Will alias domains affect SEO for the domains?

I have followed the excellent instructions on how to provide access to websites prior nameservers are propagated given on: http://www.virtualmin.com/documentation/id,frequently_asked_questions/#how_do_i_make_domains_available_before_the_dns_changes_are_made_at_the_registrar

Another way, which I believe is the best option (saving the best for last!) and most closely matches what you’re currently used to without the security implications, is the Automatically create alias domain option (found in every Server Template, though to keep it simple you can just edit the Default template). Just select the radio button beside “Create under” and fill in the domain under which you’d like all of your customer domains to appear.

This option will cause Virtualmin to create a subdomain under your domain for every new domain you create–this will be immediately accessible with a name like “newdomain.mydomain.tld”. Easy to remember for the user (because it’s their domain name, plus the name of the company they’re hosting with), and it isn’t a path-based automatic thing, so non-virtual host home directories won’t be potentially exposed in any way, as with the Automatic virtual hosts method above (as used by Ensim, cPanel, and others, I reckon). If you need public access to sites, this is the method you really want. Note that this method also does not break SuExec, as the automatic hosts option does, so CGI scripts (and PHP once we get FastCGI+SuExec working) will run as the user that owns the domain…this is safer.

Now I can create virtual servers, which can be accessed via ‘subdomain.maindomain.tld’ untill their domains are propagated. Now my concern is won’t search engines double scan this kind of sites on ‘subdomain.maindomain.tld’ and ‘subdomain.tld’ (after they are propagated and become accessible)? Won’t they punish ‘maindomain.tld’ and ‘subdomain.tld’ in terms of SEO points for this kind of setup?


Well, all that’s doing is adding an alias to a website, so that both domain.tld, and domain.maindomain.tld each point to the same website content.

A similar thing happens when someone has example.com and example.net both pointing to the same website.

I’m not an SEO expert, but I’d certainly hope that such a thing isn’t punished by search engines in any way… it has to be fairly common to have multiple domain names pointing to the same site.


Eric, thanks for the input. However, I would love to hear some SEO guys on this. Because AFAIK even with example.com and example.net they have to specifically set so that search engines don’t punish.

It is possible (‘duplicate content issue’), but not likely. Usually an alias is used to test/preview a website and that test link is typically not public/indexed/crawled.

If you just use to redirect users to another domain you should probably just use a 301 redirect or so?

No, no, in this case a subdomain is going to stay there unless you don’t delete it or specifically state before search engines that it is just an alias or use some kind of redirects. Please read above - it will not automatically be redirected - your website will be accessible on two FQDNs: subdomain.mainsite.tld and subdomain.tld. That is my concern. If any SEO expert would say: You are ok, because this and that, I would really be glad.

This question is independent of virtualmin. It would be probably better to ask this question in a dedicated SEO forum :slight_smile:

But (as said above) if you give subdomain.mainsite.tld only to the domain owner for testing/preview, there should be no problem. If you/owner submit to search engines, you should ask in a deficated SEO forum.


Well, I’d certainly love to know the answer to all that – and if that is indeed the case, whether there’s something Virtualmin could do when creating the aliases to prevent any penalty’s from the search engine.

However, if dodmain.mainsite.tld is there for testing only, and isn’t linked anywhere online – the search engine may not know to look there.

You also have the option to create a .htaccess file that only allows your IP address when accessing the domain using the alias – though doing that takes a lot more effort, and isn’t something users would be able to do on their own.


Found problem with this setup. Subdomain alias works fine with main shared IP, however if a virtual server created on a dedicated private IP and the alias created as a subdomain of main site, the it is not working, unfortunately. And this is not good, since I have to revert to ~ way.