An alias is a domain that shows the content of another domain. If you own multiple domains, such as example.net and example.com, and you want both domains to display the exact same content then you can achieve that by creating an alias.

cPanel’s Aliases interface has two sections:

  • At the top of the page you can create an alias.
  • At the bottom of the page you can see (and remove) existing aliases.

Creating a new alias

To illustrate how to create and manage aliases we will assume that we got a cPanel account for the domain example.net. We also own the domain example.com, which we want to be an alias of the main website. To create the alias, we simply enter the domain and hit the Add Domain button.

Creating the alias 'example.com'.
Image: creating the alias ‘example.com’.


Note: An alias will only work if the A record for the alias points to the IP address of the server that is hosting the main domain. In other words, the DNS for the parked domain needs to be set up correctly.


Manage aliases

Once you have created an alias it will show under the – slightly misleading – header Remove Aliases. The reason that the header isn’t quite accurate is that you can do more than just deleting aliases:

  • Clicking the domain root name opens the directory shown in cPanel’s file manager.
  • The Remove link deletes the alias.
  • The Manage Redirection link lets you set up a redirect.

Managing existing aliases in cPanel.
Image: the ‘Remove Aliases’ section.

Redirecting an alias

The redirection option is particularly useful. So far, we created the alias example.com. When people visit the domain they now see the content of our example.net website.

A screenshot of the website example.net, viewed via the domain example.com.
Image: the alias ‘example.com’ is showing the content of ‘example.net’.

So far, so good: the domain example.com is showing the example.net website. But… in the bottom-left corner of the window we see that clicking the Contact link will take us to example.net/contact rather than example.com/contact. The reason for that is that the link is an absolute URL. In other words, an alias will not magically convert internal links on a website.


Note: If the URL had been a relative URL that simply pointed to /contact/ (without specifying the domain) then the link would take us to example.com/contact/ instead. This is one of many reasons why it is best to always use relative links to link to pages on your website.


In short, aliases are useful but they can be a little confusing. Also, if you care about search engine rankings then having more than one domain showing the exact same content is not recommended. Although nobody really knows how the likes of Google rank websites it may be that you get penalised for having more than one domain with the exact same content.

If any of the above is a concern then it makes sense to add a redirect for the alias. A redirect would tell browsers that the domain example.com lives at example.net. In other words, people will still see the content of example.net, but this time the URL shown in the browser’s address bar will also be example.net.

You can create the redirect by clicking on the Manage Redirection link. This will take you to the Alias Redirection page, where you can enter the destination domain.

Redirecting the alias 'example.com' to 'example.net'.
Image: creating a redirect for an alias in cPanel.

A word of caution about cPanel redirects

The redirect is created by adding a rewrite rule to the .htaccess file. You can view the file via cPanel’s file manager (make sure that Show Hidden Files is ticked in the settings). The rule that was created for our alias looks like this:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.com$ [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.example\.com$
RewriteRule ^/?$ "http\:\/\/example\.net" [R=301,L]

It is wonderful that cPanel can add (and remove) complicated rules like this to the .htaccess file. However, there is a small risk that the new rule will break things. Always check your website after adding or removing a redirect, and submit a ticket if you notice any mysterious redirection issues.

Temporary URL alias

There is another use of aliases: you can use an alias to view a website on a specific server, even if the DNS for the domain is pointing to another server.

Let’s say that you are moving the website example.net from another company to us. The new hosting package is on our Strawberry server but the DNS is still pointing to the old provider. If you want to be able to work on the new website without pointing the DNS to the new server then you can do so via an alias.

If you would like us to set up a temporary URL, please send us an email.