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We've got a web application product whose home page is at, for example, abcd.com

One of our clients is running the web application on a sub domain. E.g. customer.abcd.com

Both domains are currently hosted with Arvixe and Name Servers have been set for both sites.

I wish to move our primary site abcd.com to another hosting service. If I change the name servers on abcd.com, does it also affect name servers for customer.abcd.com ?

I need to know this for sure as I don't want to break our customers application.

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simply you can set "A" record at your domain's DNS hosting provider. Assuming the primary domain name uses name servers that point to the cPanel server, you can modify the "A" record for the subdomain in it's DNS Zone via the "Simple DNS Zone" option.

this article may be useful for you : http://css-tricks.com/put-a-subdomain-on-a-different-server/

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It depends. If you just added an A record for that domain, then yes, you would change the nameservers for that domain too.

But some registrars only allow you to register a subdomain as a new domain. Then no, you wouldn't change the nameservers for that domain.

It's safe to say that not many registrars require the last answer though.

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