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What is a Subdomain?

subdomainYou are probably familiar with the term ‘domain’ in referencing the .com, .net, .info, etc. extensions – however you may not be familiar with the term ‘subdomain’ and what it is and how it is used.  Domains are set up in a hierarchical manner and a subdomain is a sub-part of the main domain in that it is included within it.

A subdomain is in effect a second website within the main website. It will have it’s own ‘index’ page and unique content just like the main website and is treated much the same. Subdomains are created  through the cPanel where you assign the name and – if you have more than one domain being hosted – you would select the domain the subdomain is to be associated with. Host Gator has an easy to use cPanel that allows you to easily set up subdomains – step-by-step. Once the subdomain has been created you would use the existing domain name and simply change the www. prefix to the assigned subdomain name. For example: the main or primary domain of  http://www.example.com would have a subdomain of http://subdomain.example.com. This is not to be confused with creating folders.   A folder within a main domain would look like – http://www.example.com/foldername.

Using subdomains is an excellent way to highlight different facets or divisions of your business without having to purchase additional domain names. Another advantage of using a subdomain is that you can choose a name that targets your content and makes use of good keywords. While the domain name you want to register may already be taken and not available – you can use that same name as a subdomain within your own domain. While having subdomains is a good way to have the name you want without purchasing it – this practice should not be abused. And it should be noted that when creating a subdomain it is recommended to contain a minimum of 5 pages.

The subdomain will have an ‘index’ page as its home page – just like the main website has an ‘index’ page for the home page.  Folders can also be created within the subdomain just like the main website. Example: http://subdomain.example.com/folder. Even though the folder is contained within the subdomain it follows at the end. The most important thing to remember about creating subdomains is making sure to code the correct path for hyper-links and images and/or files that are contained in the subdomain’s folders. If the path is not correct, the links will not work and the images will not display. You may find it easier to upload images or files directly to the subdomain without creating a folder. In that case, the path would be: http://subdomain/example.com/filename.

While this may seem a little confusing, if you want to expand your website without extra cost – having a subdomain is an excellent way to do so.


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