When you are new to building and managing websites, you will encounter concepts you never knew existed, and you are faced with a series of dilemmas. One of the top questions regarding a website’s administration refers to the use of domains and subdomains. What is a domain? What is a subdomain? When to use a subdomain and when not? Numerous terms are unfamiliar and questions rise, so conducting a little research might be a necessary thing. Google search can be highly beneficial, however, we took it upon ourselves to do that for you and sum up essential points. To further elaborate, let’s first see what these terms refer to:

What is a Domain?

A website’s domain name is its virtual address, and operates in a similar way to the postal address you have for your residence or for your office. It indicates web browsers where to take you to, and which contents to display on the page, just as when you want to go home by cab, you would give the taxi driver your house’s street address. A domain’s URL generally looks like this: www.site.com.

What is a Subdomain?

Imagine there are several apartments in your building, and you would want someone to get to your home and not the neighbors’. In this case you would tell him you live on the first floor, or in flat no. 5. The same way, a subdomain would indicate a separate category within a website’s content. Its URL should look like this: subdomain.site.com

When to Use a Subdomain and When Not?

A common use of subdomains refers to the free version of a few popular website building tools. In this case, your blog’s homepage would look like this: myblog.wix.com, or myblog.blogger.com. Although it might seem like a good deal at first, this option is not recommended, especially if you want to boost your blog’s visibility, or monetize it.

Have you heard the saying “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”? It is certainly true in this situation. Such a blog might cost you nothing, or almost nothing at all, to run, but you will have to do it under the hosting provider’s constraints, dealing with limited personalization options and displaying their ads on the content you create. Find more information here.

Once you register your own domain name, you can decide yourself whether to use subdomains or not. While this is a common practice, even big names like Yahoo and CNN use to organize their content, the subdomains are not always the best solution.

They are a good solution if you want to divide your website’s content into categories, but, as far as search engine optimization is concerned, you will have to treat each of them as if they were a separate entity. Studies have shown that subdomains don’t always inherit all of the root domain’s positive metrics.

An aspect to consider when deciding whether or not to use subdomains is the connection to the main domain – both as far as the topic is concerned, and the links between them. If the topic you are planning to build the subdomain around has no connection at all with what you have on your root domain, then you should think about purchasing a new domain name and build a separate website. You should know that many hosting sites allow you to use the same account for several domains at no extra charges.

Ray Rosenfeld
When it comes to UI and online SEO, Ray is your guy. Ray holds 6 years of experience under his giant wings. He is highly successful at assisting businesses and individuals increase their websites prominence using various methods. Now Ray mostly enjoys writing and sharing his vast knowledge, especially with the readers of the Top 5 Website Builders blog.
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  • hep

    I need help building web site………

  • Sue

    my partner and I are moving to France to set up a fishing business and need to set up a website to promote it but have no experience of how to go about it. We obviously need to have a domain name, should this be the name of our business?

    • Ray Rosenfeld

      Hi Sue,

      Thanks for your question. Your domain name should be the same, if not very close to the name of your business. If you business’s name is general, there is a chance the domain name you want is already taken. In that case, you can choose a different domain (.net or .co), or make your domain name more specific. If you’re looking for a website builder that come with a free domain, you can check out SiteBuilder.

      Good luck with your website!

      • Sue

        Thanks very much Ray that is really helpful

  • miguel

    I need a website so I can show people my work and comics

  • Janet MacFarlane

    I need a website to sell jewelry sets which has immense competition. I don’t know how to pick a name that can be found, use domain or subdomain, load 75 or more pictures, and which website helper to pick. I am very limited in computer lingo & skills. Can you help with some simple beginning advice? thank you for your time if so. Janet

  • Melisa

    I am building a wedding website on Wix for my sister. Would you recommend buying a unique domain for that purpose? She wants to upload all the photos after the wedding session so all her friends and family can see it, tag themselves and share on Facebook. Thanks for your help.

  • Joseph

    If I want to build a mobile website, should it be on the same domain name or a separate one?

    • Ray- Top5

      It is always better to have a responsive website as it lets you keep your domain name. Google like it more.
      Besides that, back links won’t count in case of a mobile site with a different domain and it will affect your SEO efforts in negatively.
      Most website builders offer responsive templates today, so your website will be automatically adjusted for mobile screen size and we have the same domain name you have for web.
      Good luck with building your website!

  • Ray

    Thank you, Stan. We do our best to update our users with important information. Good luck with building your website!

  • Stan

    Thank you your information was very helpful to me as I am a newb in the website arena