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Creating a forum - in a subdomain or a subdirectory?

What to consider here?



10:12 am on May 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have a web page www.example.com which has content about widget operation, is fairly visited, and has a medium PR in Google.
Now I want to set up a forum discussing the operation of those widgets, related to the content of the main web pages.

Now what would be the pro's and con's to set up the forum as an own subdomain
or just in a subdirectory to the main page

Would external incoming links to the forum help the ranking of the main page equally in both cases, or not?

Any thoughts on this would be highly appreciated.
Thanks and regards,


2:18 pm on May 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I can't find the reference, but I think there was recently some general discussion of www.example.com/widgets/ vs. widgets.example.com, and the subdirectory approach was favored from the standpoint of SE performance.

Looking specifically at Google, a subdomain will be a different site, and hence will have its own PR rather than being part of a single site's integrated PR structure.

Overall, I don't think a forum is a substantially different situation than another topic. However, if a forum is successful, it may end up dwarfing the rest of the site in size and traffic.


2:48 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lorax is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I made the one forum I run a sub-domain. I did this primarily for simplicity sake - i.e. the URIs for the forum were far too messy for my liking. I also had in mind the SEs and wanted to see how they'd read/rank it.


10:03 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member eliteweb is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I did subdomain because it had enough content and activity that people wanted to go to it easily enough. In return it got listed in directories seperate than my main site because it offered great content, and I called the forum another name, that is what it got listed under.



6:14 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The sub-domain option allows for easier moving to a different server if you ever wanted to.


1:48 am on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I had my forum set up as a subdomain (which I preferred), but then I wanted to extend the functionality of the registration and login system to my entire site (one login for forum & member area) - it turned out the easiest way to do this was to move the forum to a subdirectory to avoid "root path" and redirection conflicts. You may want to consider the capabilities/flexibility of the forum software you're using in your decision process. :)


7:37 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

thank you all for your valuable hints and information.
I will now start the forum in a sub-directory to help it from the main page's PR-context in its early days. If it will grow and develop properly, then I will probably move it to a sub-domain or even an own domain later.
The forum will be based on YaBB, so it should be easy to move it and just change the forum's domain/link/path configuration and set some redirects.

Thanks again and regards,


11:09 pm on Jun 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A subdomain allows a much more memorable url most people will goto a homepage and then click a link to the forum if the forum is located as


than if the forum is located at


it is specific to your own website if you want all traffic entering the site via the homepage mayb because of statistics or because adverts are based around the homepage rather than forum

personaly i feel that

[dl.example.com...] -downloads
[kb.example.com...] -knowledge base

looks much more professional and takes people to exactly where they want to go


10:36 pm on Jun 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I kind of like the subdomain approach too, as a popular forum can become a huge percent of site content. But the unified login capability can be important, too. Busynut mentions that a subdomain can complicate this - how difficult are these issues to overcome with a subdomain-based forum?

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