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Put a Subdomain on a Different Server

Published by Chris Coyier

Over at Are My Sites Up we have a blog to keep users updated with new features, current issues and stuff like that. If, god forbid, the site were to go down, that blog wouldn't do us a heck of a lot of good in keeping people up to date if it was on the same server.

The solution is to simply keep the blog on a different server. But I didn't want to have the blog feel like some foreign location. So what I did was set up a subdomain of, and point that domain at a different server. I had never done something like this before, so I thought I'd share how it was done.

It's pretty straightforward really, you just need to a new A record for the domain at your domain registrant. I am using GoDaddy, so this is how it worked for me:

  1. Log into account
  2. Open the Domain Manager
  3. Click the domain you are working with
  4. Click "Total DNS Control and MX Records"
  5. The first group in this area should be A (Host), on the top right of this bar, click Add New A Record
  6. Enter the host name, in my case it was ""
  7. Enter the IP address of the server you wish to point at.

Then I just set up the new subdomain at the other host (Media Temple, in this case) and that's it!


  1. Nouman Saleem
    Permalink to comment#

    Nicely done, and good thinking :)

  2. This is pretty interesting. I always figured you could only add these types of records through the hosting server and not the registrar (where ever your nameservers are hosted at). Cool tip. Thanks!

  3. Tommy Day
    Permalink to comment#

    Sweet tutorial, Chris.

  4. Permalink to comment#

    I just had to do this for the first time two days ago actually. The only thing is, you have to use the default nameservers provided by GoDaddy for them to give you Total DNS Control. I wish I had known that before setting out to do this. It would have saved me quite some time.

    • This is true, if you change the nameservers you can’t do it from GoDaddy, you’ll have to do it wherever you pointed the nameservers at. I find it’s easiest to leave the control at GoDaddy.

      This also comes into play for something like setting up MX records for use on Google Apps or something like that. If you have the nameservers changed, you’ll have to do that with your hosts, and some hosts don’t give you that control (you’ll have to ask them to do it, like with Joyent).

    • Yep, learned how to get Google Apps MX and custom service addresses working by trial and error, since I’m such a newbie at server stuff. But this article is so timely for me because I’m going to be designing and launching a blog at my work, and it will have to be on a separate server. I’m glad it’s so straight forward though, should be a cinch. Thanks for the useful info!

    • If you leave the default nameservers how do you get the main domain to point to your main server (where the main site is hosted)? An additional A record ( > nameserver or ipaddress)?

  5. VASU
    Permalink to comment#


    Since the blog is running on a different machine ( I.P ), how did you get to have the same look and feel ( page styles, graphics etc ) ? Did you use some kind of remote includes ( like you do in PHP ) ?


  6. I remotely load the stylesheet from one location, but otherwise I just copied the look for the WordPress theme.

  7. Great point Chris!

    I really should do something with the Blog over at my web company, Erixx.
    You really should sign in tommorrow just after 6 to check out our all-new deisgn! It is truly awesome and runs 100% of wordpress!

    Thanks for another awsome post Chris.

  8. FYI…

    You shouldn’t need to create the DNS zone on the hosting side. If you follow your logic for using GoDaddy for all your domain registrations (keeping it all in one place), why not do the same for the DNS?

    Leave it all in GoDaddy and be done with it. Your hosting account should be fine without having to manage the DNS for the subdomain. I’d be very surprised if the hosting service required the DNS to be managed on your server.

    Love the site, even though you scooped me on the Magento write up. I’ve got some stuff sitting in draft mode that I haven’t had time to publish, as my Pittsburgh Steelers Fan Gear eCommerce site has been going bonkers since last Sunday.

  9. Great idea actually, never thought about that kind of problems, was busy thinking about simply backuping data. Thanks for this!

  10. Jon
    Permalink to comment#

    Cool, thanks again Chris!

  11. Permalink to comment#

    perfect just what I needed, a great help in setting up an ecommerce site with a different subdomain for ssl

  12. Miryam
    Permalink to comment#

    thanks. you saved my day once again.

  13. Thanks, I tested it and it works, using NS it didn’t.

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