Subdomains vs. Subdirectories

There are two primary strategies for parceling up your web space. You can create subdomains or subdirectories. Before you can understand the difference, you need to first understand what we mean when we talk about your root domain.

Root Domain

Let’s say you’ve registered a new custom domain name called Anything that is stored at this core URL is considered to be at the root of your domain. Nothing comes before or after the address. If you only want to have a single site on your web host (say a blog running WordPress), then you can set that blog up at your domain’s root. To get to your blog in this scenario, users would simply go to


As we discuss in the “What is a Subdomain?” portion of this documentation, subdomains are one option for organizing your space if you want to do something more complex than having a single site at your domain’s root. Subdomains serve two purposes: they help to organize the site from a technical perspective and they help users identify at a glance that they are in a new/different space.

As you work on your site, you’re welcome to create as many subdomains as you like and in each subdomain you can actually create a distinct website.


The alternative for organizing your space is to set up subdirectories. These function much like file folders on your computer. Instead of creating a blog at you could place it in a subdirectory called “blog” making the address

Setting up a subdirectory is really easy. You can create folders on the fly when installing applications (like WordPress) and you can also manually create them in your File Manager.

There is one particular issue you need to be aware of when using subdirectories. Let’s say you’ve installed WordPress to be your primary blog at and you’ve created a page in this WordPress blog with the URL to put pictures on. Later, you decide you want to create an image gallery site using a new application. You want to place it in a subdirectory “gallery” so that viewers can access it at However, this URL is already taken by the WordPress gallery page. If you try to create a subdirectory of the same name, you’ll get a conflict and errors. Either the existing page or the new application will need a new URL. If you choose to rename the existing page, that will break any links or bookmarks that users may have saved.

Tips & Review

  • Subdomains must be created first before you can install anything in them. However, you’re less likely to get conflicts or errors.
    • For sites, your default domain name is already itself a subdomain of This means that when you create a new subdomain of this domain, it will be of the form:
  • Subdirectories are easier to set up and can be created during the application installation process. They can, however, result in conflicts with existing pages of your site.
  • As soon as you create subdomains or subdirectories to organize your site, you need to consider how people are going to find them. If you’ve created a new primary blog at, and someone goes to just, they won’t see that new site. It is possible to set up redirects to avoid this issue. You can also always create links from pages on one subdomain of your site to another.
  • If you really just need one site, sometimes installing at the root of your domain is the easiest thing to do, at least as you’re getting started. You can always add more pieces to your territory later with either subdomains or subdirectories.