What Is A Subdomain? Everything You Need To Know (2024)

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A subdomains is a type of domain that is part of another domain. You can think of it as a separate branch from your main website. For example, if you’ve ever read a WordPress blog, you might have noticed that the domain (or URL) is the name of the blog + “.” + worddpress.com (i.e., blogname.wordpress.com). In this case, wordpress.com is the domain, and blogname.wordpress.com is the subdomain.

Subdomains can be used for a number of reasons, from prototyping sites to using two different themes. In this article, we’ll discuss what a subdomain is, when to use a subdomain, how subdomains influence search engine optimization (SEO) and how to set one up through your domain registrar or web host.

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Subdomain Definition

A subdomain is an extension or add-on to your business domain name. Subdomains are used to organize different functional parts of the website.

Say you have a domain name yoursite.com. You can have subdomains such as blog.yoursite.com or store.yoursite.com so that your store and blog can be designed, organized and optimized independently from your main website. As you continue adding different functions to your domain website, you can use new subdomains to separate them from the main website.

The URLs of domain names and subdomains are treated as separate entities—which brings us to the question of how a subdomain appears in the domain URL.

Structure of a Subdomain

The subdomain is appended before your domain name to create a new URL. Once this URL is created, it can have pages of its own as with any website.

What Is A Subdomain? Everything You Need To Know (3)

Characteristics and Parameters of a Subdomain

Here are some important things to know about a subdomain:

  • A domain can have up to 500 subdomains
  • You can create multiple levels of subdomains such as store.product.yoursite.com, test.forum.yoursite.com, etc.
  • Each subdomain can be up to 255 characters long, but for multi level subdomains, each level can only be 63 characters long

When to Use a Subdomain

Subdomains are used to:

  • Streamline site hierarchy
  • Improve user navigation
  • Create a prototype or test version of a website
  • To use two different themes with different functions for one domain (e.g., a blog, forum, e-commerce store, etc….)
  • Create location- or language-specific sites
  • To create a mobile-specific site

How To Create a Subdomain

The process of setting up a subdomain will vary slightly depending on where your subdomain is registered. However, generally the process to create a subdomain will look something like the following:

Here’s how to set up a subdomain:

  • Navigate to your domain name registrar or web host (e.g., Bluehost or DreamHost)
  • Select domains from your account dashboard
  • Find and select subdomains
  • Create your new subdomain

For more information, visit your domain registrar or web hosting provider’s help center for detailed instructions on how to create a subdomain. Additionally, your provider should be able to assist further via support should you have any issues along the way.

Subdomain vs Subdirectory

There is some confusion around subdomains vs subdirectories, and rightfully so. The two are seemingly very similar, yet each has a different structure, site organization and impact on SEO. A subdirectory uses folders under the primary domain name to organize content on your website. A key difference is that subdomains are treated as separate websites and do not inherit any domain authority of the parent website. Its SEO has to be built from scratch.

Subdomains vs subdirectories at a glance:

  • Subdomain: blog.yoursite.com
  • Subdirectory: yoursite.com/blog

Both subdirectories and subdomains have their own advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately it’s your decision what your website needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can subdomains affect website SEO?

A subdomain is treated as a separate website, so it doesn’t affect the SEO of your main website. It does not inherit the domain authority, page authority or ranking of the parent website.

What is a wildcard subdomain?

A subdomain that has a wildcard character asterisk (*) as the name of the subdomain is a wildcard subdomain. Creating a wildcard subdomain points all non-existing subdomains to a specific folder in your account. Typically, wildcard domains are made to point to the home page.

To create a wildcard subdomain, put an asterisk (*) in the subdomain field and you are ready to go

When should I use a subdomain?

Subdomains are most commonly used when you need to stage or prototype a site, add new functions to an existing website (and need to use two different themes to do so), create location- or device-specific websites or to improve the hierarchy of the website content.

How do I buy a domain name?

A domain registrar service will let you quickly search for available domains. Once you’ve chosen one that you like, the service will walk you through the checkout process and offer guidance on how to connect your domain to your site.

What Is A Subdomain? Everything You Need To Know (2024)

FAQs

What Is A Subdomain? Everything You Need To Know? ›

A subdomain is a prefix added to a domain name to separate a section of your website. Site owners primarily use subdomains to manage extensive sections that require their own content hierarchy, such as online stores, blogs, job boards or support platforms. Subdomains function as a separate website from its domain.

What is the basics of subdomain? ›

Subdomains are often used on websites to send traffic to a different IP address while still keeping users on the same root domain. For example, Mailgun hosts our developer documentation on a separate service, so we use a documentation subdomain, documentation.mailgun.com.

What is a subdomain example? ›

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. Subdirectory example: mywebsite.com/mysubdirectory.

Why would you use a subdomain? ›

A subdomain name is a piece of additional information added to the beginning of a website's domain name. It allows websites to separate and organize content for a specific function — such as a blog or an online store — from the rest of your website.

What is the rule for subdomain name? ›

How to create a valid subdomain name? 👉 To be valid, your subdomain name must follow standard Domain rules. It can only contain lowercase letters, the 26 letters of the English alphabet, numbers (0-9) and hyphen/minus sign (-). It must start and end with a lettre or number, not a hyphen.

Does a subdomain need 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.

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 money? ›

On your domain, you can create multiple separate independent websites, often at no cost. If your website domain is example.com, you can set up different subdomains, such as blog.example.com and shop.example.com.

Do subdomains need their own hosting? ›

Because subdomains are regarded as separate websites by Google, they also need to be hosted on separate hosting plans.

What is the structure of a subdomain? ›

The structure of a subdomain is fairly flat at the top levels. You'll have your root directory, then all the subdomains underneath it in a horizontal row. All subdomains are on the same level. You won't have a subdomain within a subdomain like you would a subfolder within a subfolder.

What are the disadvantages of subdomains? ›

Disadvantages
  • Sub-domains can be treated as a separate site, therefore don't inherit the main domain's SEO benefits and require their own link building effort.
  • Can be more difficult to setup and more expensive.
  • There may be cross-domain tracking issues or complications when setting up web analytics.
Dec 6, 2010

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.

What is needed to create a subdomain? ›

A subdomain is a type of DNS record that adds a prefix to your domain, such as blog.mycoolnewbusiness.com. You can create a subdomain that uses an IP address by adding an A record to your DNS zone file. If you need a subdomain that connects to another domain name, you'll need to add a CNAME record instead.

How do subdomains work? ›

Subdomains create a separate identity, and provide an opportunity to create a unique website within a website. For example, Google Docs and Google Ads are unique products. A subdomain lets Google use a different design and content structure to create a clear distinction between them (and other products).

What is a valid subdomain example? ›

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 the best practice for naming subdomains? ›

Real Words: Specific, Connected to Purpose

Your site's address should be recognizable, consisting of a known keyword, official name, function or service. Honor your group's official name, but omit words like “program,” “department,” etc., without risking recognizability.

What are the parts of a subdomain? ›

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.

How is a subdomain different from a domain? ›

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.

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