are properly secured, we see no issues with using addon domains.
Are you a web agency or providing website hosting services to customers?
If you’re providing website hosting services to customers or are hosting a large number of websites (from a web agency for example), we most definitely recommend using a reseller hosting account over a shared account with addon domains. There’s a few reasons for this, the main three being security, resources & accessibility. Having each domain on its own cPanel means that there is also a separate login.
You certainly would not want to have addon domains in this case as you would have to provide the same username/password to each customer in order for them to access anything within cPanel (which we HIGHLY do not recommend). Additionally, keeping each customer isolated from one another will ensure that in the event one site becomes compromised, it does not affect another customer site.
Lastly, resources are assigned per cPanel account, so having each website on its own cPanel means the resources are not being shared by any other account/website except for what resides on that cPanel account.
With addon domains (on a single shared web hosting account), if your cPanel account has 1GB of RAM available to it and you have 10 domains/websites via addon domains, all 10 of those websites are going to have to share that 1GB of RAM. With busy websites, this means contention, each website will fight one another for resources.
When to use addon domains?
If you have a shared web hosting account and would like to simply add a few personal or hobby type sites, we most definitely recommend addon domains for this. The concept of addon domains from cPanel is good however, when the websites being hosted using addon domains are customer websites or are busy sites, we don’t recommend using addon domains. Addon domains are another option that can be used for staging sites also, but we recommend using subdomains for that.
Are your sites income based or monetized sites?
If your websites are generating any type of income, we recommend that you at least host them on separate accounts. This could be a reseller hosting plan OR separate shared hosting plans if you don’t plan to add more sites over time. Shared hosting accounts can always be moved into a reseller account down the road if you add more accounts.
The biggest reasons we recommend multiple shared hosting cPanel accounts or a reseller account when you have multiple sites that are monetized is both performance and security.
If one of your monetized sites becomes compromised (let’s say a WordPress exploit from a bad plugin) and it spreads to your other site (via an addon domain), there’s a possibility that the platform being used for monetizing the site could pull the site from their platform. In instances like this, we feel the risk is simply too high and increases the possibility that the issue could interfere with the income being generated.