What is a Subdomain and How Does It Work? | .inc (2024)

Navigating the digital landscape can be complex. One term you might have come across is "subdomain".

But what exactly is a subdomain? How does it work?

In this article, we'll delve into the world of subdomains. We'll explore their structure, uses, and how they impact your website's SEO.

Whether you're a website owner, a digital marketer, or just curious, this guide will provide a comprehensive understanding of subdomains. Let's get started.

Understanding Subdomains

A subdomain is a subset or a secondary part of a primary domain. It's a way to organize and navigate different sections of a website.

For instance, if you have a blog on your website, you might use a subdomain like "blog.example.com". Here, "blog" is the subdomain.

Subdomains are not just for blogs. They can be used for e-commerce stores, customer portals, localization, and more. They can also serve as testing environments or staging sites.

The Domain Name System (DNS) plays a crucial role here. It directs traffic to the correct subdomain.

In essence, subdomains offer a way to structure your website in a way that enhances user experience and site management.

Subdomain Structure Explained

The structure of a subdomain is quite simple. It's typically a prefix to the main domain.

For example, in the URL "blog.example.com", "blog" is the subdomain. "Example.com" is the main domain.

What is a Subdomain and How Does It Work? | .inc (1)

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The subdomain comes before the main domain in the URL. It's separated by a dot.

This structure allows for easy navigation. Users can directly access different sections of a website.

In conclusion, understanding the structure of a subdomains is key to using them effectively.

Subdomains vs. Subdirectories: SEO and Use Cases

Subdomains and subdirectories are both used to organize a website. However, they serve different purposes.

A subdirectory is part of the main domain. It's often used to organize content within the same website. For example, "example.com/blog" is a subdirectory.

On the other hand, a subdomain can function as a separate website. It can have its own branding and content. This makes subdomains ideal for large websites with distinct sections.

There's an ongoing debate about the SEO implications of subdomains and subdirectories. Some argue that subdirectories are better for SEO. They believe that search engines view a subdomain as a separate website. This could dilute the SEO value of the main domain.

Others argue that subdomains can be beneficial for SEO. They can target specific keywords and audiences. This can improve the relevancy of the content.

Here are some common use cases for subdomains:

  • E-commerce stores with different product lines
  • Blogs with distinct themes
  • Customer portals with unique interfaces
  • Localization for different regions or languages

In conclusion, the choice between a subdomain and a subdirectory depends on your website's needs and SEO strategy.

How to Create and Configure a Subdomain

Creating a subdomain is a straightforward process. It usually involves your hosting provider's control panel.

First, you need to log into your hosting account. Look for the "Subdomains" section. Here, you can add a new subdomain to your main domain.

After creating the subdomain, you need to configure it. This involves setting up DNS records. These records direct traffic to the correct subdomain.

Remember to secure your subdomain with an SSL certificate. This ensures that data transferred between the user and the subdomain is encrypted.

What is a Subdomain and How Does It Work? | .inc (2)

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Using a Caddyfile for Subdomain Configuration

Caddy is a web server that can be configured using a Caddyfile. It's a powerful tool for managing subdomains.

To configure a subdomain in a Caddyfile, you need to specify the subdomain name. Then, you define the root directory for the subdomain.

Remember to include the necessary directives for your subdomain. These directives control how Caddy handles requests for your subdomain.

Finally, test your Caddyfile configuration. Make sure that your subdomain is working as expected.

Transitioning from a Subdomain to a Main Website

There are times when you might want to move your website from a subdomain to the main domain. This could be due to SEO considerations or a change in your website's structure.

The process involves several steps. It's important to plan this transition carefully to avoid any disruption to your website's operation.

One key step is setting up redirects. This ensures that users and search engines can find your content after the move.

You also need to update your internal links. They should point to the new location of your content on the main domain.

Steps to Switch Your Website from a Subdomain to the Main Domain

Start by backing up your website. This protects your data in case something goes wrong during the transition.

Next, move your website's files from the subdomain to the main domain. You can do this using your hosting provider's file manager.

Then, set up 301 redirects from the subdomain to the main domain. This tells search engines that your website has permanently moved.

Finally, update your internal links and sitemap. This helps search engines understand the new structure of your website.

Best Practices for Subdomain Usage

When using subdomains, it's crucial to maintain consistent branding. This helps users recognize that they're still within your website, even if the subdomain serves a different purpose.

Also, ensure that your subdomains don't compete with each other or the main domain for search rankings. This requires careful keyword planning and SEO strategy.


Subdomains can be a powerful tool in your website structure and SEO strategy. They offer flexibility, organization, and the potential for targeted marketing.

However, they require careful planning and management. With the right approach, subdomains can significantly enhance your website's user experience and SEO performance.

What is a Subdomain and How Does It Work? | .inc (2024)


What is a Subdomain and How Does It Work? | .inc? ›

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 a subdomain and how does it 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 an example of a subdomain? ›

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.

Do I own a subdomain if I own a domain? ›

1 Answer. Yes, you own and control the entire namespace below the domain you purchase, because DNS is hierarchical. Creating mail.example.com and blog.example.com is just a matter of adding entries to the DNS zone that you control. Since you asked about the name.

Why do owners use subdomains? ›

Security is a top priority for any website owner. Subdomains offer an advantage of individual security configurations. You can apply specific security measures to each subdomain, which enhances overall protection against cyber threats.

Are subdomains good or bad? ›

If you're using SEO as your primary way of generating traffic for your site, you might want to avoid subdomains. You want to create cohesiveness across your brand and that includes all aspects of your website. There's no reason you shouldn't put keyword-rich content on sales and product pages as well.

Do we have to pay for sub domains? ›

You don't have to pay for subdomains if you already have a domain name.

Why do we need subdomain? ›

A subdomain is, as the name would suggest, an additional section of your main domain name. You create subdomains to help organize and navigate to different sections of your main website. Within your main domain, you can have as many subdomains as necessary to get to all of the different pages of your website.

When to use a subdomain? ›

Subdomains are used to segregate and organize different sections of a website for better navigation and content management. Here are some examples: blog.websitename.com: Focuses on the blog, distinct from the main site.

What should I put in a subdomain? ›

Add a subdomain
  1. Name: The hostname or prefix of the record, without the domain name such as blog or shop.
  2. Value: The IP address the record will point to. This is commonly the IP address for a hosting account. ...
  3. TTL (Time to Live): The amount of time the server should cache information before refreshing.

How much does a subdomain cost? ›

Typically, subdomains are free through your web hosting provider. Domain registrars like GoDaddy and IONOS enable users to create subdomains at no additional cost. Some providers offer a free domain name in addition to free subdomains.

Can I build a website on a subdomain? ›

A subdomain is an additional URL that stems from your primary domain name. For example, blog.yourdomain.com is a subdomain of www.yourdomain.com. To create a website on a subdomain, you need to assign a subdomain in your web hosting control panel.

What are the rules for subdomain names? ›

A subdomain is a domain that is part of a larger domain. Each label may contain from 0 to 63 octets. The full domain name may not exceed a total length of 253 ASCII characters in its textual representation. Subdomains are defined by editing the DNS zone file pertaining to the parent domain.

What are the disadvantages of subdomains? ›

One of the disadvantages of opting for the subdomain option is that because the search engines view them as separate sites, they are treated as separate domains when it comes to determining rankings. Considerations need to be made for developing a subdomain into its own entity.

Why don't people use subdomains? ›

One major reason why they dislike subdomains is because they believe Google views subdomains as separate entities—not as part of the same website. So, the content hosted on them might not benefit from the main domain's accumulated domain authority.

Do subdomains have their own IP address? ›

I want to state first and foremost that creating a subdomain does NOT separate your primary domain's sender domain from that of your subdomain UNLESS you specify via your DNS that your subdomain is being hosted at another IP address separate from that of your host domain's IP address.

When should you use a subdomain? ›

In short, subdomains make sense if you have a relevant business need to separate content on your website.

What is the benefit of creating a subdomain? ›

By implementing subdomains on your website, you can create separate sections of content and services for your website without having to create new domain names for each part. Subdomains will also make it easier for users to find what they need, all in one place.

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.

Does a subdomain need to be registered? ›

Rather than registering a new domain name, you can always create a subdomain using your existing domain name. A subdomain is an addon to your primary domain with its unique content. It is a separate part of your website that operates under the same primary domain name without you purchasing a new domain.


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