Can I host only a subdomain (not a full domain name) of a website?
If you host a full domain name such as “example.com” with us, you can use subdomains like “blog.example.com”, too. Our setting up subdomains page has information about that.
Occasionally we’re asked a slightly different question: whether we can host a website subdomain like “blog.example.com” without also hosting the full “www.example.com” website, or the email, or the overall DNS for example.com.
That’s possible, but it’s non-standard, and you need to be careful about how you set it up.
Most customers do not need the information on this page.
It’s only for customers doing something unusual by having us handle a small portion of their website, but having another organization host the rest of their site and their email.
On this page:
- Are you sure you need to do this?
- Still want to do this? Sign up for the hosting account...
- ... but don’t update your DNS nameservers
- Set up your content
- Point the subdomain at our servers
- Finishing up
- Does this work for email?
Are you sure you need to do this?
To avoid a common misunderstanding, we should mention that if you want us to handle everything related to your domain name (including email and DNS) except your www.example.com website, you can simply sign up with us as normal and then add a custom DNS entry pointing www.example.com at another server. That’s much more standard.
You only need the instructions below if you’re sure you want us to handle a subdomain such as “blog.example.com”, but you don’t want us to handle any part of your email, DNS, or www.example.com site.
Still want to do this? Sign up for the hosting account...
Even if you intend to have us handle only a subdomain of “example.com”, you still need to sign up for a hosting account for that domain name with us. Just sign up normally, entering the full domain name on our order form. Signing up with us will not modify anything about your domain name because we don’t control your DNS records.
The order form will give you the option of transferring the domain name registration to our company, too. Most customers who want to host only a subdomain will probably prefer to keep the domain name registered elsewhere (which is simpler), but it’s up to you.
... but don’t update your DNS nameservers
After you sign up, you’ll receive our standard automated message saying you can update your “DNS nameservers” to point all of example.com at our company. However, you should ignore that message, because that’s not what you want to do.
Instead, contact us and tell us that you intend to host only a subdomain with our company. Send us this text (but with your actual subdomain if it’s different than “blog.example.com” so we can verify that it’s set up correctly):
As described on your “Subdomain-Only Hosting” page, I want to point only the blog.example.com subdomain at Tiger Technologies, without pointing www.example.com or the rest of example.com. Please disable the reminders asking me to update the DNS nameservers.
We’ll adjust your account so you don’t receive any further reminders about updating the DNS.
Set up your content
Once you have a hosting account with us, set up your content as a subdomain of the domain name.
For example, if you want us to handle “blog.example.com”, you should set up your subdomain that way on our servers and test it using the temporary URL we send you (which would be “blog.example.com.customers.tigertech.net” in that case).
Point the subdomain at our servers
When you’re ready to make your subdomain “live”, edit your DNS entries to “point” your subdomain at our servers. The entry you create will look like this:
blog.example.com. IN CNAME example.com.customers.tigertech.net.
It is vitally important that you create a CNAME record, not an A record. You should not know or care what the IP address of the real domain name is on our servers. Using a CNAME ensures that it will keep working when an IP address changes on our end; if you use an A record instead, it will eventually stop working.
Always use a CNAME record.
Never enter the IP address of one of our web servers as an “A record” into another company’s DNS servers.
After you update your DNS entries and wait for the change to fully spread (or “propagate”) across the Internet, visitors to your subdomain will see the content on our servers.
If you want to use an SSL certificate for the subdomain, let us know and we can obtain one for you at this point (it’s not possible to get one until you update the DNS entries).
If you used WordPress for the subdomain, you’ll want to change the WordPress settings to remove the extra “.customers.tigertech.net” from your URLs. From the WordPress Dashboard:
- Click Settings
- Click General
- Change both the “WordPress address (URL)” and “Site address (URL)” to the correct subdomain URL, removing “.customers.tigertech.net” from the end.
That’s all it takes.
Does this work for email?
You can send outgoing email from a site on our servers that’s configured this way (although you can’t use it to receive incoming mail). The outgoing mail can use an address at the subdomain, like “firstname.lastname@example.org”, or an address at the top level, like “email@example.com”.
We sign your outgoing mail with DKIM in either case, but to ensure the mail is delivered reliably, you also need to add DKIM and SPF records to your DNS.
DKIM records should always added at the top level of the domain name (that is, at the “example.com” level, not the “blog.example.com” level):
1.tigertech._domainkey.example.com. CNAME 1.tigertech._domainkey.tigertech.net. 2.tigertech._domainkey.example.com. CNAME 2.tigertech._domainkey.tigertech.net.
SPF records, on the other hand, should be added at whichever level you’re sending mail from. So if you’re sending mail as “firstname.lastname@example.org”, you should add this extra text to your existing top-level SPF record:
If you’re sending mail from email@example.com, we already provide the necessary TXT SPF record that will be used because of the CNAME added above.
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