What are Subdomains? – Guide For Beginners


What is a Subdomain?

A Subdomain is basically a part of your main domain name. It can be well explained with an example only. Consider that example.com is the main domain name, then en.example.com, abc.example.com, hello.example.com, all of these are subdomains of example.com. The best example of the usage of subdomains is Wikipedia.org. It is the main domain name of the Wikipedia Encyclopedia Website, which is further divided into many subdomains, such as en.wikipedia.org, the English language Wikipedia, es.wikipedia.org for Spanish Content, hi.wikipedia.org for Hindi Content and so on.

In the URL https://en.wikipedia.org, en is the subdomain, wikipedia is the primary domain and org is the TLD (Top Level Domain) Extension. Subdomains are also known as the children of the main domain.

Why & How Subdomains are used?

Subdomains can be used for any type of classification or categorization of a website or a blog, other than language-specific division. Categorizing a website for different languages is one of the most popular use cases of subdomains. The next major use case is to divide a website for different devices. A lot of websites offer a separate mobile-friendly version of their websites on subdomains like m.example.com or mobile.example.com.

By the way, this kind of use case of subdomains is decreasing and is not that popular these days, because of the introduction of mobile-friendly and responsive websites. Some website builders and blog creation platforms like Blogger.com and WordPress.com also allow their users to create their very own blogs and websites using their subdomains such as username.blogspot.com and username.wordpress.com.

One another popular use case of subdomains to do location-specific categorization. For example, us.example.com for the United Stated or in.example.com for India. If you want to categorize your own website for a different type of things, then also you can make use of subdomains. For example, if you have a community portal where users can ask questions from you on your website, then you can create a subdomain like ask.your-website.com, for the admin interface, you can use, admin.your-website.com, for a shopping or E-Commerce portal on your site, you can make subdomain, shop.your-website.com. Similarly, you can create as many subdomains for your website, as much there are categorization and classification opportunities.

In the world of web development and cloud computing, subdomains are highly used. For example, if you might have ever used any cloud computing platform like AWS or Google Cloud, you might have noticed they make use of subdomains, for serving the files that you upload from their different data centers across the world.

Subdomains & SEO

A lot of people have questions about subdomains and SEO (Search Engine Optimization), whether you will have advantages of organic traffic or not, if you’ll use domains. Well, in my opinion, and experience, subdomains have always been good for SEO, if used in the proper way. For example, on one of my websites, when I categorized the whole website content with 2-3 subdomains, I increased my traffic a lot. So, I feel, the better usage of subdomains may bring in more organic traffic than publishing everything under the same domain name.

How To Create Subdomains?

Creating a subdomain is really easy. Most of the web hosting companies offer GUI control panels like cPanel that allows you to create subdomains really quick. The different steps to create a subdomain in cPanel are described below.

Log into your cPanel account and look for the Subdomains option. You can simply use the search bar to quickly find it. This option is available under the Domains Section.

Subdomains Option In CPanel

Click on the Subdomains option and you’ll have all the options to create a subdomain in front of you. Enter the subdomain name that you want to create and choose the main domain name from the list if you’re having more than one domain name added to your cPanel account.

Create Subdomain In CPanel

Also, choose the root directory, where you want to keep all the files and folders of the subdomain. In case, you want to install WordPress on the subdomain, you need to install the files and folders of WordPress in this root directory as well. Make sure you choose the directory properly and it does not mix up with root directories of other websites or subdomains on your web server.

After clicking on the Create button, your subdomain will be created. Now, you can try typing in the URL bar of your browser to check if it’s working or not.

If it’s not, then the issue may be that you’ve not added an A record for the subdomain in your DNS settings. You need to add the subdomain as A record in the DNS settings. For example, I’m using Cloudflare as a DNS manager for my domain names, and I’ve added all of my subdomains as A record in the DNS table as shown in the following screenshot.

DNS Settings For Subdomains

You can also simply add the Wildcard character * with an A record to point any of your domain names to a particular IP address.

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