How To Point A Subdomain To A Different Server (And Why)


how to point subdomain different server

One thing that bloggers should have is a subdomain as part of their SEO strategy. It allows you to organize your website in a manner that is easier to read, both by your consumers and your SEO.

But how do you point it to a different server and host? And more importantly, why?

These are the two things that I want to cover today. I will not be going through the motions of creating a subdomain as I have a foolish assumption that you already have one.

Why put a subdomain on a different server?

There are a few reasons to put a subdomain to a different server, and I will provide these reasons in this section. But, in the end, I am confident that you will start thinking about it and make your move to get the ball rolling.

1. Security

One thing you want to avoid in the online world is getting hacked. Websites are vulnerable, and if your entire website is dependent on just one host, a single successful attack on the host’s servers can be devastating for you.

If your subdomains are spread out to different servers, a successful hack will damage only the part of your site on the attacked host, not all of them.

2. Reliability

Once your blog has grown, you will have thousands of visitors per day. By this time, I would assume that you have already broken your website into several sections or categories. It is also likely that you have already created tons of content.

Because of this, you are putting many loads on your server, especially if you are using only one. When there are thousands of people accessing the same server, it can crash or get really slow.

Let us make use of an example. Let us say that I have a big blog about e-commerce. And let us say that I broke it down into several categories like the following:

  • Marketing
  • Online course
  • Getting Started
  • Blog

If my domain name is ECOMMERCEGURU.COM, I would naturally have the following subdomains:

  • Marketing.ECOMMERCEGURU.COM
  • Online course.ECOMMERCEGURU.COM
  • Getting Started.ECOMMERCEGURU.COM
  • Blog.ECOMMERCEGURU.COM

If I host the content of each subdomain on different servers, I will not have a problem with the speed and bandwidth of my website.

I can have thousands of people at Blog.ECOMMERCEGURU.COM and thousands at Online course.ECOMMERCEGURU.COM at any given time, but this will not affect the performance for each.

Why?

Because the content of each subdomain is hosted in different hosts. As such, the 2000 people who are at my website are not using the same resources. Instead, half is using the resources of the first host, and then the other half is using the other.

Because of this, my website is not likely to crash. Instead, the operations will go smoothly, and my consumers or site visitors will also be happy.

And more importantly, search engines, especially Google, will be happy. If the machines “see” that my website is fast and functional regardless of the traffic I get, they are more likely to show my content to users.  

3. Functionality

Another reason why you have to consider pointing a subdomain to another site is functionality. A good example of this is Grammarly.

Grammarly is a company that offers free and paid software that checks your grammar and writing style. The main domain is Grammarly.com.

By the time you register and use the service, you will be transported to a subdomain called APP.GRAMMARLY.COM.

As you can see, the company is now using a subdomain for the grammar application itself. Although I cannot verify if the subdomain is hosted by another company or server, it gives us a better picture of why you have to point a subdomain to another server—separating a functional page.

In my example, it is possible that the subdomain for the application and all its functions are hosted somewhere else.

This way, those who are registered and logged in are being served by a different host, and those who are just checking out what Grammarly could offer are also served by a different host.

The same principle applies to many kinds of websites. For example, if you look at Shopify, its main domain is SHOPIFY.COM. However, it has a subdomain for its help center where you could find manuals and training materials.

This subdomain is https://help.shopify.com/.

This means that people looking for help will go to the subdomain, but those who are merely investigating if Shopify is a good platform will be in the main domain.

4. Redesign

The last reason why you want to point your subdomain to another host is that you are redesigning your website.

Let us say that you want a general overhaul. In this case, you can re-upload your content temporarily to another host—just a few selected ones—and then use a temporary subdomain like UNDERCONSTRUCTION.YOURDOMAIN.COM.

When people go to your domain, they will be redirected to your subdomain. The content of this page may be a simple web page telling consumers that your site is going through repair or something.  

Once the website overhaul is over, you can now disable your subdomain and point everybody to your original server.

As you can see, pointing a subdomain to a different server is a win-win situation for you. The only thing that will prevent you from doing this is the cost. Of course, you will have to pay a new subscription to the other web hosting service provider.



How to point a subdomain to another server

Now, let me walk you through the step-by-step process of getting this done. Here is the particular example I want to talk about:

  • Your domain name registrar is GoDaddy
  • Your website is hosted by Bluehost
  • You want a subdomain to point to Hostgator

To make this happen, there are two main steps that you need to do:

  1. Add an A RECORD to the DNS of your subdomain
  2. Set up a subdomain to another server

So, the first thing you have to do is to get your IP server address. This is your DNS. DNS is a system that interprets your domain name. What it does is that it points the domain into the IP address of the host that is hosting the content. So, to point your subdomain, you have to point your A RECORDS to the new IP server.

In our example, your registrar is GODADDY. However, your content is in Bluehost. So, what you want to do first is to manage the DNS of your GODADDY account.

Before you can start all these, I want to give an example.

  • Your domain – ABC.COM
  • The subdomain you want – BLOG.ABC.COM

Once you have both of these, you need to get the server IP address from Hostgator. This is the new host where we will be pointing to. To find out about this, you have to contact your web host (Hostgator, not Bluehost).

In GODADDY, look for a domain that you want to add a subdomain to.

  • Click on the Domain Settings > Additional Settings > Manage DNS
  • Below the RECORDS section, click on the ADD link
  • Next, choose A from the TYPE drop-down menu, then complete the following:
    • Host – this is the name of your subdomain. In our case, we are adding something called BLOG.ABC.COM
    • POINTS TO – this is the IP address of the server that is hosting your new page. In our case, we want our users to go to our page that is hosted y Hostgator. As such, you want this IP Address for your site that is hosted by Hostgator.
    • TTL – this is the length of time that the server will cache your site’s information. Typically, we set this to 1 hour as a default.

The last step is to save this and wait for 48 hours to allow the DNS change to take effect.

So, how does it all work?

The way it works is like this:

  • You have content on Hostgator
  • Your subdomain, BLOG.ABC.COM, is at GODADDY
  • When people type BLOG.ABC.COM in their browser, they are communicating with GODADDY
  • Since GODADDY knows that the content or BLOG.ABC.COM is at Hostgator, GODADDY will pint the browser to Hostgator
  • It is Hostgator that will show your content to the user for BLOG.ABC.COM

If the user decides to go back to ABC.COM, he will be taken out of Hostgator. He will now be served by Bluehost because your server for ABC.COM, the main domain, is Bluehost.  

A Good Example of Subdomain Pointing to Another Server 

What I want to do in this section is to give you another theoretical scenario of why you would want to point a subdomain to another host.

Let us say that you have your main domain, DENTALEXPERT.COM, at GoDaddy. Now, what you wanted to build was a sales funnel where you could convince the consumer to schedule a visit with you.

Since a sales funnel is a specialized website, you decided to use something called ClickFunnels—the world’s biggest sales funnel builder.

So, after you built your funnel, you now have a landing page, a sales page, and a checkout page. The next thing that you do is to get traffic to it.

However, you have a problem. Getting traffic from ads is expensive. What you want to do now is to create a blog, but the ClickFunnels system does not allow you to do that. It has no blogging mechanism.

This is where a subdomain on another host makes perfect sense. What you have to do first is to choose a web host like Bluehost. After you register for an account, you install WordPress in it.

Now, you cannot point your DENTALEXPERT.COM to this website on Bluehost. If you do that, then your ClickFunnels sales funnel won’t be of any use to you at all.

What you want is to create a subdomain in GODADDY, and you will call it BLOG.DENTALEXPERT.COM.

The actual blog content is in your Bluehost account. Since it has WordPress, you can even make a full-blown website with it.

What you will do now is to point your subdomain to your Bluehost WordPress server. Then, if a customer goes to the BLOG.DENTALEXPERT.COM URL, it is Bluehost showing them the blog’s content. You could still use links on your WordPress site to show your ClickFunnels page.

To do this, you have to set your DENTALEXPERT.COM URL as your home page URL. If a site visitor clicks this link, he will be redirected to your ClickFunnels sales page.

As you can see, these have the merits that I mentioned earlier. For one, it prevents clogging. Second, the people you want on your ClickFunnels server are the ones who are about ready to buy your service or schedule a booking or consultation with you.

On the other hand, the ones you want on your blog may or may not book a consultation with you, but people who need your support as a dentist. Your blog will be full of materials that people can learn from, and you are essentially using it as a gateway to building your credibility.

Your blog is also where you will get free traffic and leads. For example, you can use it to get email leads by providing free stuff, or you can eventually make the reader visit your landing page, which is hosted in ClickFunnels.  

Summary

The domain name of your website is the basic ecosystem of your entire business. As your blog grows, you will realize that you now have many moving parts—parts that you want to protect to ensure that you keep your site safe and accessible.  

Pointing a subdomain to another host is a reliable method of reducing bandwidth and load to your current host. It is a wise move, and there is nothing for you here but benefit after benefit.

If you want a reliable and professionally done blog, you have to negate the cost of having a new host but focus on the merits of pointing a subdomain to a new host. 



John Kilmerstone

I'm an Aussie living in Japan who enjoys traveling, photography, and blogging. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of blogging. Discover how to turn your passions and pastimes into an online business.

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