Understanding Subdomains

In your Internet travels, you have undoubtedly come across several subdomains. A subdomain will normally replace the www in a URL. For example, sub.yourname.com. There are many ways that you can utilize a subdomain to make your job as webmaster easier and organize your site.

First, you will need to make sure that your host allows you to have a subdomain. Most web hosting companies are now including this with their packages, or providing the feature as an add-on.

Second, you will need to decide on the names for your subdomains. If you have unlimited subdomains with your hosting package, you can get quite creative with them. You can use a subdomain for many different applications on your site.

Since they will each need to be added to your domain’s DNS zone, it is helpful to provide all of them at once. If you are configuring your own DNS zone, this is not as vital, but if you have to go through your host to configure subdomains, it is much easier to do them all at once.

Now that you are set-up for subdomains, how can you use them on your site?

If you plan on having an ecommerce section of your site, you can use a subdomain instead of a directory for your new store. This will allow you to have a url such as http://store.yoursite.com for your ecommerce application.

Resellers appreciate subdomains if they are offering a free hosting service, or a service for customers who do not have a domain name. This means that the customer can have their name appear in the subdomain of your existing domain. For example, http://customer.yourname.com This is a great selling point for this type of service.

If you just need to organize your site a little better, you can use subdomains as storehouses for your data. You can have one subdomain for your images, one for audio files, etc…

For webmasters that offer several different types of information on their sites, subdomains can organize content as well. A popular example of this is About.com. Each of their content areas has a different subdomain, such as http://smallbusiness.about.com. If you need to organize your content, this is a fantastic way to do it.

Subdomains also allow you to take advantage of popular keywords with your domain. If your domain is not optimized for popular keywords, a subdomain may be able to help you improve your search engine ranking.

You can experiment with several different subdomains to see which one will work for your site.

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Posted on 12/14/05 10:52 PM

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