Think of your domain as empty land of potential, where eventually you can build as many different structures as you need or like. Learn how to set up subdomains as location holders on your land map.
In publishing your calling card site you built the front entrance to your land. It’s the welcoming place.
Subdomains let you create different web sites within that space. Domains appear in web addresses, emails, but what are they really?
Your web site content actually exists at a specific numerical address on the web, like
188.8.131.52. It is really the street address of your domain. But people would never remember that, so there is a system of domain names that direct visitors to that address.
The structure of domains reads from right to left, getting more specific as you go. The rightmost part is the Top Level Domain (TLD) and is managed by issuing authorities (e.g.
.ca etc). The next name to the left is the one you or an organization owns (or technically rents). As an owner of a domain, then you can decide if you have even more specific addresses farther to the left and you control the names and what goes there.
Adam Croom describes this anatomy of domains:
I don’t think domains are the only answer, but they are good starting point because they give an infrastructure that affords multiple identities. This is because domains, of course, can become subdomains. A new wrinkle I added to this specific discussion was domain anatomy, which gave me a way to frame out the the complexity and flexibility of a simple address:
Creating Subdomains in Cpanel
After putting up their front gate, the mad scientists at Extend Labs decided they knew they wanted separate parts of their site for:
- A blog to reflect on their Ontario Extend work (you will want that too).
- A place to perhaps install or build a photo gallery of their experiments.
- A site to create polls and surveys.
- A theater room where people can watch videos.
At this point you may not be sure what places you might want or need; you can add them at any time.
Scroll down to the Domains section. Click the icon for Subdomains:
We first create a subdomain where later we will install a blog to use to write about your Ontario Extend experience. Now you get to decide again on a name.
You might just go simple with
blog.domain.me. But what if you create another blog? Is that a good name? Think about a name that is meaningful, descriptive, but won’t also limit your later uses. Maybe
extending.domain.me. Perhaps you will use it beyond this project as a place to reflecting on your work, you might use
The Mad Scientists went with “
thoughts” for their blog subdomain. So in the Create a Subdomain form, they enter “thoughts” in the first field. Automatically, when you move or click the third field, it creates the name of the file directory as
thoughts.extendlabs.ca where the content will be stored. That name is fine.
Just click the Create button. That’s what the Mad Scientists did to create these subdomains for their future building plans.
You might notice that these URLs work, but they just show an empty directory view.
That’s because nothing is there. It’s not a problem as nothing in the world links to your new subdomain. In the next section, we will install WordPress into our blog subdomain. But we can also do something next with subdomains, we can make them go elsewhere.
Redirecting with a Subdomain
In some cases we will create content on our own servers for our subdomains, but they also are handy for being an easy to remember short cute link to content elsewhere on the web.
For example, the YouTube channel URL for Ontario Extend is
If you see that URL, do you know what it is for? It’s rather ugly. That’s where Domain Redirects come in handy.
Go back to your cpanel, and in the Domains section, follow the link for Redirects.
From the second menu under Add Redirect The Mad Scientists select the subdomain they created for videos:
In the Redirects field, they enter the URL where they want to send people, They click Add and now see what this URL does http://videos.extendlabs.ca.
Now this is not all that different as using a short link service like bit.ly but you manage everything on your own domain, and it has your domain built into the URL. When you manage the redirection, you can later change the link where it sends people, or maybe even in the future, create your own site where the videos will reside.
When you return to the Subdomains section of cpanel, you can see at a glance the ones you made, where the files are stored, where the redirection links go.
If you are curious where all this is being storied, look at the File Manager in your cpanel; this shows the file and directory structure of everything on you site. A number of them are used by the server software, so be careful with making changes, but you can see where your web content will be stored:
- Documentation on Subdomains and Subfolders (Reclaim Hosting)
- What and Why of Domains
- Setting Up Your Domain Account
- Meeting cpanel (and not getting overwhelmed)
- Quick Publishing a Calling Card
- An Email of Your Own
- Expanding Your Domain with Subdomains
- Installing a Blog
- More Domain Tools To Look At