In the process of researching web hosting options, I learned what it actually means when they say multi-domain hosting, i.e. almost every time these are add-on domains in a cPanel account.
However, it seems add-on domains are actually creating a terrible file structure, as each add-on domain automatically creates a subdomain of the "primary" site. This means the add-on domain will simply point to a subfolder of your "primary" domain. For example...
Your main domain is domain1.com
Your add-on domain is domain2.com
Adding domain2.com in cPanel means...
There are now at least 3 ways you can access your add-on domain:
Then each one with or without www (http://... or http://www.)
Without doing anything, chances are that eventually all three (or 6) versions of your domain2.com will be indexed by Google, resulting in duplicate content issues and link leakage (for SEO).
You may think if none of your visitors know any of your folder or subdirectory structure, and you do not actually advertise or otherwise publish those links, then what is the problem?
However, you can never be certain enough that a link is not slipping through (what's worse...if you competitor knew what domain your add-on domain is connected to, they could actually harm you by adding your links - as stated under 1. and 2. above- all over the web, so your "primary" domain might suffer page rank eventually --- using WHOIS tools makes guessing quite easy, especially if you have a dedicated IP as this lists all your sites in a list for everyone to see).
As far as I have learned (but not done myself yet), the only way to get around visitors not going through any of the "nasty" (inadvertently created) links, and to prevent Google from indexing your links is to use 301 redirects (adding some code to the .htaccess file for each add-on domain).
But although this can all be done, I just think why do they (i.e. the cPanel guys) just create something that just doesn't make any sense in the first place!!??
You can read a feature request for true multi-domain hosting on cPanel's forum - so it seems there are more people disliking this whole "add-on" thing: True Multi Domain Support (allow multiple SSL certificates and IPs per account) - cPanel Forums
This guy brings it to a point:
I know you can specify a document root outside of the public_html for new addon domains, however, the way cPanel handles addon domains internally is like a "hacked" subdomain solution.
As this "add-on" set up comes with more disadvantages...when it comes to SSL and dedicated IPs. Or think moving only ONE of multiple sites to a new host (i.e. this particular site attracts so much traffic now that it cannot remain in a shared hosting environment, so you want to move it elsewhere, to a VPS for instance). With cPanel, you can only move the whole lot, i.e. ALL your sites and files. There are ways I believe where you then delete on your new host what you don't need, or you do it all manually (not using cPanel) but the bottom line is this: WHY does multi-domain hosting need to be set up by pointing all further domains to a subfolder of the "primary" domain, in the first place..??
So an alternative would be to use a reseller hosting account, where you can set up unlimited cPanel accounts and just use one for each domain.
But do you really want to log into 30 or 40 or 100 websites individually?
So I was wondering what your take on this was, or if you were using a different web hosting control panel (not cPanel) altogether?
Does anybody know where WP (wordpress) files actually go in this scenario?
I know the structure is www.yourdomain.com/wp-content/ but that could be totally different "behind the scenes" on the server using cPanel...?