What Are Subdomains?

Last Updated on November 21, 2021 by James Wilson

Although the name might not suggest it, subdomains are actually part of your main domain name. They are designed to categorize and organize your website, allowing visitors to navigate easily to different areas of your site.

For example, your main domain might be www.yoursite.com and you might have a subdomain which is www.support.yoursite.com.

In the example above, “support” is the subdomain, with “your site” being the main domain, or top-level domain (TLD). You can call your subdomain anything you like, but it’s recommended to name it something that’s easy to remember, much like your primary domain.

However, I often get asked why you’d need a subdomain.

Why You Might Need A Subdomain

Subdomains are commonly used by developers to create a test version of a website. Here a developer can test new features, plugins, and so on, without them affecting the main website. Subdomains are free domains, so you won’t have to purchase a new domain to use one.

Another example of why you might need a subdomain is when you are creating an online store. eCommerce stores often fall under subdomains as it’s easier to track and handle transactions separately to the main website.

There are many different reasons why a subdomain is used, including for mobile websites, specific location websites, and creating sub-sections of a website like a forum.

Can I Still Use WordPress For My Subdomain?

Whether you’re using your main domain or a subdomain, you can still use WordPress. It will work as a separate installation from your primary domain, so there’s no confusion to be had.

If you have specific groups of users for your website, you can create different areas for them under a subdomain, like blog.yoursite.com or guests.yoursite.com.

Subdomains are really useful in organizing your website. Best of all, if you use them correctly, subdomains won’t affect your main website’s SEO.

How To Create A Subdomain

Creating a subdomain is relatively straightforward. You can do this via:

  • Your domain registrar
  • Via your WordPress hosting account

To help you with the process, I’ll show you how you can do this via your hosting account. Although you may be using a different web host, the method is generally the same across all platforms.

First, log in to your Bluehost control panel and navigate to the Domains section located in the left-hand panel.

Once you’ve clicked on Domains you’ll see the Subdomains section within the list. Select this to start creating a subdomain.

If you have more than one domain within your hosting account, make sure you select the correct domain from the drop-down list.

Now you can type in the name for your new subdomain, e.g. blog, forum, store, etc.

When you’ve entered the name for your subdomain, you can click Create to start the process.

Your subdomain will instantly appear at the bottom of the screen, displaying at the front of your domain name.

How To Install WordPress On Your Subdomain

Using the example above, create your subdomain via your hosting account.

With Bluehost, you can choose to Create a new WordPress site. From here, fill in the relevant fields your like site name and site tagline.

The next step in the process will allow you to select your domain from a drop-down list. Here you can select your subdomain.

The process is that simple! Now your subdomain has been installed with WordPress, and you can create your subdomain’s website separate from your main domain.

WordPress has plenty of features and plugins that can help you with this, including blogs, forums, and so on.

What’s The Difference Between Subdomains And Subdirectories?

Subdomains can be found on Google and other search engines. If a user performs a search and your subdomain appears in the results, they can click on it like any other normal website.

Google crawls and indexes subdomains separately, therefore you need to consider how this will affect your website’s SEO.

Backlinks from your main website are not shared between your subdomain and main domain, so you’ll need to build up the ranking for your subdomain just like you would any other website.

Therefore, it’s recommended not to create subdomains without good reason. If you want your subdomain to rank for different keywords, then it’s a good idea, but not if you want to rank for the same keywords. If this is the case, you’ll be competing against yourself.

Subdirectories, on the other hand, are files and folders located under your main domain. Search engines don’t recognise subdirectories as separate websites, so any SEO work you’ve done on your website won’t be affected by subdirectories.

Who Should Use Subdirectories?

If you’re creating your first website, running a startup business, or you don’t have much time on your hands, creating a subdirectory is a better way to organize your website as opposed to creating a subdomain.

It will allow you to work on your SEO without doubling up on your time and efforts and will enable you to rank much faster than using a subdomain.

Subdomains Roundup

Now that you know what subdomains are used for and how to create one, it’s time to decide whether you should create one for your website.

Adding a subdomain to your website isn’t a hard task, and if you’re using a web host like Bluehost, the process is simpler than ever. However, you’ll need to consider whether creating a subdomain is worth the time and effort to maintain.

Remember, subdomains are treated by search engines like your main website. People can search for your subdomain, navigate to it, and it can rank on sites like Google.

Subdomains are great for:

  • Developers
  • Website owners who want to test new features
  • Large businesses
  • eCommerce stores

However, if you’re a small business or blogger, it’s probably not worth investing the time into creating a subdomain, unless you don’t currently rank for any of your keywords.

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