A domain name is typically the primary area where you store most of your website’s files. With domains, you can add subfolders to provide a sense of order. However, there is another way to organize your website and make it easier for visitors to find information – through subdomains. In this article, we’ll explain what is a subdomain, why you should use one, how they work, and how to create one for your domain.
What Is a Subdomain and Why You Should Use One
A subdomain uses a prefix separated by a dot (period) in front of the domain name. Site owners use subdomains to provide clarity such as to organize, structure, and manage different sections or services on their websites.
Using a subdomain allows you to develop a separate section of your domain. They are very useful if a large bulk of your content requires a separate CMS or technical infrastructure that’s unique or different from your domain. For example, some use cases for subdomains include a customer support portal, forums, help documentation, wikis, an online store, and more.
Not only do subdomains provide additional structure, but there are SEO benefits as well. Subdomains can help improve your website’s SEO by giving each section of your website its own unique URL. This can help your site rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords or phrases. Just be aware that you will have to also optimize your subdomain for SEO.
How Subdomains Work
Subdomains work just like domains – by using the Domain Name System (DNS). The DNS translates domain names into internet protocol (IP) addresses. When a visitor enters a domain name into their browser, the DNS looks up the domain name and returns the website’s IP address.
When it comes to subdomains, the DNS looks up the subdomain first. Next, if the subdomain is found, the DNS then looks up the main domain name in order to return the IP address of the website. Once the IP address is returned, the browser connects to the website, displaying the subdomain.
What Does a Subdomain Look Like?
Let’s break down how a subdomain looks using the URL https://learn.wordpress.org/ as an example:
- Protocol – (https://)
- Subdomain – (learn.)
- Domain name – (wordpress)
- Extension or Top-Level-Domain (TLD) – (.org)
How to Create a Subdomain in cPanel
Creating a subdomain in cPanel is a relatively straightforward process; however, prior to doing so, you should keep these things in mind:
- The subdomain name must be unique.
- The subdomain name cannot contain spaces or special characters.
- The subdomain name must end with a dot (.).
- The document root for the subdomain must be a directory that exists on your server.
Now that we’ve given you these guidelines, here’s how to create a subdomain in cPanel:
- Log in to your cPanel account through your web hosting provider.
- Perform one of the following:
- Type “Domains” in the “Search Tools” search bar.
- Find the Domains section in the cPanel and click on the “Domains.”
- Click the “Create a New Domain” button on the Domains page.
- In the Domain text box, enter the name of the subdomain you want to create (i.e. blog.example.com).
- In the Document Root (File System Location) text box, enter the directory where you want the subdomain’s files to be stored.
- For example, if you want the subdomain to share the same document root as the main domain, leave the Share document root (/home/username/public_html) with “yourdomain.tld”. option selected. Otherwise, uncheck this checkbox next to this option, and type the name of the directory where you want the files for the subdomain to be stored (i.e. blog.example.com).
- Click the “Submit” button to create your new subdomain.
- Bonus: Add an SSL certificate to your new subdomain either through cPanel or a third-party provider like SSL For Free.
Unless you specify a different directory, the subdomain will be created as a folder in your public_html directory with the subdomain’s name. You can now start adding files to the subdomain folder and configuring the subdomain’s settings.
In addition to improving your SEO, subdomains are a great way to organize your website and make it easier for visitors to find the information they’re looking for. When you use subdomains effectively, you can provide distinct website experiences tailored to different aspects of your business or content, whether it’s a blog, online store, support center, or forum.