What Is a Subdomain? A Newbie’s Information | Digital Noch

What Is a Subdomain? A Newbie’s Information | Digital Noch

What Is a Subdomain?

A subdomain is an extension of your area that helps you manage content material and broaden your online business choices.

It lets you create standalone pages or capabilities, corresponding to a weblog or on-line retailer.

Understanding URL Construction

Your URL has a number of components. The protocol (HTTP or HTTPS) comes earlier than the subdomain. That is the file path that transfers knowledge from an internet server to your browser so it could possibly load the web site.  

The basis area comes after the subdomain. It’s made up of two components:

  • The second-level area (SLD) is the identify of your web site (sometimes your model or enterprise identify)
  • The highest-level area (TLD) is the tip of your area. For instance, “.com” or “.org”

The commonest subdomain is “www” or “world broad internet.” The subdirectory  factors customers to the principle listing of a web site—in different phrases, the place your homepage and different core pages stay.

Different subdomains work to create distinct components of a website.

For instance, Google’s root area is www.google.com. That is the handle folks sort right into a browser search bar to entry Google search. 

Over time, Google has grown to incorporate a full suite of merchandise impartial of its search engine. To maintain these separate, Google makes use of subdomains corresponding to docs.google.com for Google Docs and advertisements.google.com for Google Advertisements. 

"ads.google.com/home/" domain

Utilizing subdomains retains Google’s search engine free from the distraction of different merchandise. The dearth of hyperlinks and unrelated content material lets Google focus guests’ consideration on search, which is finally what they’re there for.

Google search bar

Subdomains create a separate identification, and supply a chance to create a singular web site inside a web site.

For instance, Google Docs and Google Advertisements are distinctive merchandise. A subdomain lets Google use a distinct design and content material construction to create a transparent distinction between them (and different merchandise). 

Google Ads homepage

Google markets subdomains independently whereas maintaining them below the umbrella of the first area that customers know and belief.

Subdomains vs. Subdirectories

Subdomains and subdirectories are each smaller subsets of a root area that allow you to manage web site content material. 

However there are distinct variations.

  • A subdomain acts as one other web site that may use a distinct design or interface from the principle area 
  • A subdirectory is a folder that sits inside a site

Say you run an internet pet meals retailer and need to add a weblog to offer your viewers recommendations on feeding their pets a healthful weight-reduction plan. 

You’ll be able to add your weblog as a subdirectory by creating a brand new web page in the identical means you do for a services or products. 

The weblog turns into a folder inside your main area. This implies it makes use of the identical design and content material administration system (CMS) as the remainder of your web site. 

When a person clicks by to your weblog, the URL will appear to be this: www.mypetstore.com/weblog

Now, let’s say your purpose for making a weblog is to deal with one other space of your online business. For instance, pet habits coaching. The content material is totally different from what’s in your predominant website, so it is sensible to maintain it separate. 

Making a subdomain allows you to create a weblog on a distinct CMS (e.g., WordPress) with its personal interface. 

Your weblog now sits outdoors of your predominant area and the URL seems like this: weblog.mypetstore.com 

A subdomain at all times sits earlier than the basis area within the URL. A subdirectory at all times sits after

One other slight distinction between the 2 is how they have an effect on the nested construction of your website. 

With a subdirectory, you’ll be able to add subfolders to the principle folder that time to totally different classes. For instance, www.mypetstore.com/weblog/pets after which www.mypetstore.com/weblog/pets/canines

As a result of a subdomain acts like a root area, you’ll be able to add subdirectories to your subdomain to prepare pages. 

For instance, advertisements.google.com has “dwelling” as a subdirectory. This helps to prepare succeeding pages. On this case, “the way it works” follows the subdirectory and creates a transparent path that flows from subdomain touchdown web page to subdirectory to content material.


This URL construction promotes simple navigation for customers and search engines like google and yahoo.

Ought to You Use a Subdomain or Subdirectory? 

Subdomains are greatest for content material that’s too distinct out of your predominant web site. For instance, if the subject has a distinct function or requires a particular CMS or design. 

The clear separation prevents person confusion and stops you from sending blended messages to search engines like google and yahoo about your content material.

Subdirectories are greatest for content material that’s related to your predominant web site. 

For instance, in case your web site is www.mypetstore.com, it is sensible to put pet food in a subdirectory (e.g., www.mypetstore.com/dog-food) because it matches with the principle website. 

When to Use Subdomains

Subdomains give webpages a singular identification whereas maintaining them a part of your predominant web site. There are a couple of cases in which you’ll be able to profit from utilizing them:

Making a Weblog

In case your goal weblog subjects and key phrases don’t relate to the remainder of your web site, utilizing a subdomain allows you to interact guests with totally different content material.

For instance, Fiverr’s predominant web site focuses on its market of freelancer companies. 

Its weblog is a separate entity that options a wide range of subjects, corresponding to firm information and enterprise ideas. Fiverr hosts its weblog on a subdomain, as seen within the screenshot beneath.


This enables Fiverr to prepare its predominant website across the market and develop its content material advertising with out distracting from its central promoting level (freelancer companies). 

Including an Ecommerce Retailer

A subdomain lets you add ecommerce performance to a web site. It additionally allows you to preserve your merchandise retailer separate out of your predominant providing. 

Say your web site began as a weblog, however you’ve grown your viewers to the purpose of promoting merchandise to monetize it.

With a subdomain, you’ll be able to create an internet retailer utilizing an ecommerce platform (e.g., including Shopify or WooCommerce as a subdomain of a WordPress weblog). 

Hubspot, for instance, is an inbound advertising platform that has expanded to supply a variety of branded attire.


A subdomain permits the corporate to market merchandise and course of transactions with out having to alter the code or performance of its predominant website. It may well additionally promote attire with out distracting from its predominant provide (advertising software program).

Testing or Constructing a New Web site

Subdomains allow you to check a brand new model of an current web site or particular person pages earlier than they go stay. So you’ll be able to trial new options and repair bugs with out affecting the performance of the present website. 

Additionally they present staging platforms for brand spanking new web sites. For instance, Squarespace’s web site builder hosts newly created websites on a separate subdomain.


With this, customers can construct a web site totally free earlier than committing. After a free trial ends, they will signal as much as a Squarespace plan and both purchase a site or depart the positioning on the subdomain. 

Optimizing for Cellular

Many new small enterprise web sites are responsive out of the field in order that content material adapts to every person’s chosen gadget (e.g., cell, pill, desktop, and so forth.). 

However in the event you’re including cell performance to an current web site constructed for desktop, a devoted cell subdomain makes it simpler to create a tailor-made expertise. With out having to overtake your complete website.  

Fb, for instance, defaults to the m.fb.com subdomain for customers visiting on a cell browser. 

"m.facebook.com/watch/" subdomain

As a substitute of merely cutting down its desktop website, Fb makes use of a subdomain to create a mobile-specific model. The location mimics the performance of its app for simple scrolling, tapping, and typing.  

This removes the potential frustration of customers attempting to navigate a desktop website on a smaller display, and creates a optimistic person expertise. 

It additionally means Fb retains code for the 2 variations of the positioning separate. Improvement groups can work on the cell website with out worrying in regards to the impact of modifications on one other platform.

Concentrating on New Clients or Enterprise Targets

A subdomain allows you to create content material for targets or audiences that differ out of your predominant web site. 

Take Lyft. Its journey.lyft.com subdomain homepage is for customers who need to get a journey.

"ride.lyft.com" subdomain homepage

However this web page isn’t related to guests who need to study extra in regards to the firm’s self-driving automobiles. 

For this viewers, Lyft makes use of a distinct subdomain touchdown web page. 

This manner, it retains totally different components of the enterprise organized. Customers who need to e-book a journey don’t land on the positioning to study autonomous automobiles (and vice versa). 

On autonomous.lyft.com, Lyft goes into element on its expertise with out distracting from the aim of securing bookings.    

"autonomous.lyft.com" subdomain homepage

Including a Assist Heart or Discussion board

An in-depth product warrants detailed assets to assist customers take advantage of it. The place an FAQ part can’t reply the entire questions a buyer may need, a subdomain creates a devoted platform with its personal navigation construction. 

Take Shopify’s Assist Heart. It offers customers every thing they should get began, troubleshoot issues, and develop their enterprise.

Shopify’s Help Center

By maintaining domains separate, Shopify can dedicate its predominant website to changing potential prospects, whereas optimizing its subdomain round key phrases for present ecommerce customers (e.g., “How you can add merchandise to a retailer” or “Utilizing Shopify widgets”).  

Reaching Worldwide Audiences

If your online business is increasing into a brand new nation, a subdomain extension offers you an area to create content material particular to the brand new viewers.

For instance, Yahoo! Information makes use of ca.yahoo.com to curate information for Canadian readers and au.yahoo.com for readers in Australia.

"au.yahoo.com" subdomain homepage

This helps Yahoo! seem extra related and bonafide to totally different audiences. Content material is respected and curated from revered native sources, which provides readers extra purpose to belief it as a information supply.  

You’ll be able to create as many subdomain extensions as you want totally free while you personal your area identify. 

This makes it a more cost effective methodology of reaching totally different audiences than shopping for country-specific domains (e.g., mywebsite.ca, mywebsite.au, and mywebsite.fr).

You can even use subdomains to accommodate totally different languages. Wikipedia, for example, makes it simple for customers to search out data of their native tongue with devoted subdomains.

For instance, fr.wikipedia.org is for French audio system and ja.wikipedia.org is for Japanese audio system.

"ja.wikipedia.org" subdomain

Are Subdomains Good for Search Engine Optimization (website positioning)?

A well-optimized subdomain may be as useful for website positioning, similar to some other a part of your web site.


As a result of Google understands that subdomains are half of a bigger area and may see the connection between the 2. 

Google bots can discover and index pages on a subdomain in the identical means they do on a subdirectory. 

Subdomains even have a number of benefits when it comes to what Google seems for in an authoritative web site. 

With a subdomain, you’ll be able to: 

  • Transfer content material away from the muddle of your predominant website for simple navigation
  • Attain a wider viewers by focusing on worldwide markets or totally different subjects
  • Develop authority in area of interest markets by going into element on totally different topics
  • Goal totally different key phrases with out distracting from the principle function of your web site

Folks can simply discover related content material on a subdomain. This helps create a optimistic person expertise and will increase engagement. 

The extra time guests spend in your website, the extra Google sees it as respected and helpful. 

The consequence? 

Pages that Google prioritizes in search rankings.    

So does this imply subdomains are a greater possibility than subdirectories for website positioning?

That is topic to debate.

Subdomains vs. Subdirectories for website positioning

Many SEOs favor subdirectories over subdomains. 

It’s because subdirectories profit from the authority of the principle area. 

After they sit in your web site, new pages reap the rewards of the exhausting work you’ve put into incomes backlinks and optimizing your current content material. 

The authority out of your hottest web site pages filters all the way down to the subdirectory, and lets you obtain larger rankings and natural search efficiency faster than a subdomain. 


As a result of with a subdomain, you’re ranging from scratch. 

Though Google acknowledges {that a} subdomain is part of your main area, it sees it as a separate web site. 

This implies the subdomain doesn’t profit from the principle web site’s authority and vice versa. 

As Google’s John Mueller explains:

You’ll must confirm subdomains individually in Search Console, make any modifications to settings, and monitor total efficiency per subdomain… We do need to learn to crawl them individually, however for probably the most half, that’s only a formality for the primary few days.

The video is from 2017, however the recommendation remains to be related at present.  

Primarily, it’s important to optimize a subdomain as if it’s a distinct web site, which suggests engaged on a clean canvas. With no authority to leverage, seeing optimistic outcomes will take longer. 

And while you do ultimately obtain excessive rankings to your subdomain, the separation means it gained’t present a lift to your main website like good web site optimization of a subdirectory will. 

What it is going to do, nevertheless, is develop total model visibility and drive visitors to totally different components of your online business. 

Because of this, subdomains are greatest used for website positioning when content material is totally different from the remainder of your website, however you need to affiliate it along with your model (e.g., Lyft’s autonomous automobile subdomain). 

This allows you to optimize for brand spanking new key phrases to safe visitors from a particular viewers. 

What you don’t need to do is have a subdomain focusing on the identical key phrases as your predominant website. In case you do, you run the danger of cannibalizing key phrases and competing towards your self in search outcomes.

This may end up in your subdomain pulling guests away out of your predominant web site, which can be higher set as much as convert them. 

How you can Create a Subdomain

You’ll be able to add a brand new subdomain to your root area by way of the dashboard of your internet hosting supplier. 

The way you do that will differ barely relying in your webhosting interface, however the course of is generally the identical throughout platforms. 

We’ll use IONOS for example. 

First, log in to your account and entry your area settings management panel (CPanel). 

For IONOS, go to “Domains & SSL” and click on in your main area identify. From the “Area Particulars” web page, click on on “Subdomains” > “Create Subdomain.” 

Navigating to “Create Subdomain” button in IONOS 

Kind the identify of your subdomain prefix. 

Hold this associated to the kind of subdomain you need to create. For instance, “Store” so as to add an ecommerce website or “Assist” for a assist middle. 

In case you’re making a subdomain to focus on a brand new language, use the right nation code top-level area (ccTLD). You’ll discover a full record of those on the World Requirements web site.

This helps forestall confusion for customers. It additionally makes it simpler to maintain content material organized for website positioning evaluation and auditing. 

"Create Subdomain" pop-up window

If you’re comfortable along with your subdomain identify, click on “Save.” 

That’s it. Your internet hosting supplier provides the subdomain to your area identify system (DNS) settings. 

It may well take as much as 48 hours to your area registrar to completely implement the subdomain. In any other case, you’re good to go. 

Your new area will seem below “Subdomains” in your area identify system (DNS) settings. 

Optimize Your Subdomains with Semrush

For website positioning functions, it’s important to deal with a subdomain as one other web site that you just optimize alongside your main area and subdirectories. Semrush has a number of instruments to ease your workload.

Natural Analysis

Natural Analysis reviews inform you about your root area’s high natural rivals and what key phrases they get visitors from. 

Use this to grasp how different manufacturers in your trade carry out effectively in search and what alternatives there are so that you can compete on particular key phrases. 

To begin, sort your competitor’s subdomain into the Natural Analysis search bar, select your area. Then hit “Search.”

searching for "help.shopify.com" in the US in Organic Research tool

Additional studying: Natural Analysis Overview

Place Monitoring

Place Monitoring allows you to measure the affect of your subdomain content material in every day search rankings. 

Use this to study which pages get probably the most visitors to your goal key phrases and spot pages that want enchancment. 

This may make it simple to prioritize the place to focus your time and power to spice up your website positioning.

To investigate your subdomain key phrases, sort your main area into the Place Monitoring search bar, then click on “Arrange monitoring.”

"shopify.com" entered in Position Tracking search bar

Within the configuring setup, click on “as Root area.” Choose “as Subdomain” and enter your subdomain URL. 

"Targeting" page in Position Tracking settings

Select your location and click on “Proceed to Key phrases.”

Subsequent, enter the key phrases you need to monitor and click on “Add key phrases to marketing campaign.”

Go away the field checked to obtain weekly efficiency updates. Hit “Begin Monitoring” and Semrush will collect your key phrase knowledge.

"Keywords" page in Position Tracking settings

Additional studying: Place Monitoring Overview

Web site Audit

Web site Audit crawls your subdomain to investigate its well being and flag any points hampering search efficiency.

Use this to see the place your subdomain is struggling and study which issues to repair to enhance your website positioning. 

Kind your main area into the Web site Audit search bar. Then, hit “Begin Audit.”

"shopify.com" entered in Site Audit search bar

Within the “Configure primary settings” tab of the Web site Audit Settings pop-up, click on the pencil icon subsequent to “Crawl scope.” 

Change your area identify to your subdomain. Then, hit “Replace.”

"Site Audit Settings" page

If you wish to make your audit extra particular, you’ll be able to customise the restrict of pages to examine, and permit or disallow URLs in Step 3 of the setup. In any other case, the instrument is already configured.

Click on “Begin Web site Audit” and the instrument will scan for greater than 140 widespread points, ranked by precedence and significance. 

Additional studying: How you can Carry out a Full website positioning Audit

Use Subdomains to Interact Totally different Audiences

In case you’re diversifying your provide or increasing into new markets, a subdomain creates an extension of your predominant website that you could customise for a particular viewers.

Including a subdomain is a simple job, however keep in mind that it’s essential method web site optimization from the bottom up to be able to dominate the natural search outcomes to your goal key phrases. 

Use Semrush’s Natural Analysis, Place Monitoring, and Web site Audit instruments together with present website positioning greatest practices to enhance your subdomain’s rankings and natural visitors.

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