(question imported from https://superuser.com/q/204439/53847 )

Horrible title, but I couldn't think of a succinct way to summarize it to fit.

I have HostMonster for my web hosting. I have several domain names under the same account (using the same web space, IP address, etc...). Every HM account has one domain set up as the "main domain", and all other domains are "secondary".

The only way I have ever encountered this being an issue is in trying to use HTTPS - since (from my limited understanding) HTTPS encrypts headers, you can't route HTTPS requests to different virtual hosts on a server - only unencrypted requests, since it must look in the request to know where to route it.

When I registered for my account, I only had one domain name (A). I have since added domain names (B), (C), (D), etc... At one point I switched domain name (B) to be my "main" domain name - so I could use HTTPS with it. I have since sold domain name (B), and would like to make domain name (A) my "main" one again (as it was before), but HM support says, "no, once a domain name has been a 'main' domain name on an account once, we can't set it up to be a 'main' domain name again. You're welcome to use domains (C), or (D), though.". They tell me the only way to reuse domain (A) as a "main" domain would be to set up a new account and transfer over all my files.

I'm confused here. If I have domains (D), (E), and (F), they say I'm welcome to make one of them my new main domain name, just never (A) again, since I've already "used" it once. Calls to support only reveal that they can't let me do it because doing so would somehow "break" my account.

Can anyone think of any good reason why this should be so? The only thing I can think is that maybe they're using the domain names as keys in some database or something? But if that's the case, that's ridiculous - they need to reorganize their databases!

  • This sounds ridiculous to me, Hostmonster should give you a valid reason why they cannot do this.
    – mar10
    Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 12:45
  • They sound like they have a crappy setup. What ever you're saving using their service obviously isn't worth it with the hassles like this you're getting.
    – XOPJ
    Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 14:17

1 Answer 1


It sounds like HM is encountering a limitation in their hosting automation software. Add on domains are typically configured first as subdomains for the parent domain, and then aliased via CNAME and virtual host directives in the web server's configuration. So yes, you are correct, switching them around is entirely possible. This is also why 'add on' domains are usually a bad idea, and not just because they take a few extra lookups to resolve.

However, switching them around in a way that is agreeable with their control panel / automation software (this actually reminds me of an old C-Panel glitch) might not be possible for them, but that doesn't rule out other possibilities:

  1. They could copy your files to a safe place and re-make your account the way you want it
  2. They could pass this issue to their vendor for a solution
  3. They could migrate domains individually to separate hosting accounts

In other words, there is ample opportunity for them to not only correct this issue, but also sell an upgrade. It is perfectly acceptable for them to say "The best way to do this is upgrade you to an x-y-z account, where all of your domains have separate controls, this will eliminate the problem in the future"

I would attempt to reach some kind of supervisor on their end and see if you can get some sort of resolution.

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