Your domain name or primary address is the name of your website, mywebsite.com, .org or whatever you chose as an extension.
A subdomain works off your website name and its name is another dot extension, in front of the primary domain name. A subdomain costs nothing, and can be created in a few minutes, there is no extra registration and it costs nothing, look upon it as another website that you can have for free; it uses the resources and the account attached to your primary domain.
Your domain name is a word or phrase followed by a dot and your chosen extension. A subdomain contains an additional word placed before your domain name, separated by another dot.
Here’s a domain, for example http://www.bakedbeans.com/
This is a hypothetical subdomain:
Or you could have
This extra new word at the beginning of the domain name is your sub-domain. You can use your subdomain name just like a primary domain; the good news is the search engines will look at both the same. can be found by Google and all the other search engines just as easily as .
How Domains and Subdomains Work Together
When your main domain is pulled up, the subdomain does not show anywhere. The two domains exist separately and can be used as two separate sites. You can link one domain to the other but they’re not connected, they co-exist.
Am I limited with the Number of Subdomains I can have?
That depends entirely on your hosting company, a lot offer free unlimited subdomains. If in doubt you can check – it’s usually a part of a hosting company’s hook to get you to sign up, many offer unlimited subdomains.
How Do I Create a Subdomain?
Log into your host domain and go to your control panel. Hosting companies have different ways to access you control panel but it is usually obvious, it’s where most basic functions are controlled. One will say something like “add a subdomain”. There you can assign and create the name of your subdomain, which will reside in a directory underneath your main domain.
How Does Installation Differ from that of a Domain?
You will start a new installation on either a primary domain or a subdomain by using an FTP program. With this you can upload the bones of your files, using, for example, WordPress. Once you have that primary files uploaded to either site, you can go to you new website in a browser, log in, and work on it from there.
If you do not use Joomla, WordPress or any other CMS software, you will only have a collection of HTML files, and you will not be able to work on your website through a browser. You need to work on them on your own system/computer, if you are using Front Page or Dreamweaver, for example, then upload new versions using an FTP program.
Until you do that your site will be empty, with no files for anyone to view, and therefore a web browser will not be able to pull up your site. The initial installation is done by using FTP to upload the installation files to your site.
How do I work on my Subdomain?
You can work on the subdomain by going to the primary domain in an FTP program. The subdomain has its own set of files called a subdirectory within your primary domain’s website.
As the administrator, for example in Joomla and WordPress, you can work in the web browser that logs into your site and in more simple websites that only use HTML, you can work on the subdomain simply by going to the site via FTP.
Advantages of a Subdomain
A subdomain is essential free and useful for using as a stand alone blog or as a separate area that holds specific things such as photos. In a business, it is easy to use a subdomain if you need to keep a close eye on statistics, for example using a subdomain for blogging purposes. The subdomain will take on the advantages of your domain with search engines.
Disadvantages of a Subdomain
A main domain name is often easier to remember and always shorter than a subdomain address. Having ten subdomains with 100 links to each other and back to your primary domain will not get you ranked better, in fact it may be detrimental as the search engines may regard your little cluster as a link factory. Better to have one domain with 1000 links than ten domains with 100 links each.
People are less likely to type in a subdomain name correctly and often there is a trust issue. Too many scam sites use an addition to the front end of a domain name and people often avoid going to subdomains altogether.
When to Choose Domain and When to Choose Subdomain
Subdomains started out being used by universities and businesses that had a lot of different departments; you can often see subdomains within online banking sites. For example www.phishingbankofamerica.com looks very much like www.phishing.bankofamerica.com.
Subdomains are best used for blogs and things you want to keep separate from your main domain, but still want them to remain accessible.
It’s a case of you get what you pay for, and in this case you don’t pay anything at all for a subdomain, so if given a choice between using your same domain name and purchasing a different extension, that is probably the best way to go.
We would be interested to hear from you about your experiences with subdomains. Do they work? Did you have problems? Please let us know so we can help others decide.