A domain alias is a different domain name that points to the main website, much like different paths leading to the same destination. A domain alias lets different domain names display the same content, helping websites reach more people.
In this article, we will explore the concept of domain aliases and delve into how they can help businesses optimize their brand visibility.
What Are Domain Aliases?
A domain alias is an additional domain name that redirects to the primary domain of your website. They are configured through DNS settings to ensure that when someone accesses the domain alias, they are automatically redirected to the main domain while maintaining the same website content.
Companies purchase domain aliases to protect their brand, capture variations of their name, and ensure easier access for users. This approach prevents competitors from using similar domains and boosts brand consistency.
For example, a company with the primary domain “example.com” might also acquire “example.net“, “exmple.com” (a common typo), and “examplestore.com” to direct all traffic to their main website.
Domain Aliases vs Domain Redirects
When you access an alias domain, you’ll see the alternate URL of the primary website in the browser’s address bar. In contrast, domain redirects guide users from one domain directly to another, changing the address shown in the browser.
Another difference is that the total traffic of your website will be a combination of an alias domain traffic and the main domain traffic. Redirects, on the other hand, unify all traffic data but can potentially cause broken links.
When Would You Use a Domain Alias?
Domain aliasing offer businesses several benefits. Let’s discuss how domain aliases achieve these objectives:
- Rebranding—allows businesses to easily pivot or rebrand without losing their online audience.
- Targeted marketing—allows businesses to create specific marketing campaigns or landing pages without building new sites.
- Brand protection—domain aliases prevent competitors or malicious parties from registering similar domain names, ensuring brand integrity.
- Consistent user experience—whether a user accesses the site through the main domain or an alias, they experience consistent content.
- Cost-efficiency— rather than building multiple sites, businesses can maintain a single site, reducing hosting and development costs
- Localized presence—using domain aliases with ccTLDs enables businesses to establish a localized presence in different regions, catering to the preferences and expectations of local audiences.
- Multiple TLDs—to ensure global reach by having .com, .net, .org, etc., all point to the same site.
- Shorter URLs—for marketing campaigns, where a shorter or more memorable URL might be beneficial.
Limitations of Using Domain Aliases
- SEO implications—if not set up correctly, search engines might view domain aliases as duplicate content, potentially impacting rankings.
- Email complications—having multiple domains can lead to email deliverability issues or confusion regarding which domain to use for business communication.
- SSL/TLS certificates—when using domain aliases, it is important to configure SSL/TLS certificates separately for each alias to maintain secure connections.
- Confusion for users—some visitors might be confused if they encounter multiple domain names leading to the same content, potentially questioning the site’s legitimacy.
- Management overhead—owning multiple domains means keeping track of their renewal dates, configurations, and potential issues.
- Potential for misconfiguration—the more domains a company has, the higher the chances for DNS or redirection errors.
How to Create Domain Aliases in Web Hosting Control Panels?
Here’s a guide to configuring new domain aliases in popular web hosting control panels or domain management platforms.
Choose a Domain Registrar
When selecting a reputable domain registrar for domain alias services, consider factors such as the registrar’s reputation and reviews, accreditation and certification, supported domain extensions, and pricing and renewal fees.
In addition, factor in management features, customer support quality, additional services and integrations, and domain transfer policies.
Verifying your ownership of a primary domain is an important step in the domain registration process. The specific steps may vary depending on the domain registrar you are using, but here’s a general overview of how to verify domain ownership:
- Choose a reputable domain registrar and register your domain
- Check your email for a verification message from the registrar
- Click on the provided verification link or enter the verification code
- Follow the instructions on the verification page, which may involve confirming contact information or adding a DNS record
- Submit the changes by clicking the “Confirm” or “Verify” button
- Wait for the registrar to process your request and confirm domain ownership
- Check the domain status in your registrar account to ensure successful verification
Remember to carefully follow the instructions provided by your specific domain registrar for the most accurate verification process.
Access Domain Management
Here’s how to log in to your domain registrar account and access the domain management section:
- Visit your domain registrar’s website and find the “Sign In” or “Log In” option
- Enter your account username or email and password
- Look for the “Domains” or “Domain Management” section
- Click on it to access the domain management interface
- Locate the specific domain you want to manage and click on it
If you have trouble finding the domain management section or navigating through your registrar’s interface, you can refer to the registrar’s documentation or support resources for detailed instructions or contact their customer support for assistance.
Add Domain Aliases
To add domain aliases or set up domain forwarding:
- Log in to your domain registrar account and access the domain management section
- Look for options related to domain settings, DNS management, or URL forwarding
- Find the option to add domain aliases or configure domain forwarding
- Enter the alias domain name(s) you want to use and specify the primary domain to which they should be directed
- Follow any provided instructions to confirm and save the changes
- Allow time for the changes to take effect
If you encounter any difficulties or need specific guidance, consult your registrar’s documentation or contact their customer support for assistance. They can provide you with the precise steps to set up domain aliases or configure domain forwarding within their system.
Configure DNS Settings
Follow these steps to configure DNS settings for domain aliases:
- Log in to your domain registrar account and access the domain management section
- Find the domain you want to configure DNS settings for
- Look for options like “DNS management” or “Manage DNS”
- Access the DNS management interface for the domain
- Add or edit DNS records such as A records or CNAME records
- For A records, enter the alias domain name and the corresponding IP address
- For CNAME records, enter the alias domain name and the primary domain’s hostname
- Follow your registrar’s instructions to save the changes
- Allow time for DNS propagation
For detailed instructions or assistance on how DNS works, refer to your domain registrar’s documentation or contact their customer support
Test and Verify
To test domain aliases and ensure they redirect correctly to the primary domain:
- Open a web browser and enter the URL of a domain alias
- Verify that the browser redirects to the primary domain
- Repeat the process for each domain alias
- Pay attention to the address bar, ensuring it displays the primary domain’s URL
- Test on different devices and browsers for consistent redirection
- If issues arise, double-check DNS settings and allow time for propagation
- Refer to your domain registrar’s documentation or contact support for assistance
In case the redirection is not working as expected, or you need assistance, consult your domain registrar’s documentation or reach out to their customer support for further guidance and troubleshooting.
Update Website Settings
Follow these processes to update website settings for domain aliases:
- Identify the web serveror CMS you are using
- Modify the web server configuration files to handle requests from aliases (e.g., virtual host configuration for Apache or Nginx)
- Adjust the CMS settings to recognize and respond to alias requests (e.g., domain settings or domain mapping plugins for WordPress, Drupal)
- Test the configuration by accessing the domain aliases in a web browser
- Refer to platform-specific documentation or seek professional assistance if needed
It is important to note that the specific steps and methods for updating website settings may vary depending on your web server or CMS. It’s recommended to refer to the documentation or support resources specific to your platform for detailed instructions.
Monitor and Maintain
Regularly monitoring the functionality of domain aliases is essential to ensure they continue to redirect correctly. Here’s a guide on how to monitor and update the aliases or DNS settings as needed:
- Schedule periodic checks to test the functionality of domain aliases
- Visit each alias using a web browser and verify the correct redirection
- Monitor website analytics for any unusual behavior related to the aliases
- Review and verify DNS settings periodically in the domain registrar account
- Update DNS settings or alias configurations if issues arise or changes are needed
- Allow time for DNS propagation after making changes
- Keep a record of changes and document modifications
- Stay informed about updates or communications from the domain registrar or hosting provider
Regular monitoring and proactive updates will help ensure that your domain aliases continue to redirect correctly. By staying vigilant, you can promptly address any issues that arise and maintain a smooth user experience for visitors accessing your aliases.
Domain aliases offer significant benefits in maximizing website efficiency and flexibility. By creating additional domain names that redirect to the main website, businesses can enhance their online presence, target specific audiences, and streamline marketing efforts.
Domain aliases enable businesses to create separate websites for different products or services, facilitating focused promotion and organization.
By leveraging the power of domain aliases, businesses can unlock new possibilities and effectively engage with their target audience in the ever-evolving digital landscape.