In a previous post about how to edit your WordPress theme, I suggested that in order to learn how WordPress themes work, that you setup a subdomain on your site with a separate WordPress install so you can tinker to your hearts content without having to put your main site in maintenance mode or worse, working on it live.
A subdomain is basically a website in a folder that sits inside your main website. The address of a subdomain generally looks like this: subdomain.maindomain.com but for WordPress theme design and testing, you don’t even need to go so far as configuring the address that way. I access mine through www.maindomain.com/subdomain.
Remember that for SEO purposes, how you lay out your name will give adequate weight to the words you are trying to promote. If you have a specific product going on a subdomain, you may want to do a subdomain.maindomain.com . If you want to make sure your main domain carries the weight however, make sure you add it on the back end in a /subdomain.
A few people had asked HOW to go about setting up a subdomain, so I’m going to walk you through how to do just that.
If you have your own hosting, hopefully you have a cPanel. If you pay for hosting and don’t have a cPanel, you need to switch hosting. We recommend Hostgator hosting for WordPress for a lot of reasons and this is one of them. cPanel is sort of like your WordPress dashboard. In WordPress, you could write and publish posts without your dashboard, but it would be confusing and difficult for the average user. CPanel software that your host installs for you, provides you with a clear, easy-to-use “dashboard” for you hosting.
If you have a cPanel and it has a Fantastico script installer:
If your cPanel or hosting has the Fantastico script installer setup for you to quickly install WordPress, a subdomain will be automatically created for you when you install WordPress. So long as you do it correctly.
Click on Fantastico and select WordPress on the left menu.
On the WordPress page, click “new installation”.
You will then see this screen which you need to fill in:
Notice I have circled the “install in directory” section. If you don’t put a UNIQUE directory name in there you may overwrite your existing site. So make sure you put a unique name there. And this directory should NOT exist, the script will create it for you.
Click on “install WordPress” and wait for the magic to happen. It will give you a link to your new testblog installed in your new subdirectory and away you go!
If you do want to take the next step and make an “official” subdomain out of your new installation, your cPanel will have an icon called subdomains under the domains section. Click on that and there you can create the actual subdomain structure to call your site this way: subdomain.maindomain.com, but again if you are comfortable with this format: www.maindomain.com/subdomain there is no need to setup the subdomain structure.
The document root shown may vary depending upon how your specific site and hosting has things set up.
If you have a cPanel and it DOES NOT have a Fantastico script installer:
If your cPanel does not have the Fantastico installer, you will have to install WordPress manually in your testblog via your cPanel file manager or FTP. Creating the subdirectory for the install is fairly simple via your cPanel file manager or FTP. Just create a new empty directory under your main directory and install WordPress into it. Visit WordPress.org for download and install instructions. They are fairly simple and straightforward.
If you do not have a cPanel:
We had this discussion already, but seriously…get hosting with a cPanel…
I would imagine your hosting has some sort of file manager or that you have FTP access. You pretty much need to follow the instructions above for a cPanel without Fantastico.