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Domains »Map a Subdomain

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Subdomain Explanation

A subdomain is a second website that’s part of a larger domain, and can have its own content. You can setup a subdomain for a domain you own, even one registered through another registrar.

For example, subdomains can help if you already have a domain, like yourgroovydomain.com, but want to separate content from your main site. You can setup blog.yourgroovydomain.com as a completely separate blog.

To use a subdomain, you have to add a mapping subscription. If your custom domain is not registered or pointed to WordPress.com already, you’ll then have to configure DNS changes with the registrar or whoever manages its DNS settings.


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Mapping a Subdomain to Your WordPress.com Site

If you want to map a subdomain so it points to your WordPress.com sites, there are a few steps we need to follow:

If the domain is registered or managed at WordPress.com:

These steps only work if you are mapping a subdomain to another site belonging to the same account as the root domain. If you’re looking to map a subdomain registered on WordPress.com to a site on a different account, follow the steps in the next section.

If the domain is not registered or managed at WordPress.com (ie, GoDaddy, 1&1, etc):

For sites not on our Business plan:

For sites on our Business plan:

Adding a Mapping Subscription

 If you have more than one site, go to My Sites → Switch Site and make sure to choose the site you want to add the domain to before following these steps.

To add a subdomain to your WordPress.com site, first add a mapping subscription.

  • Go to My Site → Domains and click Add a Domain.
  • Select Already own a domain?
Domains is already owned
  • On the next page, select Map Your Domain
  • Enter the entire subdomain you want to use, such as blog.mygroovydomain.com and click Add.

If your domain is registered with another registrar (such as Bluehost, Godaddy, etc) or another service is managing your DNS settings, you’ll need to follow the appropriate steps that apply to your site:

If the domain you’re adding the subdomain for is registered or mapped here already, you’re all set! You can go to My Site → Manage Domains, select your subdomain and click Make Primary.

Adding CNAME Records With Your Registrar (Non-Business Plans)

If your site is not on our Business plan, add a CNAME record at your registrar or current DNS provider’s end. The CNAME should look something like the following:

blog.mygroovydomain.com. IN CNAME example.wordpress.com.

  • Replace blog.mygroovydomain.com. with the full subdomain you want to use. Some DNS managers will only require you to add the subdomain (blog, in the example) in a field typically labeled “host”, “name” or “@”.
  • Replace example.wordpress.com. with your current site address, which you can find here. Some DNS managers will have this option labeled “points to” or “alias”.
  • Remember to include the periods after each domain name.
  • If you are unsure how to do this, we recommend contacting your domain registrar for assistance. You can use the following sample request:

I would like to map a subdomain of my domain to my site, which is hosted at WordPress.com. I want to use the subdomain blog.mygroovydomain.com. Can you please add a CNAME record to point that subdomain to example.wordpress.com? 

After the change, it will take a few hours for the DNS to propagate all over the internet.

Adding NS Records With Your Registrar (Business Plans)

If your site is on our Business plan, the above CNAME method should work, however you may need to also add three NS records at your registrar or current DNS provider’s end. The NS records should look something like the following:

site.mygroovydomain.com. IN NS ns1.wordpress.com.
site.mygroovydomain.com. IN NS ns2.wordpress.com.
site.mygroovydomain.com. IN NS ns3.wordpress.com.

  • Replace site.mygroovydomain.com. with the full subdomain you want to use. Some DNS managers will only require you to add the subdomain (site, in the example) in a field typically labeled “host”, “name” or “@”.
  • Remember to include the periods after each domain name
  • Your main domain will not be affected by this and you can continue to host it with your existing provider
  • If you are unsure how to do this, we recommend contacting your domain registrar for assistance. You can use the following sample request:

I would like to map a subdomain of my domain to my blog, which is hosted at WordPress.com. I want to use the subdomain site.mygroovydomain.com. Can you please add the following three NS records?

site.mygroovydomain.com. IN NS ns1.wordpress.com.
site.mygroovydomain.com. IN NS ns2.wordpress.com.
site.mygroovydomain.com. IN NS ns3.wordpress.com.

Note that you should not change the “name servers” of your main domain. Adding an NS record is a separate DNS setting.

If you add the CNAME records instead of NS records, your site won’t be able to install custom plugins or themes.


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Pointing Your Subdomain to an External Site

If your domain is registered or mapped to WordPress.com, you can point a subdomain to an external site by using a CNAME or A record. Check the support documentation or contact the support staff for that site to find out which DNS record you need.

At WordPress.com
  • Go to your Domains page (My Site ManageDomains) and click the domain you wish to add the subdomain to.
  • Click Name Servers and DNS, then DNS Records.
  • In Type select CNAME or A.
  • Enter the subdomain you want in Name.
  • Enter the information provided from the service you’re trying to connect to under Alias Of (for CNAME) or Points To (for A Records).
  •  For example for Tumblr sites, you’ll need something like this:

tumblr alias of domains.tumblr.com

  • Click Add New DNS Record
In this example, we’re creating a subdomain (tumblr.example.com) that will point to our Tumblr site
At your hosting provider for the other site

Log into your hosting provider’s control panel and follow their instructions to connect the subdomain to your site there.


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FAQ & Troubleshooting

Can I use a subdomain to have “www” before my domain name?

WordPress.com automatically removes the “www” from all URLs. Mapping the “www”subdomain is not supported.

Can I map a subdomain to a specific page on my site?

Domains cannot be mapped to specific directories on your site, for example yourgroovydomain.com/about-us.

I’ve mapped a subdomain to my site, but I can’t install plugins or upload a custom theme.

In order to install custom plugins or themes on our Business plan, you must add NS records with your domain registrar instead of CNAMEs. Also check to make sure you added an NS record instead of changing your domain’s name servers, which is a different process.

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