Domains, Sub-domains, & TLD

Hello!

I’m excited to start my first community with Discourse. I realized it’s a pretty sticky platform, and my area of expertise is lacking a forum built on modern software. Though I can follow tech directions, I think it will be easiest for me if I start with Communiteq (formerly DiscourseHosting).

At the moment, my only real hangup is picking out a domain. Years ago, I blogged/tweeted at a domain I’d like to use. Though I stopped blogging, I did hold the domain until last year. I finally get the idea for a community, but it turns out someone picked it up and is using it (unrelated to my topic, non-English). So in my head, I’m still stuck on the old domain since I owned it for a decade. Though there are other very similar/unique domains I can pick.

Domain & TLD
Should I consider a similar .com to what I had before? Or should I consider the old domain in a .org or .net? Or what about the longer, but relevant .community?

Right now, the domain will just be the community, not associated with any other brand. Which is why I’m leaning toward just picking a similar domain to get the easily recognizable .com address.

Sub-domains
Is it possible to have sub domains as a part of each category?

For example, if my main topic was movies (it’s not) and the domain was 99reels, the category for horror would read horror.99reels.com. That’s probably unnecessary, I’m just curious. I hope to attract a wide enough audience, though some might only be interested in a specific category and not others.

Thanks for reading.

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Hi !

I guess the more the domain can be easily remembered, the better. And the shorter, the better. It’s like a brand name, and it’s great if it sounds good, is attractive, and so on. The problem is to find something available. Dot com are probably the most difficult in term of availability, but if you manage to find a good one, it’s still the first choice IMHO.

Also look at the price. I don’t know about “.community” but it may be more expensive. Some specialized TLDs aren’t very cheap (I don’t know for this one).

I personally think the sub-domain thing is a great idea ! You should be able to do this pretty easily with a redirect. You just have to redirect category-name.domain.xxx to domain.xxx/c/category-name

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No, that will not be possible.
It would be https://www.99reels.com/c/horror

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It won’t be done automatically, that’s true. But you can just create each sub-domain manually and put a page redirecting to the correct path. Can’t you ?

EDIT: Oh yes, the URLs won’t stay with the sub-domain. It will only work to access the “correct” path from the sub-domain. But it’s better than nothing. Even already pretty good, I think.

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Thanks for the replies!

The sub-domain thing was just a thought. I don’t think setting up redirects would be worth it.

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That’s not such a great idea. It’d be like baking a cake (forum) and having each ingredient (topic) in a different bowl (category) and each bowl being in a different room (subdomain). Why not have all the ingredients in the kitchen - in separate bowls (categories) but all on the same table?
You can create categories and sub-categories for your topics. No sense in stirring your “cake mix” with a tooth pick. :smiley:

The old “standard” TLDs (.com, .net, .org) are cheap. There are many newer (still short) TLDs available that are cheap. The .community domains are usually 2 to 2-1/2 times the cost of those. Browse the list on any registrar. I’m sure you’ll find a good one. Once you’ve found one that would go nicely with your domain name, you can always create a subdomain “community”, “forum” or “discourse” :slightly_smiling_face: and make that the home for your community. Good luck!

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I don’t really get why you seem to find this being a “bad idea”, Jim (or at least “no so great”).
As I understand it, he would still have a “normal” forum. But with the added benefit for people willing to, to access directly the forum with one category selected, by accessing it through a sub-domain. They could still select another category, or none at all and see everything, at any moment.

Example: Here on discourse, accessing it in the “community” category (which would be what you get when accessing “community.discourse-org” in his idea. URL which doesn’t exist here, of course !) would give you this: https://meta.discourse.org/c/community . Try it. You can still select whatever you want in the “category” list, after.

It would just change the “default” when you arrive: All categories or just one specific. For people only (or mainly) participating in one category, it would be convenient to access through the correct sub-domain, and would allow them to not have to select “their” category each time.

How is creating an extra URL - which is never referred to on the actual forum - an “added benefit” ?
It is just a lot of work to set up and maintain and it would only add some confusion, and foo.domain.com is not better than domain.com/c/foo.

So I agree with Jim: “not better” + “work” + “confusion” = “bad idea”

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My reasoning to want category sub-domains isn’t so much for hopeful regulars to access easier. It’s to make sure when people are searching from the outside are able to clearly see the category as a part of the form, since it may not be entirely clear from the primary domain that this is a forum for them.

Best I can explain it without details (as I already lost 1st domain, don’t have 2nd yet), is the domain would reference something that is a part of all categories except one, though technically they’re all apart of this broader category. So maybe it’s for artists, but the domain references something the sculptors may not first associate with.

It’s all moot anyways.

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Nothing nor nobody said you couldn’t talk about it on your forum.

Come on. You cannot be serious, here.

Google does it for example. You can access pretty much all their services with service.google.com
It is true you can use google.com/finance instead of finance.google.com for example. It never confused me personally (I don’t see how it could). I see it as an additional option and don’t really see any bad side to it (confusion, or other). We have different opinions on the matter, I guess.

I would argue it’s just a little better. 2 slashs and a letter less to enter on your keyboard if you’re entering it manually and far easier to remember for people who may not easily remember a /c/ first has to be typed in before the category name. (Ok you have to enter a point with the other method, so only 1 slash more, counts)

Personally, and I will conclude with this: I do use this kind of subdomain things for google or other sites (which I usually enter manually as I don’t have bookmarks of things I don’t use regularly). I don’t know, I guess it just “suits” me and I like it better than domain.xxx/service. I get the point it’s 'the same" and it’s “no better”.

Fortunately, I’m free to do it, and you’re free to NOT do it. Everything is well.

Searching how ? In a search engine ? I guess the described trick above wouldn’t show there (the subdomain, I mean). The search engine will use the domain.xxx/c/category/ URL. But do people really care about the URL before clicking on a link in a search engine ? They also see the page title and the summary of the page. On top of that, google seems to show “forum-base-URL › category › subcategory” as the “URL”, so the category appears pretty clearly for what you want/your thinking.

But why would you? You can either automatically link categories using # (#support), or type out a whole longform URL. The latter would make no sense. What if you typo a domain name, now the user sees an error message with no way to navigate back to the main site, whereas a typo to yoursitename.com/c/categoryname you at least have access to the navigation

I agree 100% with Richard, creating a new DNS entry and redirect every time you create a category is pretty pointless.

Those URLs are redirects, gmail.com redirects to mail.google.com and google.com/docs to docs.google.com. Many of those URLs have changed over time, so the redirects keep things neat and prevent old bookmarks from breaking. That’s very different to creating an excess of entry points from day one, and assumes that anyone creating a category now at any point down the line also has access to DNS to maintain parity. That’s a very silly assumption.

How? mail.google.com is webmail, sheets.google.com is a spreadsheet app, they’re totally different services. There’s no comparison to categories on the same app.

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Dave, have you checked to see if the domain you used to have is available with another TLD? Just a thought.

As a side note regarding using subdomains for categories, each time you create a new category you have to create a new subdomain… and either create a new CA for that subdomain or amend your current CA to include that new subdomain. If you go with amending the CA and mess up, all the subdomains (your entire forum) will lose https until you fix it. Sorry, but I think using subdomains per category is just asking for a very big headache.

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I believe I understand you’re talking of USING these URLs (the subdomains) ON the forum. That’s not what I was saying, and I totally agree with you here (no point in using them while using the forum). But you can TALK about them, let your users know there are DIRECT ways to access the forum directly in a specific category (when wanting to access the forum from a device). Let them know they exist and they can use them. (Now, in hindsight, I’m not sure what Richard was talking about when saying they were never “referred to” on the forum. Maybe he was talking of the same thing as you. So, OK, the subdomains may not be very well known by search engines because not much used as links, but the only important part is that user know they exist and they can use them, that’s all).

As it has been explained. (no “/c/” to remember and to enter)

For Google, they are all services provided by a single company. But this isn’t important. Neither is the fact that “it’s just categories on the same app”. The point is accessing manually from the exterior. You can go to google.com, click the icon in the right corner and you have a list of the services (the main ones, at least). This works the exact same way as going to a discourse forum and selecting the category you want to go to. Now, you can go directly to any google service by entering directly service.google.com in your browser. Want to go to maps ? => maps.google.com Want to go to drive ? => drive.google.com and so on. Personally, I like that (and I use it).

The point was that you can do the same thing for your forum where category.forum.xxx sends you directly to the forum category when you’re entering the URL in a browser. You’re telling me (my own understanding) “Yeah, but these URLs won’t be used ON the forum”. Ok, so ? You tell me you maybe don’t see the point. Ok, fine. That’s your view. I tried to explain mine. You tell me it’s too much work. I disagree, unless you create tons of categories every week. But you’re entitled to your opinion and free to choose to NOT do it because of that. And some other points, none of which I personally find very good, but rather as just trying quite hard to “prove” it indeed IS a bad idea. I don’t think so. But that’s only me. You sure can live without subdomains.

Maybe you can take the view “it’s not worth it”. Sure. I get that.

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@Mevo Thank you for pointing out how it looks in search. I should’ve looked that from the beginning. That satisfies what I’m looking for.

@JimPas I did. .org and .net are available. Old twitter handle is available too. But the new one, which is very similar, is starting to grow on me.

My apologies for bringing up a contentious topic.

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