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Do we of course need a host for domain.com? Unfortunately currently the host for domain.com is down, so sub.domain.com cannot be redirected to where it should.

Is there a way to at least activate the sub.domain.com using DirectI control panel that I have?

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As the issue would be with the server dns or server overload, any subdomain used would still have the same issue. The only way would be to have a ghosted or mirror image of the site to show. You would have sub.domain.com being on a different server using a different set of NS values. Also, you may want to have some sort of caching system in place that could essentially server up the data until such issue is resolved. I've see systems like Cloudflare server up cached data while the system is down.

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