What Are Subdomains? Definition and Examples (2024)

What are subdomains?

That’s a great question and we’re going to explain it for you right now.

Subdomains are the part of a domain that comes before the main domain name and domain extension. They can help you organize your website. For example, docs.themeisle.com. In this URL, docs is the subdomain.

In this article, we’ll answer the question in more detail, explain what subdomains are used for and what their benefits are. We’ll, then tell you how to create your own subdomains before we wrap it up with some commonly asked questions.

Let’s dig in…

Confused by what a #subdomain is? 🔗 Here's your answer!

Subdomains explained in more detail 📝

To answer the question of “what are subdomains” in more detail, you should first know about the anatomy of a URL! Let us examine the URL of ThemeIsle.

https://themeisle.com/

This URL contains two parts:

  • A protocol (https:) is a set of guidelines that a browser follows to send a request to the server.
  • The domain, themeisle.com, or URL to the main website. A domain consists of two parts:
    • the TLD (top level domain) which is the .com part (or another domain extension), and
    • the SLD (second level domain), themeisle, the name that you buy from a domain registrar.

A subdomain contains a second name before the SLD. For instance, if the Themeisle blog was hosted on https://themeisle.com/blog, the blog would be the subdomain.

What is a subdomain used for? 🤔

A subdomain is commonly used to logically separate a website into sections. You can use a subdomain to launch a career site (careers.yoursite.com), a forum (forum.yoursite.com) or for customer support (support.yoursite.com). You may use subdomains to create blogs of different themes too. For instance, sbnation.com is a sports news blog. However, it uses blogs like weaintgotnohistory.sbnation.com and theshortfuse.sbnation.com for specific teams on different subdomains.

What Are Subdomains? Definition and Examples (1)

Some other uses of subdomains are:

  • Create different language versions of a website (en.yoursite.com).
  • Create a mobile version of a website (m.yoursite.com).
  • Set up a network of unrelated sites. For example, how you can sign up for a WordPress.com account and create your own blog on a subdomain (yourblog.wordpress.com).

You can get creative with subdomains. You may point a subdomain to a section or a single page in your website too.

For example, if you have a personal portfolio site, you could host your contact form at hireme.yourname.com.

What is a wildcard subdomain?

A wildcard is basically a “catch-all” subdomain. It lets you create tons of subdomains without having to manually set up each one.

For example, if you wanted to create a WordPress multisite network, you could use a wildcard subdomain so that each network site can get its own subdomain (like WordPress.com).

A wildcard subdomain is represented by an asterisk. For example, *.yoursite.com.

What are the benefits of subdomains? ✅

Subdomains offer several advantages that enhance website management, user experience, security, and marketing efforts. These include:

  • Clear content organization. Subdomains allow for a clear and structured organization of different types of content or services under a specific prefix, making it easier for both administrators and visitors to navigate and find relevant information.
  • Enhanced user experience. By utilizing subdomains, you can provide users with a more focused and streamlined experience, guiding them to specific areas or services without overwhelming them with unnecessary information.
  • Improved security. Subdomains can be set up with separate security configurations, user permissions, and access controls. This isolation helps protect the main domain from potential security vulnerabilities in subdomains.
  • Efficient tracking and analytics. Subdomains can be useful for tracking and analyzing specific sections of a website separately. This allows you to measure the performance of different parts of your online presence.
  • Targeted marketing efforts. Utilizing subdomains allows for targeted marketing campaigns or regional and language-specific content, which can enhance search engine optimization (SEO) and localized marketing efforts.
  • Brand and sub-brand management. If you use your website as part of your business, then you can use subdomains to create separate branding or microsites for different product lines, services, or subsidiaries, allowing for better brand management and differentiation.

Overall, subdomains are a versatile tool that serve various purposes and are commonly used across the internet to efficiently structure and manage websites.

How to create a subdomain 🏗️

👉 Before you can set up any subdomain, you have to have a main domain. If you don’t have that taken care of yet, here are our guides on choosing a domain name and how to register a domain name.

You can quickly buy a domain name from one of the many available domain hosting providers. We recommend Bluehost. Bluehost also offers website hosting at $2.75/mo. where you get free domain for a year.

Once you buy a domain, you also buy the rights for subdomains within it. Broadly, these are the steps that you must follow to create a subdomain:

  • Come up with the name of the subdomain, enter it as a record in your DNS settings.
  • Redirect to the server that hosts your subdomain.

When you are entering a record in your DNS settings, you would notice that www.yoursite.com points to yoursite.com. This essentially makes www a subdomain too!

Most hosts give you user-friendly tools to help you accomplish this.

While the actual usage may vary slightly based on your host or registrar, here are the how-to guides to creating subdomains for the most popular registrars and web hosts.

Note – you’ll create subdomains at the service that manages your domain’s DNS settings. Usually, this is your web host, but it can also be your domain registrar, depending on your configuration.

Frequently asked questions about subdomains 🙋

What is the difference between a domain name and a subdomain?

The main difference between a domain name and a subdomain lies in their hierarchical relationship and how they are structured within the Domain Name System (DNS). While a domain name is the main address used to identify a website, a subdomain is a subdivision of that domain, used for organizing content or services under a specific prefix.

Both domain names and subdomains are crucial components of the DNS infrastructure, enabling users to navigate the internet and access different resources.

What is an example of a subdomain?

An example of a subdomain is blog.yourwebsite.com. In this example yourwebsite is the main domain name and blog is the subdomain.

The subdomain blog is a prefix added to the main domain yourwebsite.com to create a hierarchical structure. This subdomain is used to host a blogging platform, separate from the main content hosted on yourwebsite.com. Visitors can access the blog content by entering blog.yourwebsite.com into their web browsers.

Does it cost money to create a subdomain?

Creating a subdomain itself does not usually cost money. In most cases, it’s a free feature provided by domain registrars and DNS hosting providers. If you already own a domain, you can typically create subdomains at no extra cost.

Put another way, while subdomains themselves are free, you need to spend money on other things (namely domain registration) in order to gain access to the ability to create them. Therefore, the overall cost of using a subdomain depends on factors like domain registration fees, DNS hosting, web hosting, SSL certificates, and any third-party services you integrate into the subdomain.

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Final thoughts on subdomains 💭

To recap, a subdomain is the portion of a URL that comes before the “main” domain name and the domain extension. For example, docs.themeisle.com.

Subdomains can help you divide your website into logical parts or create separate sites, for example a separate blog for each sports team.

Confused by what a #subdomain is? 🔗 Here's your answer!

If you want to dig into the topic of URL structure in greater detail, check out our full guide to the anatomy of a website URL.

Do you have any additional questions about subdomains? Let us know in the comments.

Yay! 🎉 You made it to the end of the article!

What Are Subdomains? Definition and Examples (2024)

FAQs

What is a subdomain with an example? ›

Subdomains are also commonly used to separate a section of a website from the main site. For example, blog.hubspot.com and shop.hubspot.com direct to our blog and online store respectively.

What are the different types of subdomains? ›

Subdomain Types. Not all subdomains are created equal. They can be categorized into three types: Generic, Core, and Supporting.

Which option is the best description of a subdomain? ›

A subdomain is a way to create a distinct web address that is part of a larger domain. It allows you to divide your website into separate sections, each with its own unique web address. This is done by using DNS records to specify what IP address or web address a subdomain should map to.

What is the difference between a subdomain and a second level domain? ›

A second-level domain is the label immediately to the left of the top-level domain, separated by a dot. A domain is a subdomain of another domain if it is contained within that domain. A subdomain is the label immediately to the left of a second-level domain.

Which one of the following is an example of a subdomain? ›

An example of a subdomain is store.yourwebsite.com . Here, 'store' is the subdomain, 'yourwebsite' is the primary domain, and '.com' is the top level domain (TLD).

What is an example of a valid subdomain? ›

Best Subdomain Example Names
  • www.yourdomain.com – Main URL.
  • www.yourdomain.com/blog – Blog URL.
  • www.yourdomain/lp – Landing page URL, will need to manually ad lp/ for each post.

What is the most used subdomain? ›

The most common subdomain is “www” or “world wide web.” The subdirectory points users to the main directory of a website—in other words, where your homepage and other core pages live. Other subdomains work to create distinct parts of a site. For example, Google's root domain is www.google.com.

How do I know if something is a subdomain? ›

It is important to note that a subdomain and a subdirectory are not the same. While a subdomain will appear before your TLD, a subdirectory link will include the subdirectory name after the original TLD. For example: Subdomain example: mysubdomain.mywebsite.com.

What is the best use of subdomains? ›

Typically, subdomains are used if there is content that is distinct from the rest of the site. For example, blog.examplesite.com and shop.examplesite.com are subdomains of www.examplesite.com.

Why use subdomains? ›

Subdomains are used for organizing your website's content and its numerous functions more efficiently. By separating your content and features with subdomains, you make it easier for your customers to navigate your website and find what they are looking for easily and quickly.

What is common name for subdomain? ›

If the certificate is issued for a subdomain, it should be the full subdomain. For instance, for the www and api subdomains of example.com , the common name will be www.example.com or api.example.com , and not example.com .

Do subdomains have to be registered? ›

It is not always necessary to register a new domain name if you already have one and you are interested to have a separate site apart from the main one. Rather than registering a new domain name, you can always create a subdomain using a domain you already own, for example blog.

What are considered subdomains? ›

A subdomain is, as the name would suggest, an additional section of your main domain name. You create subdomains to help organize and navigate to different sections of your main website. Within your main domain, you can have as many subdomains as necessary to get to all of the different pages of your website.

Do I own a subdomain if I own a domain? ›

Yes. When you purchase the root domain, you can set up any subdomain you want on that root domain. Before you use Google Search Console (used to be Google Webmaster Tool), you should set up your site so that all traffic going to the root domain gets redirected to the www version.

Can a subdomain be a separate website? ›

Your subdomain site will essentially be its own entirely separate site, so you can set up navigation and themes however you want without affecting the site under the www domain.

What is the difference between a domain and a subdomain? ›

Regular domains are your standard URLs like splashthat.com or splashthat. events. Subdomains are a unique URL that lives on your purchased domain as an extension in front of your regular domain like support.splashthat.com or blockparty.splashthat.com.

What are good subdomain names? ›

Best Subdomain Example Names
  • blog. [domain].com.
  • news. [domain].com.
  • landing. [domain].com.
  • articles. [domain].com.
  • resources. [domain].com.
  • insights. [domain].com.

Do subdomains cost extra? ›

Typically, subdomains are free through your web hosting provider. Domain registrars like GoDaddy and IONOS enable users to create subdomains at no additional cost. Some providers offer a free domain name in addition to free subdomains.

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