In the process of launching a client’s website on bluehost.com this evening – things got complicated. It was a supposed-to-be-simple website deploy gone bad… SUBDOMAIN OWNERS AND USERS OF CPANEL BEWARE!
If you were granted control of a subdomain and are responsible for your own hosting, you have an extra consideration to make when choosing a hosting company than everyone else does.
Questions you need to ask:
- Does the hosting company I plan to go with use cPanel?
- If yes, does this hosting company already host a website with the same top domain name or a subdomain under the same top domain name as mine?
If you answer yes to both of those questions, as per BlueHost.com, it is time to find a different hosting company. As per BlueHost’s explanation, cPanel creates accounts based on only one level below the tld. For example, even if I only control thissubdomain.ny.us, cPanel will associate my account with ny.us and all subdomains – disabling any other subdomain or even the main domain, ny.us in this case, to use this hosting company / instance of cPanel. When you try to add an add-on domain in this situation, it will return an error:
The domain “thissubdomain.ny.us” is a subdomain of a domain on a different cpanel account and cannot be added to your account.
BlueHost is one of the largest, if not the largest according to the BlueHost’s Domain Manager, users of cPanel. BlueHost has also been our choice hosting company for basic website hosting and continues to be despite this problem.
So for all of those subdomain controllers in charge of your own hosting – good luck. Specifically, ny.us sub domain controllers, if you go to BlueHost.com, you are out of luck!
BlueHost’s Proposed Solutions:
- Talk to the owner of the ny.us domain account – in this example’s case, the owner of ny.us – Problem: If you share the account, you have access to eachother’s domains and are at risk of their domain admin’s mistakes / vulnerabilities.
- Register with another hosting company- Problem: I want to use the company I am used to working with! Also, in this case, I was trying to add the domain as an add-on domain, so if I took this route, I would have to pay for an additional hosting account.
As per BlueHost, cPanel believes it is too small an issue to worry about – supposedly, there is only a very small group of unhappy users like myself who can’t go with the hosting company they would like to. I would hope server admins using cPanel would not only demand this for users like me, but don’t you think cPanel should address this given that this can potentially turn away business!?
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Actually, cPanel can cope with this, it just needs some manual setup by the hosting provider.
I know this is a very old threat, but it showed up quite high in google, hence I’m giving an answer here.