Domain Issues
What is a Root Domain? - Definition & Examples

What is a Root Domain? - Definition & Examples

Does a root domain impact the search engine rankings of your website?

Understanding the concept is crucial for website owners and managers, as it can affect your website’s visibility and search engine rankings.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about root domains and provide you with tips on managing them effectively.

Simply put, a root domain is the main part of your website’s domain name. That’s the part of your website’s URL that comes after the “www” and includes the domain name’s extension, like “.com”, “.org”, “.net,” etc.

If you are planning to create a website and establish an online presence, understanding the concept of root domains can make all the difference. Just like how every tree has a strong root system that supports its growth, every website has a root domain name that supports its online presence. Knowing how root domains work is crucial because it forms the foundation for creating and managing a website’s online identity.

When it pertains to online presence – the domain name itself isn’t considered a direct search engine ranking factor. However, elements of your domain name may affect your overall SEO campaign.

These include elements like:

  • Memorability A root domain must be easy to read, remember, and pronounce. This makes it easier for users and search engines better understand what is your site about and rank it higher in relevant search results.
  • Length: Search engines tend to favor shorter, more specific domain names in their rankings, so having a clear and concise website name can help improve your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
  • Keyword in the domain: Using relevant keywords in your base domain name can help attract the right audience to your website.
  • Brand-ability: Your root domain name should clearly represent your brand, making it easier for visitors to associate it with your brand identity.

A clear understanding of the root domain’s significance can help you make better-informed decisions about choosing a domain name, selecting a web hosting service, and managing your website’s security and privacy.

Root Domain Examples

As we mentioned, the root domain is what comes after the “www” and includes the Top-level domain extension, like .com or .org.

An infographic explaining what is a root domain name

For example, in the website address www.example.com, “example.com” is the root domain. Think of it as the top level of a website’s hierarchy, which contains all the pages and subdomains connected. Understanding the concept of a root domain is essential for anyone who wants to create or manage a website.

In our case, the root domain for www.siteground.com is “siteground.com” (without the www.)

The root domain for SiteGround, siteground.com, includes its subdomains such as sub-pages like “careers.siteground.com” or “login.siteground.com“. They are part of the main SiteGround root domain, just like “www.siteground.com“. All these pages and sub-pages belong to SiteGround’s root domain, much like the “home” where they all originate from.

What is the difference between Root domains and Subdomains?

The root domain name is your website’s main or primary domain. It is the simplest form of a domain name. It can stand alone, and it can also have one or more subdomains branching out from it.

On the other hand, a subdomain is like a subsection or a smaller part of the main website. A subdomain always belongs to a root domain. For example, careers.siteground.com is a subdomain of the base domain siteground.com.

Subdomains help organize website content and make it easier to navigate. They can also have their own individual pages or even separate websites with unique content, design, and functionality. You can access the root domain and all its subdomains through their own web addresses, and they all fall under the same main domain.

In short, the primary difference is that the root domain represents the main website (or company), while subdomains are separate sections or websites within the main domain.

What is the difference between Root domains and Top-Level domains (TLD)?

The root-level domain is like the main folder of a website, where all the other folders and files are stored. It is the topmost part of a website’s address and represents the ground level of the website’s identity. For example, in the website address “www.siteground.com,” “siteground.comis the root domain.

In contrast, a top-level domain (TLD) is the suffix that follows the domain name, such as .com, .org, .edu, .gov, and so on. TLDs are also referred to as “domain extensions”. It is the last part of the website’s address and comes after the root domain.

An infographic explaining the difference between a root domain and TLDs

For example, in the website address “www.example.com,” “.com” is the top-level domain. Other examples of TLDs include “.org,” “.net,” “.edu,” and “.gov.”

The key difference between a top-level and a root domain is that a TLD is a part of the domain name system, whereas a root domain is a part of the web hosting system. In that sense, TLDs are used to classify and categorize websites, while root domains are used to organize and manage website content.

How to set up a root domain?

In order to set up a root domain, you will need to choose and purchase it with a domain registrar. Then set up Domain Name System (DNS) records for the domain to point to your hosting provider. Once your DNS records are propagated, you’ll be able to access your website at the new root domain.

When you register a website name, you are registering a root domain. This means you have access to create subdomains and file structures all branching from that root domain. If Google equates a specific subdomain with quality, this can influence how webpages within that subdomain rank in search results. For this reason, your website structure can affect how well your content ranks in search results.

The exact steps for setting up a root domain can vary depending on your domain registrar and hosting provider. Still, most providers offer step-by-step instructions or support to guide you through the process. At SiteGround, we offer easy-to-use tools for setting up root domain names.


In conclusion, comprehending what a root domain is and how it works is very important for anyone who wants to create or manage a website. Your website’s root domain is like the foundation of your online presence. It plays a huge role in your website’s visibility and search engine ranking.

By choosing the right root domain and managing it effectively, you can boost your website’s online identity and increase its chances of success.

Remember that setting up a root domain is just the first step in building your website’s online presence. After setting up your root domain, you can create subdomains to organize your content and provide additional access points for your visitors.

We hope this article has given you a clear understanding of root domains, their importance, and how to set them up. Using this knowledge, you can create a strong and thriving online presence for your website.

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