This guide will tell you how to host a subdomain on a different hosting server than where the top-level domain is being hosted. In this case the different server uses cPanel.

There are a few reasons why you would want to do this. Just one such reason is, if you want to host a website on the subdomain of a top-level domain that already has a site hosted elsewhere. For example, your client owns a site called clientsite.com, which he hosts with his own hosting company, but you want to build him a website called microsite.clientsite.com, and host it with your own hosting company.

Overview

For this tutorial I will map a subdomain that is on one hosting company onto a subdomain that is on a different hosting company. We will use the example above of the client relationship to help make the process clearer.

Step 1. DNS

Go to the place where your client’s DNS records are controlled. This will be either the client’s hosting or registrar. Create a new CNAME record. You will need to provide three bits of information; Type, Name and Value.

Type

This should be set to CNAME.

Name

This will be the sub-domain where your microsite will be. Going back to our earlier client example, it would be microsite.clientsite.com. or microsite. Some DNS settings such as GoDaddy will only allow you to enter the subdomain ‘microsite’, while Cpanel DNS settings will require you to type the full subdomain, ‘microsite.clientsite.com.’. Please also note that some DNS manager interfaces require you to place a full stop at the end as per the example above.

Value

This should be set to the website address of the primary domain on your hosting account. So if your own hosting account was set-up for  www.sparkseo.net, you would simply enter the top-level domain here, ‘sparkseo.net’. Dont worry, the domain you enter here will not actually appear anywhere. In the next step we will make sure of that. The purpose of this is just to tell your clients hosting company that the subdomain will appear on your hosting company’s server, that’s the only reason we point it at the primary domain. If you prefer, you can point it at your servers IP address – its the same thing.

 

Step 2. Addon Domain

Now that you have done the DNS part, you need to wait for propagation. This can take up to 24 hours, but is usually ready in 3 hours. Until propagation is complete you won’t be able to see the impact of your changes.

Now you need to go to your own hosting account and log in.

First, you’ll need to create an Addon Domain.

In the New Domain Name field, add the name of the top-level domain. Based on our example, this would be our client’s primary domain, ‘clientsite.com’.

You can ignore the Subdomain field and Document Root field. These should auto-populate for you in cPanel. Then click the Add Domain Button

By doing the steps above, we basically informed your hosting that it will be managing your client’s domain.

Step 3. Subdomain

Now that you have an addon domain created you will be eligible to create a subdomain for it. This will be the sub domain that contains the website which will appear to be on the client’s subdomain, but will actually be hosted by us.

On the main cPanel page, navigate to subdomains.

For the Subdomain field, enter the subdomain that you want your website to appear on. Based on our example, since we want the site to appear on microsite.clientsite.com, we would just enter ‘microsite’ in this field.

For the Domain field, select the domain which you just added via the addon domains.

The document Root field is extremely important, so pay attention to this next bit. You need to change this to whichever folder contains the files of the website that you want appearing on your clients subdomain.

If you already have the website set-up on the subdomain of another site, then you need to choose the folder that contains the files for the subdomain.

If you want to park onto a WordPress Multisite subdomain, then you need to choose the folder that contains your entire WordPress Multisite installation.

Its important that you choose the correct folder. If you’re not sure of the folder name, you can just go back to the cPanel main screen and go to File Manager to check which folder contains your website.

Once you have chosen the correct folder, click Create.

That’s it. All done. Your client’s subdomain now points at a website you host.