Sub-directory setup


#1

One of the most common setups is a blog in a sub-directory. Example.com + Example.com/blog. In our case, we run wordpress for both example.com and the blog in the subdirectory.

Since cloudways do not allow installation of one app within another app in a sub-directory, we ran into some issues and would love to hear what others say:

  1. How to clone in a click such an app running in a sub-directory? Will one click cloning the main app include the subdirectory app files?
  2. Domain management? (Do we input Manually in wordpress vs GUI?)
  3. Cron job management? (Any conflict between main app vs sub-directory app and any possible GUI for sub-directory?)
  4. One click restore, GIT and cloudways CDN implementation process for apps running in sub-directory?
  5. Only shared FTP credentials are possible to use as it seems FTP credentials are generated per app basis?
  6. Will redis conflict in this sub-directory structure?
  7. Will one click backup/restore work? (We fear overwriting of the subdirectory files?)
  8. We lose big time control over varnish , PHP and general settings (basically the application settings tab). Eg: If we switch off varnish for example.com then example.com/blog will lose varnish too as the varnish config files are saved per application basis? How do we tweak specific PHP settings in sub-directories if needed?

In short, subdirectory apps lose the benefit of easy management and a lot of control?

Any thoughts about how others managed to resolve the above?

Cloudways team members hopefully can pitch in a bit as we intend to write a blog from our own experience with cloudways setup to help other future users :wink:

Thanks


#2

Well, you could always manually install anything inside a subdirectory - Cloudways won’t stop you from doing that. But of course you wouldn’t have access to Cloudways’ management options for things installed this way.

If you choose to do so, then every action (backup/restore/migration/clonin) will include everything - that is, the main app, and the subdirectory apps. Same with configuration options. In this scenario, you really won’t be able to manage them separately.

In any case, why not use subdomains? I heard it’s good for SEO (as it counts as a different domain).

Also, you could always set up a redirect from example.com/blog to blog.example.com


#3

Subdomains in this type of situation are terrible for SEO, unfortunately - you get the worst of both worlds. The subdomain inherits very little of the main site’s authority, and it is very limited in the amount of its own authority it can pass back to the primary domain. Absolutely not recommended.


#4

Sub-domains do not inherit authority and google treats them as 2 different sites all together. Hence, for sure we have to go sub-directory which brings us back to the main question, how do we in cloudways implement the solutions specially when cloning, configuration and backup etc might end up mixing and causing issues!

Thanks for confirming what we were observing :slight_smile:


#5

Spot on :slight_smile: We choose sub-director to pass on the blog reach to main domain which is quite a very common strategy in the SEO world :slight_smile:


#6

Guys, I’m not an SEO expert, but I’ve been experimenting with SEO since 1997. I have even coded a search engine with a Lucene search with spell checker for our ecommerce shop. This was the same shop that ranked 47k in the US organically and was valued in the 8 figures. I’ve had many pages in to top results organically.

In my experience you can use a subdomain or subdirectory. Think about it, WWW is a subdomain and Google has no problem figuring out that www.example.com and example.com are the same website (even if you don’t specify a default domain in the search console or redirect to one version or the other).

Google may handle the www subdomain differently than other subdomains though, IDK. I do wonder if setting your blog up at www. vs blog. would be better. If Google doesn’t find any duplicate content between the two domains, this could work. You might not want to specify the default domain in the search console if you go this route and submit a sitemap with links to both domains.

The SEO guys may think the directory is better, because it’s faster and easier to establish DA and PR and backlinks, but to say that one way is better than another isn’t true. In truth, it really depends on how you set things up and ideally, once you pick a method try not to change, because you will get a temporary dip in your traffic while Google adjusts to any changes you make after the fact.

Here’s an example in the real world with two domains with the same DA.


Both have the same domain authority score, the blog has a lower PR score (by 1), but it also has fewer back links to the blog subdomain. They are also hosting their blog on a different server and IP address, so other factors like a different IP address or page load / server speed could be affecting the rank too.

Here’s an example with the same page rank and domain authority score.
https://www.alaskaair.com/
https://blog.alaskaair.com/

If you do need to use a subdomain and you want it to transfer the authority from your old subdirectory, you can.

Here’s what I have done in the past to achieve both a primary domain and subdomain inheriting the same domain authority (though Google’s page rank could be different than your primary site)…

Create two WP apps on the same server so that you are using the same IP address. (You don’t have to use the same IP, but I recommend it.)
Make sure your main navigation is identical on both sites. (also just a recommendation)
E.g.
Home -> example.com/home
About -> example.com/about
Blog -> blog.example.com

Next, implement 301 redirects and add your new subdomain to Google Search Console. You may even try submitting a single sitemap with links to both domains.

Since you have already established a presence at /blog, you probably will take a temporary hit on your rankings, but you will bounce back.


#7

Manual procedure