Domain Aliases vs Domain Redirects

Domain Aliases

Domain aliases allow you to host a web site on one domain and point other domain names to the same site. For example, if you registered myblogisreallycool.com as your domain name, but then decided that you wanted something more professional, you could register the domain professionalblogging.com and use it as an alias for your original site. When you set up that alias, a person can access the exact same content from both myblogisreallycool.com and professionalblogging.com.

To add a Domain Alias to your account, you’ll want to log into cPanel. From there, click Aliases under the Domains section.

You’ll be brought to a new screen where you’ll see any aliases you’ve already added and be able to add new ones. Add the Alias in the Create a New Alias section. Then click Add Domain

You can manage the new alias you added in the Remove Aliases section.

Domain Redirects

Redirects are helpful when working with multiple domains. Maybe you’d like to use a redirect to point people to a specific project on your personal blog or redirect a user to a specific project from a page on your blog. In either situation redirects point one URL to another.

To really understand how a redirect works, it’s best to see one in action. A great example of a common website that uses a redirect is Wikipedia. If you type in “wikipedia.com” and watch the address bar at the top of your browser, you will notice that the URL will change to https://www.wikipedia.org/ and the normal Wikipedia homepage will load. Wikipedia has set up several redirects so when a person types in almost any variant of the URL name, that person will automatically be forwarded to the real Wikipedia homepage.

You can set up redirects directly in cPanel. Navigate to the Domains section and click Redirects

Next you’ll click the pop-up menu to select the URL you’d like to redirect visitors from. In this case, I’m going to have silesia-explorer.reclaimhosting.com redirect to http://silesia-explorer.com

Once everything is set up as you want, click the Add button.

The Differences

Now that we’ve covered how to add Domain Aliases and Redirects, let’s talk about some differences between the two.

An alias URL will not change in a web browser whereas a redirect will. This means that when people type in the alias URL, their browser will load the original content on myblogisreallycool.com, but their address bar will still say “professionalblogging.com” Your website visitors won’t even know that you have an alternate name for the domain unless you tell them. The benefit to this is that you don’t have to move the content you have already published you can just set up an alias in order to essentially “rebrand” your site.

There is one downside to aliases. When you have an alias, your website traffic numbers will be split, because some people will use the alias URL and others will use the original domain URL. This is not as good for keeping track of website stats. If that’s important to you, then using a redirect would be a better option.

Also keep in mind when you set up a redirect if you are moving content to a permanent new site, setting a redirect could result in some broken links, especially for photos. These will have to be fixed manually.

Hopefully this information helps with when you should use a Domain Alias vs a Domain Redirect.

Domain aliases work for the main domain, but will it also connect the same named domain pages? So if I create an alias of http://coolestdogever.com to http://cogdogblog.com will the link for http://coolestdogever.com/photos go to http://cogdogblog.com/photos ?? That’s why I usually try to do the redirect with a wildcard.

And domain aliases only wok for domains, right? not subdomains? Thanks

but will it also connect the same named domain pages?

Yes, however keep in mind WordPress rewrites URLs via the Site and Home URL fields so it’s not possible to run a site on more than one domain, it will redirect to the other. If it’s an HTML site though all the links would work the same under both URLs.

Aliases are only applied to the primary domain, not subdomains. The main use case I think cPanel intends for them is owning multiple TLDs (com, net, org) but having a single hosted instance for them. After adding an alias you can setup the redirect for that alias if instead of loading the content under two separate distinct domains you prefer one to redirect to the other (Google SEO also plays nicer if you don’t have multiple domains with identical content)