What is a subdomain?


Are you confused about domains and subdomains?

Let’s clear up that confusion right now.

By talking about food.

Let’s say you went to a nice restaurant for a 3-course meal. You order a starter, a main course and a dessert.

All 3 courses are part of the same meal. The main course is, well, the main course and the dessert and starter are both smaller parts of the same meal.

Domains and subdomains work in a similar way.

Most domain names have 3 levels. They have what’s known as a top-level domain, a second-level domain and a subdomain (third-level domain).

Let’s look at each of the 3 levels in more detail.

What is a top-level domain?

top level domains


The top-level domain is like a starter in the restaurant. Except that it provides a starting point to find your website and not to satisfy your appetite.

In an internet address, the top-level domain is what comes after the dot.

In the following example, the top-level domain or TLD is .com.

The top-level domain is sometimes also referred to as the “domain extension”.

The most popular top-level domains (or domain extensions) are .com .org and .net.

What is a second-level domain?

Aaahh, the main course has arrived.

A second-level domain or SLD is the main part of any web address.

It’s the unique part of the address that you or the website creator came up with.

Often, the second-level domain will include the name of a business.

In our example above, www.shinynewwebsite.com, the second-level domain is the “shinynewwebsite” part.

In the image below, the second-level domain (for a business called S.E ranking) is clearly shown in blue:

second level domain


What is a subdomain?

Time for dessert!

picture of desert


You’re going to love this!

A subdomain is the part of the web address that comes before the second-level domain.

That may sound complicated, but it just means that it comes before the main or unique part of the web address.

Before the first dot.

It’s most often the first thing you’ll type when you are looking for a website.

Can you guess what the most popular subdomain is?

If you guessed “www.” Then you’reabsolutely right!

You might be surprised to learn that www. isn’t the only subdomain though.

In fact, a subdomain can be any text you like!

This is great news because it means that you can use words like the ones in the list below before your main site name:

  • Store
  • Photos
  • Account
  • Menu
  • Shop
  • Portfolio

Or make up your own to create a truly unique subdomain for your web address.

The example below for instance, uses the word “blog” as a subdomain:

blog subdomain


You can create more than one subdomain for your website.

In fact, you can use subdomains to organise and draw attention to the different types of content of your website.

By allocating a subdomain, you are creating a unique new web address for that type of content, whether that’s a blog, portfolio or collection of images or videos.

Subdomains are great because they allow you to create a whole new address without having to register for a fresh domain name, saving you money!

Final thoughts.

Subdomains are great tools that you can use to organise content and drive new business to your site.

They allow you to divide up your website into distinct organised sections which makes life easier for your visitors and takes some of the stress out of marketing.

All you need to do to create one is to replace the existing www. subdomain with a word of your choice and you’ll have a brand-new web address.

I hope that you have found this explanation useful.

Good luck with creating your subdomains!

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