Why You Should Always Use a Subdomain for Your Test Site

Learn why subdomains are safer and more efficient for website testing than subfolders.


4 min read

When updating or testing new features on your website, it’s crucial to ensure these changes don’t disrupt your live site. While you might consider placing your test website in a subfolder of your main site, this method poses significant risks and challenges. Here’s why you should always opt for a subdomain instead of a subfolder.

Understanding the Basics

Subdomain: A subdomain appears as a separate, third-level domain linked to your main domain. For example, test.example.com functions independently from www.example.com.

Subfolder: A subfolder is merely a directory under your main domain, like www.example.com/test/. It shares resources and settings with the main site, which can lead to numerous problems.

The Dangers of Using a Subfolder

  1. Security Risks:
    • Subfolders inherit the security settings of the main domain, making your entire website vulnerable if the test site is compromised. A subdomain, treated as a separate site, significantly reduces this risk.
  2. SEO and User Experience Disasters:
    • Indexing: Content in subfolders can accidentally be indexed by search engines, damaging your SEO by displaying unfinished content.
    • Broken Links: Transitioning content from a subfolder to the main site often leads to broken links and navigation errors, harming user experience and SEO. This particular can be harder to track down when transitioning from a subfolder to live site.
  3. Technical Limitations and Conflicts:
    • Configuration Conflicts: Subfolders do not support different server or php configurations, which can be crucial for testing. Subdomains offer this flexibility, allowing for more accurate and effective testing environments.
    • CMS Compatibility Issues: Using Total CMS with a test site in a subfolder will result in using the same cms-data folder from your main site, which can lead to saving over a file currently in use on the current live site. A subdomain avoids this by allowing separate cms-data folders. Also Total CMS allows you to use your license on subdomains of your licensed domain for free.
    • Sitelok/Vibracart Pro Installations: Using a subfolder for a test site launching a Sitelok or Vibracart Pro install will lead to folder location reference nightmares. You will have to go and update all references to install location when trying to move a site out of a subfolder for launch.
  4. Maintenance and Cleanup Challenges:
    • It’s difficult to isolate changes and revert updates without affecting the live site when using subfolders. Subdomains simplify the process of deploying updates to live environments and make it easier to decommission test sites without disrupting the main site’s structure.

Strong Recommendation: Always Choose Subdomains

  • Simplicity and Safety: Managing subdomains might seem more complex, but modern hosting services provide straightforward tools to set them up easily. The isolation and control subdomains offer far outweigh any perceived complexity.
  • Cost-Effective: There are no additional costs for setting up subdomains with most hosting plans, making them a cost-effective solution for safe, effective website testing.


Using subfolders for testing is a practice fraught with risks that can jeopardize your site’s security, performance, and user experience. Subdomains, by contrast, provide a safer, cleaner, and more professional approach to testing and updating your website.

For the health and success of your website, avoid subfolders for test websites at all costs. Opt for subdomains to ensure a secure, efficient, and trouble-free testing process.

Write the first comment!
Categories & Tags

Website Testing, Business Solutions


Subdomains, Databases, TCMS, Sandboxes, Server Setup

Related Posts

Login to comment

Comments are only available to registered users. Not registered yet? Create a free account now.

Login Create a free account

Privacy Policy

Effective Date: June 15, 2023

1. Information We Collect
1.1 Personal Information

When you visit our Website or use our services, we may collect the following personal information:

  • Contact Information: such as your name, email address, phone number, and mailing address.
  • Payment Information: if you make purchases on our Website, we collect payment-related information such as credit card details or other payment details necessary to process your order.
  • Login Information: if you create an account on our Website, we collect your login credentials, including your username and password.
1.2 Usage and Technical Information

When you interact with our Website or use our services, we may automatically collect certain information about your usage and device. This may include:

  • Log Data: such as your IP address, browser type, operating system, and access times.
  • Device Information: such as device type, unique device identifiers, and mobile network information.
  • Usage Information: such as the pages you visit, links you click, and actions you take on our Website.
  • Cookies and Similar Technologies: we may use cookies and similar technologies to collect information about your browsing activities. You can manage your preferences for cookies through your browser settings.
2. Use of Information

We use the collected information for the following purposes:

  • To provide and maintain our services, process transactions, and fulfill orders.
  • To communicate with you, respond to your inquiries, and provide customer support.
  • To personalize your experience and improve our Website and services.
  • To send you promotional emails or newsletters if you have subscribed to them. You may opt-out of receiving these communications at any time.
  • To analyze and monitor usage patterns, perform data analytics, and improve our marketing efforts.
  • To comply with legal obligations and enforce our terms and policies.
3. Sharing of Information

We do not share your personal information with third parties except in the following circumstances:

  • Service Providers: We may engage trusted third-party service providers who assist us in operating our Website and delivering our services. These service providers have access to your personal information only to perform specific tasks on our behalf and are obligated to protect your information.
  • Legal Requirements: We may disclose personal information if required by law or in response to valid legal requests, such as court orders or government regulations.
4. Data Retention

We will retain your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfill the purposes outlined in this Privacy Policy, unless a longer retention period is required or permitted by law. When we no longer require your personal information, we will securely dispose of it in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

5. Data Security

We implement reasonable security measures to protect your personal information from unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, or destruction. However, please note that no method of transmission over the Internet or electronic storage is 100% secure.

6. Cookie Policy

Our Website uses cookies and similar technologies to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalized content. By using our Website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with this Cookie Policy.

6.1 What are Cookies?

Cookies are small text files that are stored on your device when you visit a website. They are widely used to make websites work more efficiently and provide a better browsing experience. Cookies can be "persistent" or "session" cookies. Persistent cookies remain on your device even after you close your browser, while session cookies are deleted as soon as you close your browser.

6.2 How We Use Cookies

We use cookies for the following purposes:

  • Essential Cookies: These cookies are necessary for the operation of our Website and enable you to navigate and use its features. They help us provide secure access to your account, process transactions, and maintain the overall functionality of the Website.
  • Analytical and Performance Cookies: These cookies allow us to collect information about how visitors use our Website, such as which pages are visited most frequently and if users encounter any errors. This helps us analyze and improve the performance and effectiveness of our Website.
  • Functional Cookies: These cookies enable enhanced functionality and personalization of our Website. They may remember your preferences, such as language settings, and provide a more customized browsing experience.
  • Targeting and Advertising Cookies: These cookies may be set through our Website by our advertising partners. They may be used to deliver targeted advertisements that are relevant to your interests or to measure the effectiveness of our advertising campaigns.
6.3 Managing Cookies

Most web browsers allow you to control cookies through their settings. You can configure your browser to accept all cookies, reject all cookies, or prompt you before accepting a cookie. Please note that blocking or deleting cookies may affect your browsing experience and prevent certain features of our Website from functioning properly.

For more information on managing cookies, you can refer to the help pages or settings of your browser.

7. Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns regarding our Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy, or the handling of your personal information, please contact us at [email protected].

Note: This Privacy Policy is subject to change. Please check this page periodically for any updates.

Weaver's Space

Build amazing websites, with Zero Code.
Foundation 6 / Total CMS and Stacks.
Visit website

Foundation Box Studio

Custom web design & development
Foundation 6 / TCMS Projects and Stacks
Visit website

Stacks App Stacks

Useful utility Stacks for your Toolbox
Advanced Stacks to bring your sites to another level.
Visit website

Stacks Basecamp

Foundation 6 and Total CMS Project Files
Personal Training
Visit website

Stacks Guru

Weaver's Space Video Archive
Search the transcripts!
Visit website

Made for Stacks

Complete Library of Stacks Add-ons
for the best web design app on MacOS
Visit website


Creator of Stacks Pro and Stacks 5
Stacks Pro is the Best web design app for MacOS
Visit website

Terms and Conditions

Final Sale Policy:

As our products are software-based and delivered through digital downloads, all sales are considered final. Returns or exchanges for our products are not available.

Buyer's Responsibility:

It is the buyer's sole responsibility to ensure that a product is suitable for their intended purpose before making a purchase. We strongly recommend reviewing the tutorials and product detail articles prior to completing a purchase. If you have any questions about a product before making a purchase, please feel free to contact us.

Product Licensing:

Unless stated otherwise by a separate product license, all our products are licensed exclusively for use with the Stacks Plugin or the Stacks App developed by Yourhead Software. Any usage of our products outside of these platforms is strictly prohibited.

Restrictions on Use:

You are strictly prohibited from copying, distributing, or utilizing any of the code or data contained in our products for any other purposes. Sharing our products in any manner with individuals or entities who have not directly purchased a license from us is strictly prohibited.