Multiple domain hosting query


I have a couple of queries about the multiple domain hosting facility. I have tried reading the most recent posts with similar queries (Clarification requested: “unlimited domains”???, Addon Domains), but I still have a few questions.

  1. Is there one ‘public_html’ directory, and all the secondary domains reside in a subdirectory under that? Or does each domain hosted get their own ‘public_html’ directory.

  2. Are the directories the sites for your domains are stored in fixed based on the domain name, or is it flexible at the time you add a domain.

  3. How does log processing for the different domains work? Are there preinstalled programs to (eg Webalizer), do you install your own, or a combination of these?

  4. Is there a ‘primary’ domain associated with your site? ie one that everything else depends on existing?

  5. Can you have multiple domains that display the same content, ie point at the same directory?

I have manage a number of CPanel accounts that have ‘addon’ and ‘parked’ domains that operate as sub-domains of a primary domain. I’m interested to know how DreamHost’s ‘unlimited domains’ works in comparison to this.

I’m sure there was something else I was going to ask, but can’t think of it at the moement :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance for answers.

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No. Each domain gets it’s own directory under your the user’s directory of the user the domain runs under.

It’s flexible. You can name that directory “public_html” if you want, or something else (DreamHost by default suggests naming them “yourdomain.tld”).

Your raw logs are avialable, and DreamHost provides a “pre-installed” instance of Analog for basic statistics. You can, however, install other statistical reporting software if you wish.

I’m not sure what you mean by this; each “site” is associated with a domain - there is no concept of “primary” - every “domain” is its own entity, and one is no different than any other.

You can mirror domains.

Again, I don’t understand your question. DreamHost’s custom Control Panel is very different (and in my opinion much better) than CPanel, and it works entirely differently.

Unlimited domains “works” just as the name implies - you can host an unlimited number of domains on a single DreamHost account/hosting plan - the “control panel” doesn’t have any bearing on that, other than to give you a mechanism for creating them (setting up the domain in the DH DNS system and associating an apache instance with it)



I’ll take a stab at the last point. My memory of cPanel is a bit hazy, but I believe that in cPanel, subdomains are strongly tied to domains in the server’s directory structure.

At DreamHost, subdomains are the exact same thing as a domain, as far a directory location. Every time you create a domain, or subdomain, it appears as a directory right in your user’s home directory. My home directory might contain:

My other user may have:
Mail (the parent domain of

Not only do you get unlimited domains, but you get unlimited users to whom you can assign a domain. The only hangup here is that there is only one master owner of a website (domain). You can’t have multiple users FTPing into a domain to maintain it, but there are some workarounds to this.



Two of my hosts use cPanel for backend procedures so I’ll have a quick stab from a “cPanel perspective”.

Each domain gets it’s own folder. Additionally it can have it’s own user if you like.

The best way to describe this is to imagine your current Cpanel setup. You have “one account” and “one user”. That one account has access to all the folders under that account. At Dreamhost you can set yourself up to mimic that exact behaviour, or you can take some - or all - of those domains, subdomains, and addons and create them under their very own user account, keeping them entirely separate from what you’d term your “main account”. In cPanel terms, they would actually be “separate accounts”.

They can be named anything you like. Each entity has it’s own folder.

You can install your own if you like.

No, unlike the common “cPanel account” which uses one domain as “the account”, your account here is unrelated to any particular domain. You can add, change or remove any domain you wish to and all others will remain functional.

Yes, using Domain Mirroring.

They can function much like you would consider a “main domain” under cPanel. You can have them hosting their own content, have them mirror another sub/domain, have them redirect to different sub/domains, etc. Everything possible in a Network environment is available to each and every entity.

The Dreamhost environment is “more UNIX” than a cPanel host. It is an excellent system imho, especially where security is concerned.

If at any stage you run into problems this forum has a half-dozen regulars who are willing (and very able) to solve just about anything you care to throw at them. They’re a very switched-on group of webmasters.

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My “other” host runs cPanel, so I thought I’d explain what it’s like so others here can see where the OP’s ideas are coming from.

Let’s say you sign up for a cPanel host for the domain examplesite.tld. The home directory on my cPanel host would be /home/examples/. That’s the first 8 characters of the domain name. These first 8 characters of your initial domain name also doubles as your username.

The web root for examplesite.tld on the cPanel host would be: /home/examples/public_html/If you added hosting for another domain, say anothersite.tld, the web root for that on the cPanel host would be:

/home/examples/public_html/anothersite/If you added hosting for a subdomain, say subdomain.examplesite.tld, the web root for that on the cPanel host would be:

In contrast to the above, which is my understanding of how my cPanel account works, the following are the web directories here at Dreamhost:

/home/username/examplessite.tld/ /home/username/anothersite.tld/ /home/username/subdomain.examplesite.tld/So there’s nothing special with the first domain you host vs the subsequent ones.

My example here has used the case where you’ve chosen to use the same unix username for each of your domains and subdomains. As other responsders in this thread have mentioned, you don’t need to do this. You could just as easily have had your three sites use three different users or have two under one and one on its own, etc.

Have you thought of that additional question?

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Thank you rlparker, sdayman, sXi, and Lensman for your answers. I have a better understanding of how adding domains works at DreamHost. But I now have a few more questions now :slight_smile:

  1. You can have multiple extra users to your account. Can you allocate multiple domains to one user, or is it one domain per user?

  2. Can you move domains between users without having to re-upload the site?

  3. I think that sdayman indicated this, but just to clarify, you can only have one user per domain?

  4. Do individual users get control of all aspects of a domain they have allocated to them, eg mail boxes, mail aliases, subdomains…, or can you limit this?

  5. Can you do sub-domains that only have MX records, ie they don’t resolve to web requests but can receive email?

  6. How much slower is PHP via cgi than php via apache_mod ?

  7. Is there a demo of the DreamHost control panel that I can have a look at?

I hope that is not too many questions (that I should have gone and found answers to elsewhere) :slight_smile:

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You may allocate as many domains to any of your unlimited users as you wish

Yes. A through working knowledge of the intricacies of Unix style permissions is helpful.

Yes, though you can manipulate that to some degree using re-directing of subdirs, and unix groups if you have the expertise.

You can decide what, if any, degree of control to allow any user.

I do not know.

Sometimes PHP-CGI can actually be faster … the correct answer to that question depends entirely on how your sites are coded. :wink:

No, though there are screenshots of parts of the panel scattered throughout the DreamHost wiki (which also has the answers to almost all of these questions, and many more!) :slight_smile:



Each user can have multiple domains. This kinda follows from the fact that you can have all your domains under one user, but it does bear clarification. :slight_smile:

Yes, it can be ever-so-slightly tricky, but it’s not that hard.

The base web directory for a domain has to sit under one user. You can link directories from different users together under one web directory, but it’s not straightforward to have multiple users all editing the same directory.

There’s a difference between panel users and unix filesystem users. All the things you mention here are panel functions and are thus can be controlled by additional panel users that you set up who can have control over different domains or over particular functions like creating domains and such. You control what each panel user has access to.


I’ll have to leave this question to someone more qualified. :slight_smile: It’s a little unclear to me how you’d get secure script execution in a shared hosting environment with mod_php, though?

Not that I know of, but maybe someone else has a screenshot available? If all else fails, you can try asking pre-sales support via the following url:

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They’re Dreamhost coupons!


I could setup a user with (limited) Panel access if you’d like. PM me.

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