What Is a Subdomain And Why Should You Care?

What Is a Subdomain: Everything You Need to Know

A subdomain is a part of a main domain name or an extension of it. It lets you make different parts of your website or different web addresses within your main domain name. For instance, if your main name is “example.com,” a subdomain could be “blog.example.com” or “store.example.com.”

Article's banner

Subdomains are often used to organize and categorize content, make separate websites, or assign specific duties within a larger domain structure.

In this guide we’ll explain the definition of a subdomain and how using them can help your organization structure its website more effectively. We’ll also discuss the advantages of having a subdomain and how to create one. By the end, you’ll better understand subdomains and how they can benefit your business. So let’s dive in!

Takeaways
  • A subdomain is a smaller part of a larger domain; some examples of subdomains are WWW, FTP, and mail subdomains
  • Subdomains can bring advantages like better site organization, enhanced security, and improved SEO
  • If you want to establish a subdomain, you should contact your domain registrar or web host and arrange DNS records for the subdomain
  • Difficulties in website navigation and organization can occur due to incorrect subdomain structure
  • Hosting the same content on multiple subdomains can lead to duplicate content issues that negatively affect SEO
  • Using different subdomains inconsistently can confuse users and make maintaining and managing the website harder

What Are the Different Types of Subdomains?

Subdomains are a great way to divide content on your website and make it easier for visitors to find the information they need. There are many types of subdomains, each suited to different purposes.

Here are some of the most common types:

WWW Subdomains

A WWW subdomain is a part that comes before a website’s domain name and is commonly used for organizing various sections or versions of the website.

Websites use subdomains by adding a prefix to their domain name, such as “www” for “www.example.com.” Subdomains can also be used for specific purposes, like a blog “blog.example.com” or an online store “shop.example.com.”

Using a WWW subdomain has benefits such as improved clarity, stronger branding, and greater flexibility.

However, it may lead to redundancy and have a negative impact on a website’s SEO. Furthermore, some older systems may not support WWW subdomains, which could create compatibility issues for certain users.

FTP Subdomains

FTP subdomains are used specifically for FTP (File Transfer Protocol)  file sharing and management. They are used to separate FTP functions from the main domain and allow for easier management and organization of files.

Benefits of using an FTP subdomain for a website include improved security, better organization of files, and easier management of FTP functions. Drawbacks may include added complexity and potential confusion for users.

To FTP a subdomain, you would use an FTP client to connect to the subdomain’s FTP server using the subdomain’s login credentials.

For more specific instructions, follow this guide on “How to FTP a subdomain?”.

Mail Subdomains

A mail subdomain is a way of separating email traffic from other types of traffic on a website. It’s commonly used for email servers and related services like email marketing or customer support.

Some benefits of using a mail subdomain include improved email deliverability, branding, and organization. However, there are potential drawbacks, such as technical complexity, reputation management, and user confusion.

Setting up a separate subdomain for email can be complex, and if the email sent from the subdomain is marked as spam, it can negatively affect the reputation of the main domain.

Other Types of Subdomains

Other types of subdomains that exist include:

  1. Testing subdomains: Used for testing new features or changes to a website before they are rolled out to the live site
  2. Development subdomains: Used for developing and testing new website functionalities without affecting the live site
  3. Staging subdomains: Used for creating a mirror copy of the live site to test new changes before deploying them to the live site

Benefits of using these subdomains include:

  • Reduced risk: Using subdomains for testing, development, or staging can reduce the risk of errors or bugs affecting the live website
  • Improved efficiency: These subdomains can improve the efficiency of website development and deployment processes by allowing for testing and staging

Drawbacks of using these subdomains include:

  • Technical complexity: Setting up and managing separate subdomains for testing, development, or staging can be technically complex, requiring additional configuration
  • Maintenance overhead: Managing multiple subdomains can increase the overhead required for website maintenance
  • Confusion: Users may be confused about which subdomain to use, leading to potential access issues

What Are the Benefits of Using Subdomains for My Website?

Benefits of using subdomains

Using subdomains for a website can provide several advantages for website owners, including improved organization, easier management of different website sections, and better branding.

For example, a website owner could use subdomains such as “blog.example.com” for a blog, “shop.example.com” for an online store, and “support.example.com” for customer support.

Here are the benefits:

Improved Site Organization

Subdomains organize a website’s content by creating separate sections for different types of content or user groups. This can improve website navigation and user experience.

For example, subdomains can create separate sections for men’s and women’s clothing or different language versions of the website.

This makes it easier for users to find what they want and can provide targeted content and offers based on location. Overall, subdomains make finding content easier and improve the user experience.

Enhanced Security

Using subdomains can improve a website’s security by isolating sensitive information or features from the rest of the website.

For example, a subdomain can host a secure payment gateway or login portal, keeping it separate from the main website and reducing the risk of unauthorized access.

This can also help prevent cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks and other security vulnerabilities. Overall, using subdomains can help to secure your site.

Enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

By creating subdomains for specific topics or products, website owners can create targeted content optimized for specific search terms, which can help improve the website’s rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).

For example, a website selling shoes could create subdomains for different types of shoes, such as “sneakers.example.com” or “dressshoes.example.com.”

By optimizing the content on these subdomains for specific keywords related to those types of shoes, the website can improve its visibility in search results for those terms.

Similarly, subdomains can target specific markets or regions by creating subdomains for different languages or countries. This can help improve the website’s visibility and appeal to users in those markets, leading to increased traffic and conversions.

Customization and Branding

Subdomains can create a unique brand identity by allowing website owners to customize and personalize different sections of their websites.

For example, a clothing retailer could use a subdomain to create a separate section of their website for a particular fashion line, with its unique branding and design.

This can help to create a distinct identity for that line and make it easier for customers to find the products they are interested in.

Using subdomains for customization and personalization can also help website owners to improve the user experience by providing targeted content and offers based on user preferences or behavior.

Scalability

Subdomains can enhance website scalability by adding new features or sections without affecting overall site organization or performance.

  • Subdomains can help distribute traffic and workload across multiple resources, ensuring website stability during traffic surges.
  • Creating subdomains for testing or development can facilitate experimenting with new ideas or functionality without risking the website’s stability.
  • Website owners can efficiently and effectively expand their online presence over time using subdomains.

Step-By-Step: How Can I Create a Subdomain for My Website?

Steps of creating a subdomain

Step 1: Log in to Your Domain Name Registrar Account

To create a subdomain, log in to your domain name registrar’s account first. How do you do that?

First, open your preferred web browser and go to the website of your domain name registrar. On this page, you’ll find a login form where you can enter your credentials and click “Sign In” to access your account.

From there, you should be able to access the control panel, which contains all the tools and options needed to manage your domain.

Step 2: Navigate to the Domain Management Section of Your Account

To create a subdomain, you need to navigate to the domain management section of your account.

This section may be labeled “Domain Management” or “Domain Names” and can typically be found on the account dashboard or within your web hosting or domain registrar account settings.

Once you have located the domain management section, select a good domain name for creating a subdomain. This can typically be done by clicking on the domain name or selecting it from a drop-down menu.

Step 3: Find the Option to Manage DNS Records or DNS  Settings

After selecting the domain name, you must find the option to manage DNS records or settings. This is typically found within the domain management section of your account and may be labeled as “DNS Management,” “DNS Records,” “DNS Settings,” or “Zone File Editor.”

Once you have located this option, click it to access your domain’s DNS records. You may be asked to confirm your action by typing in the username and password associated with your domain name registrar account.

After confirming, you should be taken to a page where you can view and manage all the DNS records for your domain name.

Step 4: Find the Option to Create a Subdomain

To create a subdomain, you must find the option to create a new DNS record.

This option may be labeled differently depending on your domain registrar’s interface, but it is typically referred to as “Add Record,” “Add Zone,” or “Create Subdomain.”

Creating a new DNS record is necessary for mapping the subdomain to a specific IP address or directory on your web server.

Once you have located this option in your domain management section, you will typically be prompted to enter the details of your new DNS record, including the subdomain name, the IP address or directory it should point to, and any other necessary settings.

Step 5: Enter the Name of The Subdomain You Want to Create

In the “Name” field, enter the name of the subdomain you want to create (e.g., “blog” for blog.yourdomain.com). This name will be the prefix for your subdomain’s URL.

It’s important to note that the subdomain name should be unique and not conflict with any other subdomains or domain names on your account.

Step 6: Choose the Type of Record You Want to Create

Choose the type of DNS record you want to create for your subdomain, usually an “A” or “CNAME” record.

An “A” record points the subdomain to an IP address, while a “CNAME” record points the subdomain to a domain name.

If you’re unsure which record type to choose, contact your hosting provider or consult their documentation for guidance.

Step 7: Enter the IP  Address or Domain Name of the Server or Hosting Account Where the Subdomain’s Content Will Be Hosted

Enter the server’s IP address, domain name, or hosting account where the subdomain’s content will be hosted.

Your web hosting provider will typically provide this information, which may differ depending on your hosting package or configuration.

If you’re unsure what this information is or how to find it, contact your hosting provider for assistance.

Step 8: Save the New DNS  Record and Wait for the Changes to Propagate Across the Internet

To save your subdomain’s new DNS record, click the “Save” or “Create” button to save your subdomain’s new DNS record.

Please note that the changes may take some time to be visible across the internet, varying from a few minutes to several hours. The exact timeframe will depend on your domain registrar and hosting provider.

What Common Mistakes Should I Avoid When Using Subdomains?

Subdomains are subdivisions of a larger domain used to organize and categorize website content.

They aim to create a separate web address for a specific website section or different services the same domain offers.

Common mistakes people make when using subdomains include creating too many subdomains, using overly complex subdomains, or failing to set up DNS records properly. These mistakes can lead to user confusion, decreased search engine rankings, and potential security vulnerabilities.

Overuse of Subdomains

Overuse of subdomains can negatively impact website performance, SEO, and maintenance. Subdomains should be used sparingly and only when necessary, as too many subdomains can lead to increased DNS lookups, slower website load times, and decreased SEO rankings.

Effective use of subdomains involves creating clear and concise subdomains that are easy for users to understand and navigate.

For example, a subdomain like “store.example.com” can separate a website’s e-commerce store from its main website content. Another example is a subdomain like “blog.example.com,” which can host a blog related to a website’s primary content.

When deciding whether to use a subdomain or subdirectory, it is important to consider the content and functionality of the website. A subdirectory may be more appropriate if the content is closely related to the main website and does not require a separate identity.

For example, a website that sells clothing may have a subdirectory like “example.com/clothing” to display its clothing inventory. However, a subdomain may be more appropriate if the content requires a separate identity, such as a separate blog or online store.

Incorrect Subdomain Structure

An incorrect subdomain structure is unclear, inconsistent, or confusing for users. This can cause website navigation and organization difficulties, making it harder for users to find the content they seek.

For example, if a website has subdomains like “products.example.com,” “shop.example.com,” and “store.example.com,” it can be confusing for users to understand which subdomain contains the products they are looking for.

To create a clear and consistent subdomain structure, it is important to follow best practices such as:

  1. Keep it simple: Avoid using too many subdomains or sub-subdomains, as this can make the website structure complex and hard to navigate.
  2. Use clear and concise subdomain names: Use subdomain names that accurately describe the content or functionality of the website section. For example, use “blog.example.com” instead of “articles.example.com.”
  3. Be consistent: Use the same subdomain structure throughout the website to create a consistent user experience. For example, if you use “store.example.com” for your e-commerce section, stick with that structure for all related pages.

Duplicate Content Issues

Duplicate content refers to identical or substantially similar content on multiple web pages, including on different subdomains.

When the same content is hosted on multiple subdomains, it can confuse search engines in determining which version of the content to index and display in search results.

This can negatively impact SEO and website ranking, as search engines may penalize websites with duplicate content.

It is best to avoid duplicate content issues using subdomains for specific and unique content rather than duplicating content across multiple subdomains.

Suppose duplicate content already exists on multiple subdomains. In that case, solutions include using canonical tags to indicate the preferred version of the content, redirecting duplicate content to the preferred URL, or consolidating content onto a single subdomain.

Inconsistent Subdomain Usage

Inconsistent use of subdomains can lead to several problems, including confusion for users, difficulties in website maintenance, and a negative impact on SEO.

For instance, hosting the same content on multiple subdomains can cause duplicate issues that negatively affect website ranking.

To maintain consistency in subdomain usage, it’s important to establish and follow clear guidelines. Here are some best practices for maintaining consistency in subdomain usage:

  1. Use subdomains sparingly: Avoid creating too many subdomains, as it can lead to confusion and difficulties in website management. Use subdomains only when necessary for organizing content or technical reasons.
  2. Define clear subdomain structure: Establish a clear subdomain structure and stick to it. Use descriptive names for subdomains that reflect their content or purpose, and avoid using vague or generic names.
  3. Ensure consistent navigation: Navigation across subdomains is consistent and easy for users. Use clear and descriptive links to subdomains, and ensure that users can easily return to the main domain from any subdomain.
  4. Avoid duplicate content: Avoid hosting the same content on multiple subdomains to prevent duplicate content issues. Instead, redirects or canonical tags direct users to the main content.
  5. Maintain consistent branding: Ensure that subdomains reflect the main brand and maintain consistent branding across all subdomains. Use the same logo, color scheme, and design elements to ensure a cohesive brand identity.

Conclusion

Subdomains are a great way to organize and categorize website content. When used correctly, they can help improve user experience, increase SEO rankings, and provide more structure to websites.

However, avoiding common mistakes such as creating too many subdomains or using overly complex subdomains, failing to set up DNS records properly, and hosting duplicate content on multiple subdomains is important.

To ensure the successful use of subdomains, it’s important to keep them simple and descriptive, use them sparingly, maintain consistent navigation across subdomains, and ensure consistent branding throughout the website.

Now that you know how to use subdomains properly, it’s time to take the next steps and begin setting up your subdomains for your website.

Next Steps: What Now?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I create multiple subdomains for my website?

It is possible to make multiple subdomains for various parts of your website. But, it is important to use subdomains wisely. Too many subdomains can have a detrimental effect on website performance and SEO.

Do subdomains affect my website's security?

Subdomains can improve your website’s security by creating a separate area for handling sensitive information. But, make sure to implement appropriate security measures for each subdomain.

Can I use subdomains for branding purposes?

You can enhance your website’s user experience by using subdomains to customize and brand different sections.

Can I change the subdomain structure of my website?

It is possible to change the subdomain structure of your website. Still, it should be done with caution and a clear strategy to avoid negative effects on your website’s organization and SEO.

Do subdomains affect website scalability?

Using subdomains can enhance website scalability by allowing for the easy addition or removal of distinct sections. Maintaining a consistent and distinct subdomain structure is vital to prevent scalability problems.

10 Best VPS Hosting on Reddit: Most Recommended Providers 2024

Reddit is a popular source for hosting recommendations, including VPS hosting. With multiple conversations on choosing a service and dozens o...
4 min read
Ela Gal-Kfir
Ela Gal-Kfir
Digital Marketing Specialist

HostAdvice Speaks to ScalaHosting: An Interview with Chris Rusev

HostAdvice had the opportunity to speak with Chris Rusev, the CEO and co-founder of , a web hosting company that offers shared, cloud VPS, and res...
8 min read
Eddie Segal
Eddie Segal
Digital Marketing Specialist

Email Deliverability: What Is It, Key Factors & Best Practices

What is Email Deliverability? Think of it like mailing a letter and making sure it lands right in the recipient's hands, not lost or thrown...
17 min read
Ela Gal-Kfir
Ela Gal-Kfir
Digital Marketing Specialist

Email Marketing vs. Social Media: Which is More Effective?

What is Email Marketing? Email marketing is a  that involves companies reaching out to potential and existing customers via email ...
10 min read
Ela Gal-Kfir
Ela Gal-Kfir
Digital Marketing Specialist
HostAdvice.com provides professional web hosting reviews fully independent of any other entity. Our reviews are unbiased, honest, and apply the same evaluation standards to all those reviewed. While monetary compensation is received from a few of the companies listed on this site, compensation of services and products have no influence on the direction or conclusions of our reviews. Nor does the compensation influence our rankings for certain host companies. This compensation covers account purchasing costs, testing costs and royalties paid to reviewers.
Click to go to the top of the page
Go To Top