Thanks to the low cost of domain names and hosting fees it is possible to own several websites without breaking the bank. There are several ways to manage multiple domains so it is important to know what your options are and the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
The most basic choice when administering multiple domains is whether or not to do so with the same host. Most hosts offer packages which can be set up to allow several sites on one account, or allow individual sites to be operated under separate accounts.
You may have an existing website and are happy with the services your host provides. If you decide to start a new website using the same host, you will have the reassurance of dealing with a company you are familiar with and trust. You may also get a discount for each additional account you open with the same host. On the other hand, using a new host for a second (or third or fourth) website can allow you to compare the quality of hosting offered by different companies. In addition, separate hosts will provide each of your web sites with a different IP address.
Having different IP addresses can be an important factor if you plan to link the sites together to aid in search engine optimization. Incoming links are an important indicator of the importance of a website, so a site with a lot of incoming links can get a higher position in search engines like Google. If all the links are coming from the same IP address, however, their value may be discounted. Hosting your various sites with different hosting companies guarantees that each site has a different IP address. Individual IP addresses, however, are available as an extra from most web hosts. For a yearly fee each website can have its own unique IP address. This can help with search engine ranking and is also needed if you want to have a secure connection (https) on your site.
If you decide to host all your sites with the same company, there are three basic ways to go. Each site could have its own account; you could sign up for a re-seller account; or you could get a dedicated server account.
As a re-seller you are acting as an agent for the hosting company. You are allocated a certain amount of disk space and bandwidth and you are free to use them as you please. There may be a limit to the number of websites you can host with your re-seller account, but if there is space left over after using this account for your own sites you could earn some extra income by selling accounts to other people. The advantage of a re-seller account is that all the technical details are taken care of by the hosting company. Some will even provide gateways for billing your customers.
A dedicated server account gives you control of all the resources of an entire server. You are free to setup as many websites as you wish and allocate disk space and bandwidth as you see fit. The downside to this type of account is that you are responsible for maintaining the server. This can require a significant level of technical know-how so if you don’t have that knowledge or don’t feel like learning about it, dedicated servers are not for you. You can, of course, go with a managed dedicated server. The downside of this is the higher cost involved.
Hosting all your sites with one host can offer lots of advantages but there is one major disadvantage – if your server goes down, all your sites go down. If you are depending on your sites for income this can be a disastrous situation. For this reason, it is a good idea to have at least one of your sites with a different host. If your sites are essential for your livelihood and you can’t afford any down time whatsoever, you would be advised to host everything with (at least) two hosts.