Subdomains or subfolders? Which one should you use for your website?

You may have heard the terms “subdomains” and “subfolders” in relation to websites. It can be confusing knowing which one to use, especially if you’ve never seen them before. In this article, we’ll go over how they’re different and why they’re useful. First, let’s start with what each means.

Subdomains or subfolders?

What is a subdomain?

A subdomain is just one part of a domain.

For example, or are both examples of subdomains.

You can think of it as an extension to your website’s main domain name: if you already have, you can create another website within that same space simply by setting up another subdomain (e.g.,

What is a subfolder?

A subfolder is a part of your domain name. It’s not its own separate website and can only be accessed through the main domain.

For example, you might have a blog called “My Blog” that has multiple pages for different types of content. You could use a subfolder to separate these pages into categories, such as home, about me, blog posts and products.

This would look like and

How to choose?

Choosing between a subdomain and a subfolder is not an easy decision. However, it’s important to decide what you want to achieve with your website and how you want to structure it before choosing the right path for your business.

Whatever option you choose, we always recommend that you use a unique domain name for every website. This way, people can find you more easily on the web by typing just part of your keyword into Google or another search engine. If you have several different brands under one umbrella (like this blog), consider using www as the prefix in all of them so they’re easier to navigate through—the “www” stands for “world wide web”.

Organic Rankings in Google

One of the biggest differences between subdomains and subfolders is how they are indexed by search engines like Google. Subdomains are treated as separate hosts, while subfolders are treated as part of your main domain.

This means that content on a subdomain may be given lower authority than content in a folder, especially if your site has many pages. It also means that you need to link to more pages from within your main site (on other folders) to help boost its overall ranking power.

However, there is some good news for those who prefer using subdomains over folders: You can use subdomains for more aggressive off-page strategies such paid links or guest posting for links on these sites without the risk of getting the main website penalized by Google’s algorithms or manual actions.

Resources for further reading

If you’d like to dive deeper into subdomains, here are some resources that can help:

Also Google’s John Muller talks about the two options here

Which one should you use for your website?

If you have a large brand with multiple separate divisions, subdomains could be the best option. For example, if your company has a travel agency and an insurance company, each of those could be its own subdomain— and

Subdomains are also great for websites with just a few products or services that need to be presented separately from one another on the same site (think about it like this: if you had three different businesses in one location, would people come to “the store” or “the bakery” or “the flower shop?”).

However, if your website only has a few products (say 10+) and doesn’t represent several different divisions within your business, then using folders might be better suited for your needs because they’ll help keep things organized by keeping all related content together in one central spot on the web server—and that can help search engines like Google find what they’re looking for more easily when crawling through sites’ pages!

Search engine crawling, indexing and ranking

While it might seem like subfolders are the way to go, they aren’t always the best choice. The main reason for this is that subdomains are often better to separate technically and from an organization standpoint.

This means that if you want your website’s content (and therefore your rankings) to be found by search engines, then a subfolder may be better suited for you.

However, with good technical support any seemingly separated “host” or CMS can be mapped as a sub folder into your main domain.


You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to how you want your website to be organized. You could choose a subdomain, also known as a subfolder, or you could go with a new subdomain. A subdomain has its own unique address (like, while a new subdomain is a separate site on the same domain (like

The choice between using either types of domains is ultimately up to you and your SEO strategy, but there are some general guidelines that can help guide you toward making the best choice:

  • Subdomains are easier to use in aggressive SEO campaigns
  • Subfolders are are easier to handle in your existing CMS

I hope this article has helped you understand the difference between subdomains and subfolders, and in turn make a decision on which to use for your website. Even though it may not be an easy choice, there are some good reasons why one would choose one over the other (whether it’s SEO or usability).

How URLinspector may help

URLinspector allows you to analyze your data by subfolders or subdomains, as you wish. You can even create pivot tables for your data, right from your browser.

Why not give URLinspector a try?

You can setup a free trial for 14 days with URLinspector, and see how it works for you.

Start with 14 days free trial; no credit card is required.

Recent Articles
The 7 Golden Rules of Website Indexing

Don’t let poor indexing hold your website back. Learn why looking after indexing is crucial for search engine visibility, credibility, and revenue.

SEO Expert? Here are 3 Robots.txt examples that you will interpret wrong, guaranteed.

Give us your opinion in the form at the bottom of this page, and get a chance to win 1 Year of URLinspector.

Subdomains or subfolders? Which one should you use for your website?

It’s not an easy decision between subdomains and subfolders, but we think subfolders are the best recommendation for most marketers.