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When to Use Subdomains and Subdirectories


What is a Subdomain?
A subdomain is a division or alias of your domain that can be used to organize your existing website into a separate site. Typically, subdomains are used if there is content that is distinct from the rest of the site. Subdomains are indicated by the section to the left of the root URL. For instance, and are subdomains of

Since subdomains are used to house sections of your site that are completely different than the scope of your main site, one of the reasons businesses use subdomains is because they need different servers and software to run these separate sections of their site. Many sites use subdomains for mobile versions of their blogs or stores. If your site has an international audience, separate subdomains allow for variations in content and language, but all versions are linked together under the main site.

Advantages of Subdomains

  1. Search engines see subdomains as unique websites unrelated to the main domain.  This could have the potential to allow subdomains you create to appear along your parent domain in search engine results pages (SERPs), pushing your competition further down in results, enhancing your authority for your product or service
  2. Subdomains can be used to target a specific market segment, reading group, or country
  3. The ability to utilize a keyword for clarity, search engine, and promotional purposes. When you use google maps, the url is formatted which describes it’s exact purpose.
  4. When used correctly, if a subdomain is created for an already existing site that ranks well, the subdomain will be indexed quickly and benefit from the main domain’s good standing.

What is a Subdirectory?
A subdirectory is the part of the url that houses a specific subset of content. A website is like a filing cabinet, the folders within the cabinet would be the subdirectories of your site. Individual directories are located to the right of the domain. Example: or

When creating your site, subdirectories are the most straightforward way to organize related pieces of content on your site. Assets such as images or downloads would be in their own subdirectories. Or if you have an About section, there could be a folder for About, and then the pages for each person on your team would be in the about folder: .

Advantages of Subdirectories
Using subdirectories over subdomains has several advantages when looked at for SEO purposes:

  1. Instead of competing with yourself with a subdomain that may have fresher content than your main domain, your focus could be on making a single website optimized.
  2. Your site could get crawled more often as you are constantly adding content and blog posts; because of this, the SEO authority that you have will be inherited by your  primary site.
  3. If you have a blog post focusing on new features or products, your users can easily go between your blog and your product/service pages.
  4. Finally, if you are tracking your site’s performance in a platform such as Google Analytics, the data is consolidated for the entire site, rather than having to look at two data points as a result of using two domains.

Which is method is preferred?
This is a somewhat debated issue, however subdirectories are generally the preferred method, Every website is different and the question of subdirectory vs subdomain should be made on a case by case basis.

To get some further insights, check out these discussion threads on

An easy way to differentiate the two is that a subdomain is a separate site altogether from your main site while a subdirectory is a label for describing the theme or meaning of a page or group of pages on your site.  Truthfully, either approach if technically executed correctly can be successful. Rather than spending too much time on which approach will give you the most results and conversions, the focus should stay on creating and maintaining a structure that makes sense for your content.

Was this article helpful?


Fresh Mango

This is amazing, I have captured all I needed to know about subdomains, I am still a bit catching up on directories and subdirectories, but indeed I would really love to create a subdomain for my blog, now that I know where to apply the throttle. Thank you once again, and you have such an amazing website.

junaid khan

thnkx sir.


Good and Well explained article. It removed my old confusion. Thank you.


I stumbled on these page while trying to create to decide whether to use a subdomain or subdirectory. I needed a add a job section to my blog. From your post as regard seo and google analytics, sub directory may be a choice.


When building a global brand, with presence in many locales and different product lineup on each country. Is it better the subdomain approach? In the form of region.domain.tld


i have really learned a lot. Thanks so much.

John Graves

I am trying to build a gift store ands thought i may be a good idea to have a Subdirectory or Subdomain for key products that are more heavily advertised - the link would be cleaner and take customer directly to the product they want to purchase.

Thinking about the “Folder in the File drawer example used in this article, a Subdirectory would be right way.
Thanks, J. Graves


Thanks for the clarification! Super helpful.


My website is about Free Tricks and now I want to add scripts (facebook auto poster) to my website. I am confused if I should create a subdomain or add as sub directory.

Rick Owen

Great explanation.

Lisa Chapman

This is s great explanation that’s concise and gives good examples. I would love to see some disadvantages of subdomains, as well as advantages. Even so, this article answered my question, and I appreciate the related info on SEO aspects. Thanks.


Hey fourfront i just want to know about subdomains.  I came across many websites like-
Which is also a part of the main website so i just want to know the benifits of subdomains. And i read it and analyze it through thanks a lot for incresing my knowledge.


Perfect! Extreme knowledge with a simple explanation… Thanks


Another consideration would be whether registered users need to be shared - it suppose for subdomains it would be a challenge to add customers to each subdomain?


My blog name is in Italian being that it is about Italy but I also have webpages where I sell travel and other products. I believe I’m discouraging users from purchasing my products because of the name. Do you think it would be better if I created subdomains (in English) for the travel and shopping part or should I create completely different domains? Thanks.

Dani Dunn

AWESOME breakdown explaination! I can easily SEE the difference. THANK YOU! please visit my site and share ...Dani Dunn


Great article. Now I really understand subdomains and subdirectories.

Stan @ Iron Science

Thanks, domains topic much clearer now.

Online Tools Expert

Great read, thanks for writing it. The explanation that’s concise and the example are great. Would love to see more disadvantages as well.


his is amazing, I have captured all I needed to know about subdomains, I am still a bit catching up on directories and subdirectories, but indeed I would really love to create a subdomain for my blog, now that I know where to apply the throttle. Thank you once again, and you have such an amazing website.

RS eSupport

Thanks. After reading the article I can set my mind to create a subdomain for my site.

Brian Langley

If I had 1 domain as the main website and a different language version, would I use a sub-domain or directory?  The websites are in Wordpress

Ry Sikora

@Brian Langley, a subdirectory would be the best bet. Here’s a support article from Google with details.


Thanks. I want to that my site has Adsense so my subdimain need to approval or not


can i use adsense for blogger site

R Miller

I am trying to create a Google CSE. For testing I have created both subdirectories and subdomains. So far, I cannot get either to retrieve results from either areas. I have coded (for the subdomain) and (for the subdirectory). I get 0 results returned. Not sure what I am doing wrong. Any thoughts or questions? Thanks in advance.

V Ramakrishnan

Very useful

Cynthia Elkhouly

Can anyone explain if there is a way to remove old subdirectories from when our website was hosted on PowWeb from showing up in a current Google search?  We’re currently using Wix, but only the top search result is accurate

Huzaifa Abdul Rasheed

Watch All Hollywood Hits Movies in Hindi Dubbed . So , It is easy way to watch all Hollywood Hits movies at one place Some time, you want to watch movies according to your mood and then you search on YouTube but there you checked 100 of movies then you will get movies of your choice . Hollywood Hits Movies contains all Hollywood Hits Movies .


That cleared all of my confusion and doubts, good job


I have developed a charity website for Chicago  I want to replicate the same name and concept for other cities with a separate website but same name with adding new city, New York name to differentiate.  What is the best way to do it. or or is there any other best method as it will be done for many more cities.

Joel Wangolo

I think even available service resources can dictate if you use subdomain or sub-folders,  Easy of maintenance. Some times you have one server and create subdomain and host on the same server, and the same one server several subfolders

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