When you visit a website, you may notice the URL in the search bar changes slightly based on your location on the site or which web page you’re on at a given point in time.

For example, you can visit hubspot.com to view and access the tools and services offered. You can also visit blog.hubspot.com to access the particular section of the website that hosts the blog content in order to find the tips, tricks, or explanations you need. Although the URL changes slightly, you’re still on HubSpot’s website.

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In this article, we’ll look at the part of the URL that does change — known as the subdomain — and why that is.

A domain name typically has two parts: The top-level domain (TLD) is the extension, such as .com or .org, and the second-level domain (SLD) is the unique part of the domain name, such as a business or brand name. In the hubspot.com example, .com is the TLD and hubspot is the SLD.

Then, separate a section of your site with a subdomain name: blog.hubspot.com or shop.yourdomain.com.

What is a subdomain used for?

Subdomains make it simple for you to organize the various functions of your website, while also making it easier for users to find and use these different functions.

Think about it this way: If you’re hosting a party, you need to provide guests with your address. The TLD would be the city you live in while the SLD would be your number and street name.

If you live in an apartment building, you need to get even more specific so your guests know which apartment to come to. Your apartment number would be the subdomain name— a specific section of the greater building that's dedicated to your living space.

If you plan to add more functions to your website, such as a store or a forum, you might add a subdomain to your domain to help separate these sections of eCommerce or content from your main website.

You can also use subdomains to create localized content. For example, if you run a restaurant chain with multiple locations, customers can visit yourrestaurant.com for all-encompassing content. Or, customers looking for the menu at your Nashville location could get the information they're looking for via the subdomain for that restaurant location, nashville.yourrestaurant.com.

Subdomain Example

If you’re looking to create a subdomain and need a little inspiration for what that could look like on your website, you might refer to the example we mentioned above on HubSpot’s website. Located on the hubspot.com domain lives the HubSpot Blog thanks to the subdomain name blog.hubspot.com.

By separating the HubSpot Blog from the rest of the website, it makes it very obvious to visitors where they’re located on the site as a whole. This is helpful considering HubSpot’s website exists to teach visitors about the product line and how the software can help solve their pain points.

example of a domain name

The HubSpot Blog landing page includes a multitude of marketing, sales, and service articles that don’t necessarily relate back to the actual products HubSpot sells. So separating the two from each other with a subdomain keeps the site organized in a way that makes it easy to understand and navigate for visitors based on their needs.

example of a subdomain

Another example of what subdomains are useful for includes your customer support page. For example, wordpress.com has an extensive amount of information regarding the support they offer users, so they have a subdomain support.wordpress.com dedicated to those details.

Now let’s take a look at how you can go about creating a subdomain on your website.

No matter what you want to use your subdomain for (blog, customer support, help page, or online store) you’ll be able to create one with the help of your web hosting provider.

For example, HubSpot's CMS, CMS Hub — which you can test out with a free 14-day trial — makes it easy to host your content on one subdomain per content tool you use (e.g. blog, landing page, website page) for one brand domain.

It’s important to note that these features are specific to HubSpot’s CMS — your hosting provider as well as the service through which you obtained your domain name are unique.

And on that same token, as we work through the following generic steps, keep in mind that they may differ slightly depending on your service.

1. Login to your cPanel.

To begin creating your subdomain, login to your hosting provider’s cPanel. Every hosting provider has a unique login and setup for their cPanel, but your screen should look something like this.

login to your cpanel to create a subdomain

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2. Navigate to and enter your subdomain.

Now you’ll want to navigate to Subdomains or Add Subdomains. Here you can begin to enter your subdomain of choice. Add the subdomain, such as blog, and be sure your primary domain name is selected as well.

Navigate to and enter your subdomain name in your cpanel

Source

3. Add DNS.

Once the domain is created, you’ll need to add domain name system or server (DNS). Navigate to DNS and select Add (or a similar command). Select what you want your subdomain to connect to, whether it’s an IP address, an IP address connected to the destination hostname, a server name, or a wildcard (catch-all) domain.

Add DNS to create a subdomain

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4. Click Create and wait for your subdomain to resolve.

Lastly, click Create, or a similar commend, and wait for your subdomain to resolve.

It typically takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours for your subdomain to be implemented and functional on your website.

Add a subdomain to your site

By implementing subdomains on your website, you can create separate sections of content and services for your website without having to create new domain names for each part of your business. Subdomains will also make it easier for users to find what they need, all in one place. If you have varying components of your brand, subdomains could help you with the organization of and navigation to these parts of your business.

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Originally published Feb 13, 2020 5:21:29 PM, updated April 10 2020

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