They are commonly thought of as being the same thing (which frequently causes confusion for people new to domain names that want to set up web forwarding), but they are not. One is a domain name, and the other is a subdomain.
Think of it as a subordinate space of your domain.
But what if you want to have a blog too? One that does not interfere with the website? Easy: simply set up your blog on a different subdomain, such as
blog. Visitors can then access your blog at
http://blog.example.com and your website still at
Do you want to publish your photo album that you made with Sitemaker too? No problem: put it on another subdomain, such as
photos. Your album will be visible at
http://photos.example.com, and your other sites will not be affected in the slightest.
Anything else? Perhaps a wiki that you host on a VPS? Again, just add another subdomain….
The first thing that you need to to is to add a line in your DNS zone file.
The purpose of this zone file entry is to tell the name servers:
Let's say you want to “point”
www.example.com to a Gandi Simple Hosting server. To do this, you'll need to add an entry in your DNS zone file similar to this one 1):
www 10800 IN CNAME gpaas1.dc0.gandi.net.
(Don't forget the dot at the end of the CNAME entry or it will not work!!!)
And perhaps you have a mobile phone website hosted by Wix and you need a ”
m” subdomain, then you just add a line like:
m 10800 IN A 126.96.36.199
Your host will tell you whether or not you need to add an IP address or a subdomain. If it is an IP address that you need to use, then you'll create an A record. If you are given a domain name (like
ghs.google.com, etc.) then you need to make a CNAME record.
The changes to the zone file can only be done with the company that manages your DNS.
Allow around 3 hours for changes to your zone file to propagate across the internet.