Domain Or Subdomain: What Is The Difference?

Ray Rosenfeld | 09.05.15 | 0 Comments

When you are new to building and managing websites, you will encounter concepts you never knew existed and will face 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 should you use a subdomain and when should you not? You’ll be confronted with numerous unfamiliar terms and questions will arise, so conducting a little research will likely be necessary. A Google search can be highly beneficial, however, we took it upon ourselves to do the research for you and sum up the 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 to web browsers where to take you to and which content to display on the page, just as when you want to go home by cab, you would give the taxi driver your home 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 apartment 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’s 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
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