Subdomains or subdirectories

I'm trying to setup a new network and need some advice on which structure to use -subdomains or subdirectories.

The network i am building will be similar to say schools in a state. So for example i have a list of 3000 schools that i will want to add onto my nework with basic contacts details etc and a few plugins like articles and videos that i have preselected for them. Users that pay to to activate their account will then be able to make changes to these articles and videos etc.

I would prefer to use sub domains as the ministies name will appear first but i am worried that setting up as subdomains will mean a huge amount of work.

Can you please advise which method i should use?

  • Jonathan
    • The Incredible Code Injector


    I would definitely use subdomains.

    I've used both and actually use subdirectories a lot more, but that is for an extension of my existing website(s), or for running a small network.

    But considering you are going to be dealing with 3000 schools, the safest, easiest option is with out a doubt subdomains.

    I'm pretty sure everyone would agree with me on that :wink:

    Work wise - they are about the same. subdomains has a few extra steps (setting up wildcard) etc, but subdirectories over the long term are more work (in my opinion)

  • jc786
    • Flash Drive

    Hi thanks for the quick reply,
    Why do you say it is definately the way to go? what is the disadvantage of using subfolders?

    Also, I checked with my host company and they told me i have to manualy setup each sub domain through the cPanel. and am i right in thinking that the wp control panel would create the subfolders automatically for each mini site i setup? Consdering i have 3000 mini sotes to setup albeit with basic contact details, the workload is a major concern for me.

    Maybe i havent understood how wp ms sets up the mini sites.


  • Jonathan
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    I checked with my host company and they told me i have to manualy setup each sub domain through the cPanel

    :slight_frown: that means you're most probably on shared hosting (they don't support wildcard subdomains)
    wildcard means that when wordpress creates a subsite - it automatically creates the subdomain - so that is why it is the best choice - automatic and simple.
    the * could be anything meaning wildcard

    But, if your host doesn't support wildcard subdomains, then I'm afraid the only choice is subfolders. To manually create 3000 subdomains doesn't sound like fun :slight_frown:

    The first disadvantage is that wordpress multisite doesn't like shared hosting. You will get away with it for awhile, but sooner or later you are going to bottleneck.
    Its like Captain Kirk was always demanding more out of his Chief Engineer on Star Trek by saying, “Scotty, we need more power.” Well your shared server is going to do the same, and there ain't going to be any. And you will get a nice email asking you to upgrade to xyz package from your host.

    Disadvantages of subfolders - your main site will have blog in the url structure

    Otherwise it isn't as bad as some folks make it out to be :wink:

  • DavidM
    • DEV MAN’s Mascot

    Well said Jonathan. The sub-directories issue hasn't been an issue for myself. I rarely find the need to use sub-domains myself, as top level domains are far preferred for my use.

    And yeah, I can attest to shared hosting not being optimal for multisite use. The limits can be reached quite quickly as it has for myself.


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