How Can You Get a Free Subdomain

Friday, August 21, 2020

Do you know about domains and what their impact is on your website?

One of the most common topics people ask about when just starting out on their website building journey is domains. When you first begin to work on a website, there’s so much information and it’s all coming at you from different angles. At first, it can be extremely overwhelming. But with a bit of patience and careful research you can start to unpick the information you need to know and work your way towards getting a site live for people to read.

That’s why this article will take a bit of time explaining about domains and subdomains, what they are and how they work, before covering a key question. This is how to get a free subdomain. 

People often don’t realise the amount of different costs involved with getting a site live, so they look to find cheaper alternatives wherever possible. In some cases this is absolutely fine to do. In other circumstances, choosing a cheaper option can cause serious issues later down the line. This is why it’s important to understand what it is you are getting cheaper or free and what the limitations of this can be.

So to start from the beginning, let’s explains:

What is a domain?

To have a website, you have to have a domain. A domain is also known as a domain name, it’s what people type into the search bar of their internet browser to visit websites. It’s the online address of your website.

Are you looking for a slightly more technical answer? Below we’ll go into a bit more detail about domain names. The internet is made up of a huge ecosystem of computers. Each computer on this network can communicate and pass information to another computer. The amount of computers in this network is so huge, you need clear markers to identify where they are located specifically. This is called an IP address and every computer has one. An IP address is a combination of numbers that are broken up by full stops ‘.’.

The difficulty is that a series of numbers is hard for humans to remember. This is why domain names were invented. A person doesn’t have to enter a string of numbers to go to a website, but instead can type in a memorable set of words. 

What is a subdomain?

A subdomain works alongside a website’s main domain. They are one way of keeping a site organised, categorized, and navigable. Underneath your main domain, you can create multiple subdomains. Sub domains are also sometimes called child domains.

So for example, if your website was:

www.yourexamplesite.com 

A subdomain for it might be:

store.yourexamplesite.com 

Here, the ‘www.’ was replaced by ‘store’. 

One of the most common reasons people create subdomains is to build and test new elements of their website. Staging sites are extremely helpful because updates can be double checked to make sure they don’t break a website before going properly live. 

We hinted at the second most common reason for a subdomain above, to have an online ecommerce store. Ecommerce sites need to be set up slightly differently to normal websites, creating a subdomain means that they can be kept separate from the normal functionings of a site and focus on handling transactions effectively.

How Can You Get a Free Subdomain?

Depending on the hosting package you use, subdomains may be free to use already. Make sure to check carefully with your hosting provider. If they are not, when it comes time to change your hosting package, you could look into upgrading to get access to free subdomains.

How to set up a subdomain

If your web host allows you to create subdomains, the process is quite straightforward. You will have to navigate to the area that contains information about your domain, where adding a subdomain will also be visible. You will be able to set the subdomain to any combination of letters you would like, but most people like to keep them as recognisable words. From there press ‘create’ and the subdomain should go live. This process will vary slightly between different providers.

Using subdomains effectively on your website can be hugely beneficial. It means a site can be organised well and split into clear areas. It also means developers can have space to test out new components and lines of code. While at first domains and subdomains can seem a little daunting, with careful research and patience you can be using them in no time.