Let’s make it easier to grasp with an example. First, a standard domain name:
As you can see, a normal domain name has a couple of components to it. The two most significant ones are:
- TLD — Top Level Domain — which is also commonly referred to as a domain extension. This part is your familiar
.orgor whatever else your domain extension is.
- SLD — Second Level Domain — which is the part you get to choose when registering your new domain name, and is your unique domain name identifier.
blog). That additional part is your subdomain identifier.
So, a subdomain is sort of a domain name that’s part of a larger domain name. Or, as some people like to call it, a subdomain is a child domain of a larger parent domain.
Two questions with that: Why and how?
Let’s start with the former:
Why You May Need a Subdomain‘What is a subdomain?’ is one thing, but why would you need one?
The most common scenario in which a subdomain is used is to organize or divide web content into sections. Meaning subdomains are great when you want to build a separate catalog of content to serve a different purpose from what’s on your main domain.
In practice, creating a new subdomain usually involves launching a new website on that subdomain — a website that’s more or less separate from your main site (the one under your main domain).
Here are some popular examples of what subdomains are used for:
- Launching a separate ecommerce store that’s not within your main
website. For example, ‘Joe’s Winery’ may want to make their store
store.joeswinery.com, while their main website remains at
- Launching a blog at
- Launching a forum for your customers or audience to interact with each other at
- Creating an additional language version of your website at
- Creating subsections of your website for different segments of
visitors based on their location. For example, if you try visiting
Craigslist while in Philadelphia, you will be automatically redirected
The idea is to use subdomains only when you have enough content to populate each of them. Or, alternatively, when you have content or parts of your business that deserve a space of their own — for example, Nike has a whole separate section devoted to careers at
Overall, using subdomains in situations such as the above makes things clearer for the visitor. For instance, they’ll know that
store.YOURDOMAIN.comis where they can purchase your products.
Lastly, when you no longer need the subdomain, you can just shut it down with a couple of clicks and redirect all traffic to your primary domain.
How to Create a SubdomainOnce you have a standard domain name registered, there are two parts to the process of creating a new subdomain:
- Coming up with a subdomain that you want to create.
- Enabling it and then redirecting it to a new website of yours (or to a third party).
In general, the subdomain can consist of any number of alphanumeric characters (a-z, A-Z, 0-9) and hyphens (permitted if surrounded by other characters or digits), with no spaces. But this varies with different domain registrars, so it’s best to double check with yours.
Alternatively, you can go for one of the popular subdomains, such as the ones mentioned above:
blog, languages (such as
es), locations (such as
No. 2 can be a bit more tricky. That’s because to carry the process through, you not only need to enable the subdomain itself, but also point it somewhere on the web. That somewhere can be:
- a section of your existing website
- a completely new website of yours
- a third-party website or URL.
Here are some links that point to specific how-tos based on where you have your domain name registered:
- Namecheap → click here
- GoDaddy → click here
- Enom→ click here
- OVH→ click here
- 1and1→ click here
- SiteGround→ click here
- HostGator→ click here
FAQs Related to ‘What Is a Subdomain?’‘What’s the difference between a subdomain and a domain name?’
- A domain name is your website’s main address on the internet (e.g.
- A subdomain is a ‘child domain’ name that’s under the ‘parent domain’ name (e.g.
blog.YOURDOMAIN.com). You can’t have a subdomain without a main domain name above it.
- Yes. You can only create a subdomain under a standard domain name that you already own.
- This depends on your domain registrar. With GoDaddy, for example, you can create up to 100 subdomains per domain name.
- Most commonly, no, but this depends on your domain registrar.
- Yes. This is actually the most common scenario.
- Yes. This is potentially a great way to put a spotlight on your most important pieces of content.
- Technically, yes. But it’s a special type of subdomain that usually points to the exact same website as the main domain name. For example,
www.aboutDN.comis the same as