Email Subdomain: What It Is & How to Use It

An email subdomain is an extra element attached as a prefix to your root domain, such as “example” in “ann@example.hostadvice.com.”

Email subdomains allow organizations to categorize their email systems for different departments, for different purposes (like marketing or support), or for different locations.

In this article, we’ll explore more specifically what an email subdomain is and how you can effectively use it to manage your emails.

Takeaways
  • A subdomain is a branch of your website domain, while an email subdomain is used for email addresses, enhancing organization and branding
  • When selecting domain and subdomain names, keep them relevant, short, and brand-consistent while adhering to legal and privacy considerations
  • Create and manage email lists to effectively target and engage specific audiences, improving email campaign results
  • Maintain a positive sender reputation to maximize deliverability and enhance communication with your audience

What Is an Email Subdomain?

An email subdomain is a part of the email address that represents specific subdivisions or departments within a larger organization. It’s like a branch of your primary email domain.

Email subdomains allow you to categorize and direct emails within your main domain.

For instance, with subdomain delegation, you can have addresses like “support.yourdomain.com” or “sales.yourdomain.com,” simplifying email management and communication within your organization.

How Many Subdomains Can an Email Domain Have?

An email domain can have unlimited subdomains (also called sub-hostnames).

You can create sub-hostnames to suit various purposes or departments within your organization, making it easier to route emails and maintain organization within your email system.

The number of subdomains you can have depends on your specific email hosting provider’s policies and configurations.

Why Should You Use a Subdomain to Send Emails?

Email domains, including your subdomain, are important as they contribute to your sender’s reputation. Since the domain signals the email’s origin, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) rely on it to monitor your email-sending behavior.

Consequently, your domain reputation directly impacts the likelihood of your emails being delivered.

ISPs don’t reveal their exact criteria for trustworthiness. This is where email subdomains become valuable.

Here’s why you should consider using separate subdomains within your email program:

  • To segment engagement levels: Subdomains allow you to categorize recipients based on their engagement levels. For example, you can use one subdomain for highly engaged subscribers and another for less active ones.
  • To investigate deliverability problems: Having separate subdomains can be a lifesaver when facing email deliverability issues. It enables you to isolate problems and troubleshoot them more effectively.
  • To protect sender reputation: Imagine a scenario where your root domain gets flagged for spam complaints or a sudden surge in email volume. If you use subdomains, these incidents are less likely to harm your overall sender reputation. You can contain the impact on the affected subdomain while preserving the email deliverability reputation of others.

When Should You Use a Subdomain for Email?

Using a subdomain for email can be a strategic part of your email marketing strategy when your emails serve different purposes or target distinct audiences.

Here are instances where leveraging subdomains makes sense.

To Send Transactional Emails

Transactional emails, like password resets, hold high engagement rates and are pivotal for user experience. It is crucial to ensure they consistently land in the inbox instead of the spam folder. Employing a dedicated subdomain for transactional emails is a wise strategy.

It maintains a positive email reputation and isolates potential issues with promotional emails, safeguarding essential communication and improving overall user experience. This practice underscores the importance of separating transactional and promotional email streams within your email infrastructure.

To Send Marketing Emails

Even if you diligently follow email marketing best practices, occasional spam complaints can occur, sending promotional emails to the intended recipient’s spam folder.

When recipients disapprove of your promotional content, and engagement dwindles, it can affect the sender’s reputation for all email types under the same domain or subdomain.

Separating marketing emails (promotional emails) onto a sub-hostname helps shield your other email communication from repercussions such as being misconstrued as spam.

For Outreach and PR

Your organization’s sales, outreach, or PR teams often send outreach emails from the root domain. To prevent the activities of one team from impacting the other, it’s advantageous to isolate marketing emails into a subdomain.

This way, each team can maintain its sender reputation without interference from the other’s email endeavors.

Email Domain and Email Subdomain Examples

Here are some examples and their related domains:

Transactional

  • Sub-hostname: transaction.yourcompany.com
  • Related Domain: yourcompany.com

Promotional

  • Sub-hostname: promo.yourcompany.com
  • Related Domain: yourcompany.com

Regional Team

  • Sub-hostname: europe.yourcompany.com
  • Related Domain: yourcompany.com

Sales and Outreach

  • Sub-hostname: sales.yourcompany.com
  • Related Domain: yourcompany.com

Customer Support

  • Sub-hostname: support.yourcompany.com
  • Related Domain: yourcompany.com

These examples illustrate how using a subdomain can help categorize and manage different types of email communication while maintaining a consistent main domain for your organization. Subdomains help streamline email operations and ensure effective email management.

How to Set Up Email Subdomains within a Root Domain

Setting up and using these sub-hostnames can be a valuable strategy for managing your email communication effectively. However, it’s essential to note that the procedures for implementing these names may vary depending on your email service provider.

In this section, we will guide you step-by-step through how to set up an email subdomain in popular platforms like GoDaddy, Gmail, and Office365.

Using Email Subdomain with GoDaddy

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up an email subdomain with GoDaddy based on standard procedures.

  1. Log in to Your GoDaddy Account

Begin by logging in to your GoDaddy account using your username and password.

  1. Access Your Hosting Control Panel

Navigate to your GoDaddy hosting control panel. The exact location and interface may vary depending on your hosting plan.

  1. Create a Subdomain

Look for an option to create a subdomain within your hosting control panel. This may be labeled as “Subdomains,” “Subdomain Management,” or something similar.

  1. Enter Subdomain Details

Provide the subdomain name you want to create (e.g., “mail” for “mail.example.com”). You may also need to choose the root domain under which the subdomain will be created (e.g., “example.com”).

  1. Configure DNS Records

Once the subdomain is created, configure the DNS records for your new subdomain. You must set up MX (Mail Exchanger) records to point to your email hosting provider’s servers. The specific MX record details will be provided by your email hosting service.

  1. Save Changes

Save your DNS record changes within the GoDaddy control panel.

  1. Wait for DNS Propagation

Remember that DNS changes may take some time to propagate across the internet. This process can vary but typically takes a few hours to a day.

  1. Configure Email Client

Finally, set up your email client (e.g., Outlook, Thunderbird) to use the newly created email subdomain for sending and receiving emails. Ensure you use the correct server settings provided by your email hosting provider.

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Using Email Subdomain with Gmail

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up an email subdomain in Gmail.

  • Sign in to your Google admin console by accessing the Google Workspace Admin page using your administrator credentials
  • Within the Domains section, choose “Add a domain”
  • Specify a subdomain name for easy domain verification. For example, if your primary domain is “tailspintoysco.com,” you can opt for “gws.tailspintoysco.com.”
  • Select “User alias domain” and click “ADD DOMAIN & START VERIFICATION”
  • Click “CONTINUE” and carefully follow the instructions to complete the domain ownership verification process. Be aware that domain verification may take a few minutes to as long as 48 hours to propagate fully.

Using Email Subdomain with Office365

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to set up an email subdomain with Office 365:

StepDescription
1. Log in to Office 365 Admin CenterSign in to your Office 365 Admin Center using your administrator credentials.
2. Access DomainsWithin the Admin Center, go to the “Setup” or “Domains” section. The location may vary depending on your Office 365 version.
3. Add a DomainSelect “Add a domain” or “Add domain” to start the setup process.
4. Enter Subdomain DetailsIn the setup wizard, provide the subdomain you want to use (e.g., “mail” for “mail.yourdomain.com”). Follow on-screen prompts to confirm your choice.
5. Verify Domain OwnershipOffice 365 will prompt you to verify domain ownership. Choose a verification method (e.g., DNS records, HTML file upload) and follow the provided instructions.
6. Configure DNS RecordsAfter verifying ownership, configure DNS records for your subdomain to point to Office 365 servers. Specific DNS records will be provided in the setup wizard.
7. Complete the SetupReturn to the Office 365 Admin Center once DNS records are configured correctly. Complete the domain setup process.
8. Create User AccountsCreate user accounts associated with the subdomain in Office 365. These accounts will have email addresses like “user@mail.yourdomain.com.”
9. Configure Email ClientsSet up email clients (e.g., Outlook) for users with their new subdomain email addresses, following Office 365’s configuration instructions.
10. Testing and ValidationTest subdomain email addresses to ensure they send and receive emails correctly. DNS changes may take some time to propagate across the internet.

Can You Get an Email Subdomain for Free?

Getting a custom email subdomain for free is generally not possible. While email service providers like Gmail and Outlook offer free email addresses with their domain names included (e.g., yourname@gmail.com), obtaining a custom email subdomain without any associated service fees is rare.

However, some web hosting providers include a custom email subdomain as part of their hosting packages, effectively providing it for free with their hosting services.

Best Practices for Choosing an Email Subdomain

Selecting the right email subdomain is crucial for effective communication and organization. Here, we’ll explore some recommended practices to help you make informed decisions and optimize your email setup.

Email Domain and Subdomain Names

Choosing appropriate names for email domains and subdomains is essential for effective communication and branding. Here are some things to consider:

  • Relevance: Ensure your domain name aligns with your organization or brand to enhance recognition.
  • Conciseness: Opt for short, memorable names to facilitate recall, avoiding complexity.
  • Character Choice: Stick to letters, numbers, and hyphens to prevent confusion, as special characters may not be supported.
  • Consistency: Maintain consistency between your root domain and subdomains for a clear hierarchy in email addresses.
  • Keyword Use: Incorporate relevant keywords in the names for added description and informativeness.
  • Privacy Caution: Be mindful of sensitive information in subdomains, which can appear in email headers.
  • Scalability: Choose a sub-hostname that allows scalability and organization as email needs evolve.
  • Branding: Leverage subdomains for branding, creating distinct addresses for different purposes or departments.
  • Legal Compliance: Ensure names comply with trademarks and legal regulations.
  • Testing: Prioritize testing to assess email address appearance and recipient perception before finalizing names.

How to Set Up and Use Email Subdomain List

Setting up and utilizing email lists within email subdomains can streamline communication and enhance email marketing efforts.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create and manage email lists effectively:

StepDescription
Subdomain PreparationEnsure your email subdomain is set up and functional, serving as the basis for creating email lists.
Choose an Email List Management ToolSelect an email list management tool or software that aligns with your organization’s needs, such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or HubSpot.
Create a New Email ListLog in to your chosen email list management tool and create a new email list or segment. Specify your email subdomain as the sender domain.
Import or Add SubscribersPopulate your new list by importing existing contacts or manually entering email addresses, ensuring they belong to the same subdomain.
Segment Your ListSegment your email list based on factors like subscriber interests, demographics, or engagement levels to tailor content to specific groups.
Customize Sender InformationConfigure sender information for your email list, including the subdomain and sender name, to ensure emails are sent from your chosen subdomain.
Compose and Send EmailsCreate and send emails to your segmented list, keeping content relevant to each group’s interests and needs.
Monitor and AnalyzeRegularly monitor email campaign performance, tracking metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates to refine strategies.
Maintain ComplianceAdhere to email marketing regulations and privacy laws, such as the CAN-SPAM Act or GDPR, to protect subscriber data and maintain compliance.
Improve EngagementContinuously optimize email content and strategies based on subscriber feedback and engagement data.
Keep Subdomain Reputation in MindEnsure email campaigns from your subdomain maintain a good sender reputation to maximize deliverability.

Final Word

Implementing email subdomains is a strategic move that can elevate your email communication and organization. The benefits are clear for branding, segmentation, or sender reputation management. Evaluate your specific needs, consider the best practices, and select the approach that aligns with your goals.

Email subdomains provide a versatile tool to optimize your email strategy and ensure effective communication with your audience.

Next Steps: What Now?

Learn More About Subdomains

Frequently Asked Questions

Does GoDaddy support subdomain delegation?

Yes, GoDaddy supports subdomain delegation, allowing users to create and manage subdomains for various purposes, including email organization and branding. This feature enhances flexibility and customization within their hosting and domain management services.

Can a subdomain be anything the domain owner wants?

A sub-hostname can be customized to the domain owner’s desires, subject to domain registrar and hosting provider policies. This flexibility allows for creative branding, organization, and categorization within the main domain (parent domain).

How do you delegate authority over the subdomain to the Windows server?

Configure the DNS (Domain Name System) settings for the subdomain within your domain registrar or hosting provider’s control panel to delegate authority to a Windows server. Create DNS records (like A or CNAME records) pointing to the Windows server’s IP address or hostname, granting it control over the sub-hostname.

How do you create a subdomain email address?

To create a subdomain email address, first, set up the subdomain through your hosting provider or domain registrar. Then, configure your email hosting service to recognize the subdomain. Finally, create the email address within your email hosting provider’s control panel, using the subdomain as part of the email address (e.g., user@subdomain.yourdomain.com).

What are the best practices for email domain names?

Best practices for email domain names include choosing relevant and concise names, avoiding special characters, maintaining consistency with your brand, and ensuring legal compliance. Additionally, prioritize scalability and select names that are easy to remember while considering privacy and branding needs.

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