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As your business grows, so does your desire for a website that can land new clients, convert leads, and manifest your plans. 

However, things can get muddled when trying to fit your large ideas into your simple business website. This is usually because a single website can’t do it all.

Here’s the good news:

Did you know you can easily create multiple separate websites from your domain to organize content and manage business needs? You can if you know how to create a subdomain.

Keep reading to find out:

  • What is a subdomain and examples? 
  • Domain vs. Subdomain
  • The differences between a subdomain, subdirectory, and second-level domain
  • How to create a subdomain?
  • Why use a subdomain?
  • How do subdomains affect SEO?

What is a Subdomain?

In the DNS (domain name system) hierarchy, a subdomain is an entirely new website that is part of a domain. On your domain, you can create multiple separate independent websites, often at no cost. 

If your website domain is example.com, you can set up different subdomains, such as blog.example.com and shop.example.com. 

  • analytics.twitter.com 
  • business.facebook.com
  • support.google.com
  • blog.hubspot.com

Domain vs. Subdomain

A domain name is the web address (URL) of any website online. It can exist independent of a subdomain.

Whereas a subdomain cannot exist without a domain. It shares the domain name despite being a separate website. You can have several subdomains on a single domain.

  1. blog.example.com (blog is the subdomain and example is the domain.)
  2. help.example.com (help is the subdomain and example is the domain)
  3. vermont.example.com (vermont is the subdomain and example is the domain)
  4. us.example.com (us is the subdomain and example is the domain)

The Differences Between a Subdomain, Subdirectory, and Second-Level Domain

In the DNS hierarchy, a subdirectory and second-level domain are not what a subdomain is.

We’ll use the domain bluehost.com as an example to understand the Bluehost subdomain.

Subdomains are essentially a different website that is a part of a domain. They are prefixes in your domain name in a URL. So, if Bluehost were to create a subdomain, it could be blog.bluehost.com. 

Subdirectories are web pages that are part of your main website. They are the files (subfolders) that contain specific content for different sections of your website. You’ll find them after the primary domain name. Examples include bluehost.com/blog and bluehost.com/help.

A second-level domain (SLD) can be considered the most essential part of your website domain name. It is often a company name or what it represents.

Using the bluehost.com example, “.com” is the top-level domain (TLD). Other TLDs are organization-oriented, such as .org, .edu, and .gov. Your TLD can also be location-specific, such as .ca, .it, .in, and .uk. 

The second-level domain is “bluehost.”

How to create a subdomain with Bluehost?

A subdomain structure includes the subdomain name followed by a dot and your main domain name (e.g., “blog.example.com”). This structure helps organize content on your website.

Bluehost, a reputable web hosting provider, offers user-friendly tools for managing subdomains. 

Follow the steps mentioned in our knowledge base to create a subdomain on Bluehost.

Why use a subdomain?

What is a subdomain used for, anyway? There are several ways to use one. Here are some of the reasons you might want to learn how to create a subdomain.

  1. To test a new website

This is the most common reason why users create subdomains. Website developers might create subdomains as a testing or staging version of a website before it goes live. 

Users restructure the website layout, test new plugins, update design, and see what these changes look like on a subdomain before publishing them on the internet. 

  1. To organize different sections of a website

Subdomains are an excellent way to organize your website without damaging anything. A specific section of your website may be receiving increased engagement that needs special handling on a different platform. 

You may have a lot of content to share and think your primary domain will be disorganized if you put out your ideas there. Creating an entirely new website that still belongs to your website is another way to achieve your goals. For example, blog.yoursite.com.

  1. To set up an online shop

Subdomains are often used to create eCommerce stores. These subdomains could look something like shop.yourwebsite.com.

Online stores involve a complex setup for transaction methods. Hence, eCommerce companies prefer to create subdomains that take care of their online shoppers’ needs and payment processes.

  1. To launch a separate platform under your website 

With subdomains, you can publish alternate website content without confusing your audience or hurting your traffic. 

If you have sections on your main website for blogs and resources and want to postpaid content, you can consider creating a subdomain such as courses.yoursite.com.

  1. To create different language website versions and location-specific websites

While 72% of users browse in their native language, creating a multilingual website has become a top priority for businesses. 

You can build different language versions of your website by creating subdomains. For instance, your business website can have a subdomain, such as en.yoursite.com. 

Subdomains also make it easy to set up location-specific sites, such as uk.yoursite.com.

  1. To create various blogs or themes for specific audiences

You could create a website to separate your guests and prospects from your regular customers. For example, guests.yoursite.com. 

You may also want to create gender-based subdomains, such as men.yoursite.com or female.yoursite.com, if you own a brand targeted to different genders. This will help you organize your content and satisfy your audience.

  1. To create a mobile version of your website 

In 2015, Google stated that it would give search preference to mobile-friendly websites and rank them accordingly.

Several businesses discovered how to create a subdomain that supports mobile friendliness of their websites, primarily as m.website.com. However, in recent times, developers create responsive web design or mobile apps that support user-friendly interfaces for both mobile and desktop versions.

  1. To add a help center or forum:

When you create a subdomain like “help.example.com” or “forum.example.com,” you’re essentially carving out a dedicated space for your Help Center or Forum. 

This separation improves the user experience by keeping these functions distinct from your main website. It also allows you to customize their interfaces and features according to their specific needs. 

How do subdomains affect SEO?

Subdomains are relevant when it comes to organizing your website and content layout efficiently. When used correctly, subdomains offer several benefits for business growth.

However, Google and other search engines count subdomains as entirely different websites from their primary domains. The benefits you get from backlinks to your main website belong only to your primary domain. 

This can affect your subdomain’s search engine optimization (SEO) negatively.

It takes equal effort to rank a subdomain as it takes your main website. But, if you have several brand keywords you want to rank for, subdomains can be a fast way to rank for each and boost your SEO keyword ranking. 

Create subdomains when you need them for specific reasons, such as setting up your online store or targeting a particular audience. 

Essentially, using a subdomain properly will not affect your website’s SEO. But it is better to maintain a single domain if you don’t have a genuine reason to create a subdomain.

Knowing how to create a subdomain to manage your business needs will boost your brand growth.

Creating subdomains makes it easy to organize and structure your brand website development. Knowing what a subdomain is will help you use its advantages for both your business and your audience.

Common questions about subdomains

Can I have multiple subdomains for one website?

Yes, you can have multiple subdomains for one website. Subdomains are a way to organize and structure content within your main domain. Common examples of subdomains include blog.example.com, shop.example.com, and support.example.com. Each subdomain can have its unique content, design, and functionality while still being part of the same parent website, providing a seamless user experience.

What are some common use cases for subdomains?

Subdomains are versatile and serve various purposes. Some common use cases for subdomains include:
1) Content Organization: You can use subdomains to categorize and separate different types of content, such as a blog (blog.example.com), an e-commerce store (shop.example.com), or a knowledge base (support.example.com).
2) Multilingual Sites: Subdomains are helpful for creating multilingual versions of your website, like en.example.com for English and es.example.com for Spanish.
3) Regional Targeting: Businesses with a global presence often use subdomains for targeting specific regions, like us.example.com for the United States and uk.example.com for the United Kingdom.
4) Testing and Development: Subdomains are ideal for creating a development or testing environment, like dev.example.com or test.example.com, separate from the live site.

Are there any best practices for naming subdomains?

Yes, there are best practices for naming subdomains to ensure clarity and SEO-friendliness:
1) Keep it Descriptive: Choose subdomain names that reflect the purpose or content hosted on them. This helps users and search engines understand the context. For example, use “blog” for your blog subdomain.
2) Short and Memorable: Keep subdomain names concise and easy to remember. Avoid overly complex or lengthy names that could confuse visitors.
3) Use Keywords Sparingly: Including relevant keywords in your subdomain can be beneficial for SEO, but don’t overdo it. Make sure it still sounds natural and user-friendly.
4) Avoid Special Characters: Stick to alphanumeric characters and hyphens in subdomain names, as special characters can cause technical issues.
5) Consistency: If you have multiple subdomains, maintain a consistent naming convention across them to maintain brand identity.

Can I redirect a subdomain to another website or page?

Yes, you can redirect a subdomain to another website or page. This is often done using DNS (Domain Name System) settings or server-level configurations. Redirecting a subdomain can be useful when you want to point visitors to a different destination while retaining the subdomain structure. For example, you can redirect blog.example.com to a new blog platform or a specific page on your main website. Ensure that the redirection is set up correctly to avoid any SEO or user experience issues.

Conclusion

The utilization of subdomains is a valuable tool for improving the functionality and organization of your website. As your business expands, the need to connect to different audiences, test new ideas, and organize content becomes paramount. This is where subdomains come into play, offering a flexible solution to various challenges in web development.

Ready to build a functional website that empowers you to create subdomains easily? Check out Bluehost’s web hosting packages today.

  • Desiree Johnson
  • Minal Agarwal

    Minal is the Director of Brand Marketing at Bluehost. With over 15 years of business experience in the technology industry, she strives to create solutions and content that fulfill a customer's needs. She is a dog mom and a stickler for calendaring.

    Education
    Masters in Marketing Management
    Previous Experience
    Strategic Partnerships, Customer Success, Events and Community
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