AWS gives you the power to easily and dynamically create file systems, block storage volumes, relational databases, NoSQL databases, and other resources that store precious data. You can create them on a moment’s notice as the need arises, giving you access to as much storage as you need and opening the door to large-scale cloud migration. When you bring your sensitive data to the cloud, you need to make sure that you continue to meet business and regulatory compliance requirements, and you definitely want to make sure that you are protected against application errors.
While you can build your own backup tools using the built-in snapshot operations built in to many of the services that I listed above, creating an enterprise wide backup strategy and the tools to implement it still takes a lot of work. We are changing that.
New AWS Backup AWS Backup is designed to help you automate and centrally manage your backups. You can create policy-driven backup plans, monitor the status of on-going backups, verify compliance, and find / restore backups, all using a central console. Using a combination of the existing AWS snapshot operations and new, purpose-built backup operations, Backup backs up EBS volumes, EFS file systems, RDS & Aurora databases, DynamoDB tables, and Storage Gateway volumes to Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), with the ability to tier older backups to Amazon Glacier. Because Backup includes support for Storage Gateway volumes, you can include your existing, on-premises data in the backups that you create.
Each backup plan includes one or more backup rules. The rules express the backup schedule, frequency, and backup window. Resources to be backed-up can be identified explicitly or in a policy-driven fashion using tags. Lifecycle rules control storage tiering and expiration of older backups. Backup gathers the set of snapshots and the metadata that goes along with the snapshots into collections that define a recovery point. You get lots of control so that you can define your daily / weekly / monthly backup strategy, the ability to rest assured that your critical data is being backed up in accord with your requirements, and the ability to restore that data on an as-needed data. Backups are grouped into vaults, each encrypted by a KMS key.
Using AWS Backup You can get started with AWS Backup in minutes. Open the AWS Backup Console and click Create backup plan:
I can build a plan from scratch, start from an existing plan or define one using JSON. I’ll Build a new plan, and start by giving my plan a name:
Now I create the first rule for my backup plan. I call it MainBackup, indicate that I want it to run daily, define the lifecycle (transition to cold storage after 1 month, expire after 6 months), and select the Default vault:
I can tag the recovery points that are created as a result of this rule, and I can also tag the backup plan itself:
I’m all set, so I click Create plan to move forward:
At this point my plan exists and is ready to run, but it has just one rule and does not have any resource assignments (so there’s nothing to back up):
Now I need to indicate which of my resources are subject to this backup plan I click Assign resources, and then create one or more resource assignments. Each assignment is named and references an IAM role that is used to create the recovery point. Resources can be denoted by tag or by resource ID, and I can use both in the same assignment. I enter all of the values and click Assign resources to wrap up:
The next step is to wait for the first backup job to run (I cheated by editing my backup window in order to get this post done as quickly as possible). I can peek at the Backup Dashboard to see the overall status:
Backups On Demand I also have the ability to create a recovery point on demand for any of my resources. I choose the desired resource and designate a vault, then click Create an on-demand backup:
I indicated that I wanted to create the backup right away, so a job is created:
The job runs to completion within minutes:
Inside a Vault I can also view my collection of vaults, each of which contains multiple recovery points:
I can examine see the list of recovery points in a vault:
I can inspect a recovery point, and then click Restore to restore my table (in this case):
I’ve shown you the highlights, and you can discover the rest for yourself!
Things to Know Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you are evaluating AWS Backup:
Services – We are launching with support for EBS volumes, RDS databases, DynamoDB tables, EFS file systems, and Storage Gateway volumes. We’ll add support for additional services over time, and welcome your suggestions. Backup uses the existing snapshot operations for all services except EFS file systems.
Programmatic Access – You can access all of the functions that I showed you above using the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) and the AWS Backup APIs. The APIs are powerful integration points for your existing backup tools and scripts.
Regions – Backups work within the scope of a particular AWS Region, with plans in the works to enable several different types of cross-region functionality in 2019.
Pricing – You pay the normal AWS charges for backups that are created using the built-in AWS snapshot facilities. For Amazon EFS, there’s a low, per-GB charge for warm storage and an even lower charge for cold storage.
Available Now AWS Backup is available now and you can start using it today!
When you spend a lot of time and energy to put together a WordPress website, you naturally want people to visit it. Otherwise, what’s the point?
In order to get views, you probably already know a bit about Search Engine Optimization (SEO): the technique used by online marketers to ensure that a website will be in the top search engine results for certain keywords related to a business or blog.
But while Google and other search engines may try to hold back on revealing everything about their ranking algorithms, there is a way to predict your search engine score—Domain Authority.
Continue reading All About Domain Authority at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
As you work through your long list of things to take care of before you launch your business, you’ll need a website, and of course, a domain name. Consider this your easy guide to choosing the right domain name for your business.
Why Domain Names are So Important
You may have found during your research that you could snag a free domain name (also called a URL) from sites like WordPress, Blogger, etc. But in reality, a free domain name could hurt your business more than it helps. Besides the fact that you’re essentially advertising that brand rather than your own (usually the sites are something like mybusiness.wordpress.com or mybusiness.blogspot.com), there are other reasons why buying your own URL is the right decision.
They brand your business: If possible, your domain name should either contain your business name or keywords that relate to your brand. Your domain name is like your digital calling card. When people see the URL or you tell it to them, they should get a sense of what your business does, even if they don’t know. When you see the domain name SocialMediaToday.com, you know that the site will deal with social media in some way (it’s a resource for news on the subject). And Amazon.com has become ubiquitous: no need to spell out the domain name! The branding is built in.
You’ll use this URL for the foreseeable future: Consider your domain name as a tattoo. Sure, you can get it lasered off down the road if you regret it, but it’s a lot of trouble. Once you choose your domain name, you’ll print it on business cards and any marketing collateral. You’ll work on your search engine optimization so that people can find you online. All this work would be for naught if you decided to change your URL in six months.
It will make you look more professional: It’s easy and cheap to get a free domain with someone else’s brand name in it but it may communicate that you’re not serious about your business. Buying a domain isn’t expensive, and literally takes just a few minutes. But the result is that you now look more professional, and people will be confident in spending money with you.
Now let’s look at what you need to know how to choose your domain name.
Start with Your Business Name
In a perfect world, you could buy a URL with your business name, but these days, competition is fierce. Do a search for your business name to see if others are using domain names that might easily be confused with yours (you might not want to buy PoshPuppyBoutique.net since there’s already someone using PoshPuppyBoutique.com, or you might lose business to them since the site name is so similar).
If your business name is not available, look for SEO-friendly keywords that relate to what you sell, like SanDiego-Art.org. This will help you rise up search results for that keyword phrase.
Make Sure It’s Pronounceable and Short
Realize that you will be speaking your domain name out loud a lot, so avoid dashes and other things that make it hard for people to find you. It’s much easier for people to process you saying that your site is Pencils.com than Pencil.Collectors_PA.com.
Consider your Domain Extensions
As competition heats up for .com domain extensions, we’re starting to see some interesting ones like .art, .vip, .club. If you can find one that’s relevant to your type of business, you may be able to get the domain name you want with a different extension (and these are usually cheaper).
Know that some online forms don’t recognize these more unique extensions yet so you may have trouble filling out forms where your website or email address is required.
Set Up Your Domain Email
There’s one final step once you’ve chosen your domain name: setting up your domain email. Using an email address with your domain ending is more professional than using a Gmail or Hotmail account. People expect to get emails from a brand with the domain name (firstname.lastname@example.org) so your emails will make it to their inboxes, whereas a Gmail email might not (email@example.com).
When you choose your email address, make it easy to spell. Something like firstname.lastname@example.org is easy to remember and rattle off when people ask you for your email address rather than Sales_and_marketing.email@example.com. You can also create emails for different departments (even if you’re a one-person show), like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Be consistent with the email addresses for all employees, if you have a team.
Your domain name and website are your digital credentials. It’s important that you look professional and by investing a little time and money into the process of choosing your domain name and setting up your website, you can do just that. But once you do, you instantly establish credibility, and that helps get sales rolling in.
By Drew Hornbein I’m a freelance consultant in Denver who’s been working on my own for nearly 15 years. It’s awesome: I’m my own boss, I choose who I work for, the work is varied and interesting, I have the freedom to travel, and pants are optional (in my home office anyway). This is what […]
The post Come build a powerful network of freelancers in Denver appeared first on Name.com Blog.
If you are a long-time reader, you may have already figured out that I am fascinated by the behind-the-scenes and beneath-the-streets activities that enable and power so much of our modern world. For example, late last year I told you how The AWS Cloud Goes Underground at re:Invent and shared some information about the communication and network infrastructure that was used to provide top-notch connectivity to re:Invent attendees and to those watching the keynotes and live streams from afar.
Today, with re:Invent 2018 in the rear-view mirror (and planning for next year already underway), I would like to tell you how 5-time re:Invent Network Services Provider CenturyLink designed and built a redundant, resilient network that used AWS Direct Connect to provide 180 Gbps of bandwidth and supported over 81,000 devices connected across eight venues. Above the ground, we worked closely with ShowNets to connect their custom network and WiFi deployment in each venue to the infrastructure provided by CenturyLink.
The 2018 re:Invent Network This year, the network included diverse routes to multiple AWS regions, with a brand-new multi-node metro fiber ring that encompassed the Sands Expo, Wynn Resort, Circus Circus, Mirage, Vdara, Bellagio, Aria, and MGM Grand facilities. Redundant 10 Gbps connections to each venue and to multiple AWS Direct Connect locations were used to ensure high availability. The network was provisioned using CenturyLink Cloud Connect Dynamic Connections.
Here’s a network diagram (courtesy of CenturyLink) that shows the metro fiber ring and the connectivity:
The network did its job, and supported keynotes, live streams, breakout sessions, hands-on labs, hackathons, workshops, and certification exams. Here are the final numbers, as measured on-site at re:Invent 2018:
Live Streams – Over 60K views from over 100 countries.
Peak Data Transfer – 9.5 Gbps across six 10 Gbps connections.
Total Data Transfer – 160 TB.
Thanks again to our Managed Service Partner for building and running the robust network that supported our customers, partners, and employees at re:Invent!
WordPress is the world’s leading content management system and site builder, powering about a third of the world’s personal and...
The post How to Use WordPress Homepage Settings appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.
WordPress has a fairly simple interface, but there is a lot happening beneath the surface that you don’t see. Every page load and configuration change may trigger dozens of functions which, in turn, may trigger dozens more. Most of the time, the activity is hidden and that’s a good thing: you don’t need to know… Continue reading →
When WP Engine acquired StudioPress in June 2018, a vision we jointly shared was the desire to invest additional resources in the Genesis Framework and help it evolve. For those new to WordPress, Genesis is the most popular WordPress theme framework among web developers and digital marketers today. More than 1 million WordPress sites use…
The post Introducing Genesis 2.8—The Best Way to Build Future-Proof WordPress Themes appeared first on WP Engine.
When it comes to finding the best WordPress Hosting provider, your options may seem infinite. We understand that the choices can be overwhelming as basically all hosts offer similar options. Here is a breakdown of some important factors for you to consider before deciding on your provider.
WordPress hosting providers should offer these core features:
Automatic WordPress updates (with a pre-update backup and rollback capability)
24/7 security monitoring and additional malware and firewall protection
Web servers that are optimized for WordPress
Free website migration
Guaranteed high-performance results
While we have several packages that may interest you, we thought we would point out the benefits of other hosts to demonstrate how InMotion Hosting stands out from the crowd.
Continue reading How the Best WordPress Hosting Sites Stand Out at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
In our working lives we’re all more than ever reliant on technology. But the world of computers and other gadgets moves fast, which means it’s a rare business that doesn’t have a dusty corner somewhere that’s filled with old kit awaiting disposal. Getting rid of e-waste can be tricky because it often contains hazardous materials
The post A Business Guide to Recycling E-Waste appeared first on Pickaweb.
While many visitors may enter your site for the first time through a blog post, your homepage is the virtual front door of your WordPress blog. When someone visits your site directly through your main URL, it is the first page of your website they will see.
Your homepage represents the first opportunity to make an impression. In mere seconds, visitors need to be able to quickly figure out if they are in the right place and whether or not your blog is what they have been looking for.
Defining the purpose of your website and homepage is the first step in creating a blog strategy that will attract new readers and future clients, customers, and partners.
Your Website And Homepage May Have Different Goals
While the overall goal of your website is to persuade visitors to hire you, buy from you, or learn from you, the goal of your homepage may be to simply get visitors to realize they are in the right place and click past the homepage to click through your blog posts, increase ad views, or visit your core sales and conversion pages.
Trying to make a sale right on your homepage is like asking someone to marry you on the first date! It’s probably not going to happen because they don’t know you yet, they haven’t decided if they like you yet, and they haven’t built any trust in you yet. As a result, they aren’t ready to take action.
Set Aside Time To Focus On Your Homepage
Set aside time to focus on the homepage as a whole and decide what you need to communicate on it. We recommend at least a few hours to first get your ideas and messages out on paper and get a rough idea of what your homepage may look like.
Then walk away and come back to it in a day or two with a fresh perspective. The goal is to refine the page organization and ensure each element, image, block of content, and call to action button has a clear purpose to move a new visitor past the homepage into your site.
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How To Create An Effective Website Homepage
Here are a few blog homepage design tips to help you get started:
Keep It Simple And Clear
Don’t try to tell your entire story and communicate everything you think someone needs to know in one giant homepage. Keep your content simple and focused while you drive them further into your website to explore and learn more.
Use Basic Language
Don’t try to be too creative, clever, or cutesy. Instead, focus on making sure a new visitor can get a quick snapshot of what you do in 5 seconds or less.
Make It About Your Client
Your homepage needs to answer the questions:
Is this what I am looking for?
Am I in the right place?
What are my options?
Remember, you want to get them interested enough to click to the next page
Treat It Like The First Step
A date is the first step, not marriage. Getting people to your homepage and interested in learning more is the first step, not a sale or opt-in! Be sure to create clear paths (funnels) through the site to your conversion pages and tell them exactly what to do next with crystal clear calls to action.
Make Content Easy To Access
Give visitors more than one way to reach your most valuable content. Include links in your website navigation menu, in the page content, and in the footer or sidebar. Don’t forget social media links.
Use A Lot Of Visuals
No one wants to read an essay online. Photos grab attention faster than text, so use strategic visuals that reinforce your message to add interest to the page.
Everything on your Home page can’t be big and bold and crammed at the top of the page — if you tried that, nothing would stand out. Instead, once you have decided exactly what your home page must communicate, prioritize the information so you know what needs the most attention, and what needs the least. Make sure your content marketing plan echoes your priorities set for your homepage.
Tell A Story With Your Homepage
Ticking with the idea that your homepage is the virtual front door of your WordPress blog, one of the easiest approaches to creating an effective homepage design that encourages visitors to stay longer and look around is to tell a story.
Hopefully, you’ve already carefully planned your blog’s navigation menu that includes links to the most important content on your website. If this is true, you’ve already got the outline for your homepage story done.
An effective homepage design begins with a brief statement or headline and sub-headline that clearly communicate who the blog is for and what the blog is about. This is meant to introduce new visitors to your site and help them quickly figure out if they’re in the right place.
After that, as the visitor moves down the homepage from top to bottom, the content blocks or sections should tell the same story the navigation tells, but in a more descriptive, compelling, inviting way—and each block/section should include a link. This way, visitors can access your most important content in the navigation menu or in the content when they feel compelled to do so.
Take A Look At Your Homepage
Now, what about your blog’s homepage? Does it tell your story? Is it simple, clear, and all about your readers? Is it visually interesting? Is it easy to access your most important content?
If you answered no to any of these questions, maybe it’s time for you to revisit your homepage and set aside time to rethink your new visitor introduction strategy.
Need a Managed Solution?
With Managed WordPress from Liquid Web, you can focus on creating an effective homepage while we take care of WordPress and plugin updates and image compression for you.
The post How Do I Design An Effective Homepage For My WordPress Blog? appeared first on Liquid Web.
Promotional events are the lifeblood of face to face marketing strategies, bringing the benefits of digital and offline channels together to create a powerful and immediate experience for your target audience. Whether it’s a product launch, marketing campaign preview or brand experience of some kind, the level and quality of the brand exposure you can
The post How To Run a Successful Promotional Event appeared first on Pickaweb.
In this episode, Simon speaks with Andrew Crudge (Senior Product Manager, FSx) about this newly released service, capabilities available to customers and how to make the best use of it in your environment.
FSx for Windows File Server
FSx Getting Started
FSx for Windows Tech Talk
FSx Technical Documentation
Join the Discussion
About the AWS Podcast
The AWS Podcast is a cloud platform podcast for developers, dev ops, and cloud professionals seeking the latest news and trends in storage, security, infrastructure, serverless, and more. Join Simon Elisha and Jeff Barr for regular updates, deep dives and interviews. Whether you’re building machine learning and AI models, open source projects, or hybrid cloud solutions, the AWS Podcast has something for you. Subscribe with one of the following:
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Rate us on iTunes and send your suggestions, show ideas, and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear from you!
Conventional wisdom holds that you should place your calls-to-action at the top of the page, above the fold. And that makes sense, right? You want your audience to see your CTA immediately in case they never scroll down. Well, not so fast. That may make sense in some cases, but it’s not necessarily best practice. Where you place your CTA largely depends on your business, your target audience and your overall goal, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Continue reading Where’s the Best Spot to Place a Call to Action (CTA) on Your Website? at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
Wireless internet coupled with streaming video has completely changed the landscape of not just what we do online, but also how we market to people using the web. Video is now becoming so ubiquitous that even many of the main news agencies are replacing traditional articles with videos.
And now, video is so easy to make because most of us have a camera in our pockets in the form of a smartphone. And for those who want something clearer, many higher-resolution video cameras are available cheaply.
Continue reading Using Video to Market Your Small Business at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems and site builders in the world, powering over 75 billion...
The post How to Make a WordPress Website appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.
With so many options available for a hosting WordPress website solution, the choices can be overwhelming. This is something you’ll have to think about whether it’s a new site or one that suddenly sees an increase in traffic. So how do you choose? Well, there are four commonly used hosting options: shared hosting, WordPress hosting, Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and dedicated servers. We’ve broken them down for you, but if you have any additional questions, please leave them in comments or feel free to contact our WordPress Hosting Experts at any time.
Continue reading WordPress Website Hosting Woes – A Breakdown for Beginners at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
Email spam has been annoying internet users for years, but few people are aware of the extent to which it remains the leading cause of malware. All active business and personal accounts are constantly bombarded with unwanted traffic, and practically all email systems now use policy-based filtering tools to label and separate spam. Many of these emails are malicious in nature, and because spam is an effective tool for cybercriminals, they continue to use it. Email spam is evolving and becoming more sophisticated, specifically designed to evade policy-based filters and fool the account holder into clicking a link.
The results of that one click can vary, but often it leads to the installation of malware. The Center for Internet Security (CIS) posts regular updates of the top vectors for initial infection by the most prominent known malware types. Its August 2018 report shows that aside from a blip caused by the WannaCry ransomware outbreak, email spam has remained the top source of malware infection every month, and the CIS explains that it “continues to dominate as the primary infection vector.”
Further, cybersecurity company F-Secure issued a report earlier this year indicating that malicious attachments, phishing, and spear-phishing (most of which is conducted through email) account for more than a third of all cyber attacks. The cybersecurity stance of every business should reflect this reality, but many are not even aware of it.
Malware takes many forms. It describes a wide range of threats, including viruses, Trojans, and worms. At its most benign, it delivers an avalanche of advertising, which is annoying and often difficult to get rid of. At its most harmful, it results in a large-scale data breach and attacks on your customers, or extortion by hackers for sensitive information or control of the business’ IT system.
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An Evolving Threat
Many of the emails in your spam folder are basically advertising. A smaller number are attempting to trick you into clicking on a malicious link or attachment. Malicious links generally deliver users to websites that are designed to trick them either into entering personal information or into downloading malware. Malicious attachments are themselves malware, and often download even more malware once they are installed.
People have generally become aware of the threat of suspicious email attachments enough to avoid clicking on those that are obviously not from colleagues or businesses they normally deal with. Those emails will also most likely be recognized by the filter of even a modest email security system.
In order to defeat the email scanning and automatic, policy-based filtering systems businesses use, criminals have adapted their approach. Spam emails in some cases appear to be from co-workers, business or personal contacts, or companies the account-holder is a customer of. Evolved spam usually delivers malware by convincing email users that the link or attachment is a security patch or other software update, an urgent business matter, or a personal document.
There are many tricks used by spammers to make their malware-delivering emails appear legitimate. Most people have seen malicious emails that take the form of crude imitations, often given away by spelling or grammar errors, lengthy URLs that end in an unfamiliar extension, such as the country code for Tokelau, or unrealistic claims. Some fake emails, however, are crafted by professional criminals and are sophisticated enough to appear legitimate to a cursory examination from both email security tools and the end user.
As a technical arms-race has developed between spammers and the cybersecurity industry, the combination of robust security systems and user awareness has become necessary to protect businesses of all sizes from the costly threat of malware.
Cybercriminals are well aware of the need for security systems to avoid false positives when identifying spam, lest they accidentally filter out important business emails.
Protecting Your Inbox
A web host offering premium business email should provide advanced protection from email threats through partnerships with leading cybersecurity technology companies. The reason partnerships are so important is that there are a number of different technologies for scanning, comparing, and isolating unwanted from wanted email, that all need to be applied to protect against the various different types and sources of spam.
Premium spam protection for business email utilizes a comprehensive approach with different tools. An initial scan can evaluate each email for compliance with the rigorous technical standards that are internationally recognized for electronic communications, and compare it against blacklists of known spammers. A pattern-recognizing tool can filter out a large amount of spam in real-time, and advanced fingerprinting compares message characteristics to the Global Threat Network. Finally, all incoming emails should be scanned on different layers to reveal viruses hidden in the message body or attachments.
One of Liquid Web’s technology partners for email security is Rackspace. Rackspace has recently upgraded its industry-leading Webmail client with improved security communication to protect businesses from emails deemed “suspicious.” Email that is marked “suspicious” has not been triggered a policy failure, and been filtered out, but has failed some validations. Rackspace has also added a function to the spam folder to block images, links, and attachments that could be included as triggers for malicious content. The person who receives the message can still interact with it, but he or she must drag it into a different folder first. Adding a step to the process reinforces the importance of treating spam folder contents as dangerous. Rackspace also now displays any discrepancy between the from email address provided in the message and the Return-Path address, which is a common sign that the message is a spoof or phishing email.
In combination, the layered capabilities of a quality professional email security service catch the maximum number of malware threats, including the subtle fakes most likely to trick employees and support the safest business email practices. A well-architected suite of complimentary industry-leading spam control tools is necessary to protect practically all businesses from malware.
Common misconceptions about spam being a mere annoyance, along with increasingly sophisticated malware delivery systems, are a costly problem for businesses. The risk of a malware infection delivered through email spam is one of the most important reasons that most businesses should use a professional email service rather than free built-in server email. A free service is attractive for businesses in early stages, but with costs associated with disk usage and system resources, as well as significant security risks, they can quickly become far more costly than the alternative. A quality professional email service with spam protection saves more than the annoyance. It could save your business.
Premium Business Email from Liquid Web
Premium Business Email from Liquid Web equips your inbox and your team with the technology necessary to stay productive while being protected from outside malicious attacks such as advertising or spoofing emails.
The post Protecting Your Inbox From The Evolving Threat of Email Spam appeared first on Liquid Web.
As business leaders, it’s part of our job to prepare for the unexpected, and that includes our IT systems. While severe weather-related outages and cybersecurity breaches make the news, even the smallest disruptions – from power outages to software viruses to equipment failures – can impact your IT systems, and ultimately, your customers. That’s why […]
The post Disaster Recovery Explained for Business Leaders appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.
You might think you have a firm grasp on what a subdomain is. After all, the name is rather obvious and a bit of a spoiler alert. But subdomains are filled with plenty of little intricacies that make them a unique member of the Internet ecosystem.
And while you might feel confident about what a subdomain is, you might not be aware of everything you can use a subdomain for, or the challenges that come along with having a subdomain. For example, do you know the impact subdomains can have on your website’s search engine ranking?
In this post, we’re going to dig into all things subdomains, so you can be much more confident about your subdomain knowledge than you were before.
It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com.
What is a subdomain?
A subdomain is, as the name would suggest, an additional section of your main domain name. You create subdomains to help organize and navigate to different sections of your main website. Within your main domain, you can have as many subdomains as necessary to get to all of the different pages of your website.
Here’s an example to give you a better visual.
Let’s say you sell refrigerators at your main webpage, isellrefrigerators.com. If you sell your fancy food coolers online, you need to have an ecommerce store. This should be a part of your main website, which will then require a subdomain. The URL for your web store then becomes store.isellrefrigerators.com.
Therefore, “store” is your subdomain, while “isellrefrigerators” is your main domain. The “.com” is your top level domain. You can actually use any text you’d like as your subdomain, but it’s in your best interest to make it something that’s easy for users to type and remember.
Subdomains make internet life easier
You should be quite thankful for the existence of subdomains, whether you’re a web browser or the person building a website. The DNS, or Domain Name System, exists to make our lives easier. Because of the DNS, we only need to remember the names of a subdomain, rather than a random string of numbers.
The Domain Name System (DNS) is in place to create an Internet hierarchy to regulate the domains and subdomains. These rules say that the domains always go right to left. Therefore the “.com” in store.isellrefrigerators.com is the top level domain, “Isellrefrigerators” is the second level domain, and “store” is the subdomain.
Companies make money by selling subdomains
There are people and companies out there that have created a lucrative business model by selling subdomains. To do this, they buy attractive domain names and sell the registrations to the subdomains.
Other platforms, like WordPress or WebsiteBuilder, use a similar business model by allowing users to create their own profiles, on their own unique subdomains, underneath the same root domain. That’s why every WordPress site has both the unique name as well as the domain in the URL.
How to use a subdomain
While a subdomain is part of the main website, it’s considered a separate entity by search engines. People recognized this and decided to use subdomains to organize their website, without allowing certain parts of the site to be indexed by Google.
Companies use subdomains for a variety of reasons. Mainly, it’s to give a webpage a separate identity in search engine results while also keeping it a part of the main website.
When testing out your new website
One of the most common uses of subdomains is to use them as a testing ground for when you’re updating or creating a new version of your website. You can actually install a program like WordPress on your subdomain and use it as a completely separate entity from your main website. You can also test your updates and plugins on your subdomain to see how they perform before you publish them to your live site.
When using subdomains as a testing ground, the subdomain will typically be something that web users won’t think to type in, since you don’t want them to see the content yet. They act as “hidden” pages where you can safely test new features before it is ready to go live.
Create subdomains for specific users or clients
Let’s say you are making a pitch to a client to create their new website. You can create a subdomain that is specifically intended for them to give an idea of what their new website might look like. This is hosted on your own main domain, while retaining ownership of the subdomain. You can then customize the site to your client’s needs.
Another example is if a restaurant group opens a new location. You can then add the new restaurant to the parent site, and create a web page for the new location. This keeps the new restaurant under your overall umbrella, while giving it its own online identity.
Cater to different niches of users
There might be times when you need your web content to appeal to different types of users. For instance, if you have a lot of international visitors, you may need to translate your website into different languages. If so, you can create subdomains of your website so users can browse in their native language.
It’s often easier (and more cost-effective) to create separate pages than to have one multilingual site.
Sometimes, you may also need to cater your web content to different regions. The best example of this is Craigslist, which has separate subdomains for different regions. The websites are optimized for each specific region, but are all hosted on a master domain.
Detach your blog from your main website
It can sometimes be a good idea to break your blog off from your main site onto a subdomain. Maybe your blog following has grown and is slowing down your main site, or maybe because you want to switch up your blog design. You can also change your blog to a different CMS.
But overall, you might want to move your blog because it serves a different purpose than your main domain. Depending on what your main domain does, it might make sense to move your blog to a subdomain so they can exist separately, while still being tied together under your main domain.
Move your ecommerce site
Likewise, you may want to get your ecommerce page off of your main domain for the same sort of reasons. The goal of your main site may not be to make sales, and if you have a lot of traffic, or tons of products, it can slow down your pages, creating a poor user experience. Switching to a subdomain helps things move more smoothly and make your ecommerce site more accessible to your customers.
Create a separate site for mobile
A subdomain can also be utilized to provide a more mobile-friendly experience for your site visitors. Search engines like Google can recognize the type of device a searcher is using, and will serve the version of your website that gives them the best user experience. You can create separate versions of your website that cater to mobile, and even more specifically, to each screen size.
This adaptive approach gives users a unique experience, catered specifically to the type of device they’re currently using. Each of these different layouts have their own specific subdomain. Providing a mobile-friendly subdomain is a must in today’s world, where more users are conducting searches on smartphones than on other devices.
Subdomains vs. subdirectories
Subdirectories are another similar form of subfolders that can be used as extensions of your main root domain. While a subdomain typically comes before the main domain in your URL, a subdirectory would come after. Using our earlier example, isellrefrigerators.com, if you were to add the store as a subdirectory instead of a subdomain, it would appear as isellrefrigerators.com/store.
There is much debate over whether subdomains or subdirectories are better when it comes to organizing your website and your many subfolders, especially in regards to search engine optimization. Let’s quickly look at some of the pros and cons of each.
Because subdomains are regarded as separate websites by Google, they also need to be hosted on separate hosting plans. This means that you will need to pay a separate hosting fee for each subdomain. Hopefully, you have a web registrar that offers discounts for multiple hosting accounts, otherwise, this can grow to be quite costly.
Meanwhile, you only have to pay one hosting fee when you use subdirectories. The amount of your hosting fee will depend on the overall size of your website, as well as how much speed is required for loading content.
With a subdomain, you can customize your website content to cater to different regions, users, and products. If you need unique content for each of your different subdomains, this can be a valuable feature. It also helps to optimize each subdomain for local search results.
However, if you don’t really need to create such highly-customized content, you may be better off using a subdirectory. This may be much easier to manage, and doesn’t include the extra hosting fees. Whether a subdomain or subdirectory is a better choice here depends on your specific website needs.
Which is better for SEO?
It used to be thought that subdomains and subdirectories were equals when it came to their impact on SEO. In fact, in 2012 Google spokesperson, Matt Cutts, said there were “roughly equivalent,” adding that Google saw them as one domain. However, this thinking appears to be shifting.
Search engines now keep different metrics for domains than they do for subdomains. For that reason, it is better for the webmaster to place their link-worthy content (ex: blogs) in subdirectories rather than in subdomains. Therefore, isellrefrigerators.com/blog would be a better option than blog.isellrefrigerators.com.
An exception for this is when you require language-specific websites, in which cases using subdomains is still the better option. Subdomains were previously preferred by webmasters because they were able to stuff subdomains with the keywords that they wanted to target in rankings. The goal was to load the search engine results pages (SERPs) with the given keyword using their main domain and subdomain pages. However, Google caught onto this loophole and began to crack down on the practice.
Now, when they make the connection, Google consolidates the search results and displays just one domain to the given search result. Stuffing subdomains with keywords to attempt this strategy can now lead to penalization by Google.
The right choice for your website needs
Whether you choose to use a subdomain or subdirectory comes down to what your website needs to accomplish. Overall, search engine rankings are determined by quality content more than anything. A subdomain can be an effective tool to help you organize your website more efficiently, and when used correctly, will not negatively impact your website’s SEO. However, subdomains may be best used when you want the content to be private and not for your public sites.
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