WordPress is often positioned as a great way to set up your site if you lack technical knowledge. This is true, although there are many tech-based terms that warrant further investigation. For example, after seeing the option in your hosting control panel, you may ask, “What is a subdomain?”
In short, it’s a way to assign a unique URL to another site in your network that’s connected in some way. However, there’s more to the concept than this.
In this post, we’ll look to answer the question of, “What is a subdomain?” and also show you how to set one up for your WordPress website.
What Is a Subdomain?
First things first: A subdomain is a unique URL connected in some way to a primary domain. There are three parts to a primary domain’s ‘hostname’:
- Your site’s ‘service pointer’. For a standard web address, this is www.
- Your domain name or ‘Second-Level Domain’ (SLD). In our case, it’s wpkube – it’s essentially the name of your site.
- The Top-Level Domain (TLD). This is often .com, but there are scores of other TLDs available.
When it comes to a subdomain, our main focus is on the service pointer. Instead of www, a subdomain uses some other pointer. For example, our sister site MeridianThemes has a knowledge base on a subdomain:
In a nutshell, think of a subdomain as a separate ‘microsite’ – part of your primary site’s hierarchy like categories and tags – but autonomous with regard to its installation and management.
Why Do You Need a Subdomain?
No site needs a subdomain in reality. However, there are many benefits to using one. Here are just a few:
- You can set up a fresh installation on a subdomain that doesn’t ‘touch’ your main site.
- You’re able to ‘partition’ your various services with unique functionality needs from one another.
- There’s a benefit to your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) through setting up a subdomain.
You’ll often see blogs or online stores on a subdomain, because they require a different set of features and functionality.
Also, SEO should be a key concern whenever you look to implement anything new on your site. However, for subdomains it’s especially important. There are a few reasons for this, especially when you factor ‘subdirectories’ into the equation.
Is There a Difference Between a Subdomain and a Subdirectory?
The first difference between subdomains and subdirectories is in the makeup of the latter’s URL: