The Difference: CNAME Vs SubDomain Vs A Record

There are so many different elements that go into the website online existence. the process usually includes domain names and the hosting server. And most importantly, the other various options for creating DNS records for your website.

These DNS records are responsible for serving your website from a specific server and a specific IP address. Once the browser picks up that connecting records, it serves the requested URL right away.

In this article, I will explain the main difference between CNAME, Sub-Domain, and A Record. After reading this article, you should get a clear image on when to use each one for your website.

Basically, How the Internet Works?

The internet is comprised of the Domain Name System (DNS). This system is exactly like an online phone book! But for websites instead. When browsing the internet and requesting to visit a particular URL, the DNS converts the domain name to an IP address.

After connecting a domain with the associated DNS records, the browser can easily access website content and load it into your browser.

CNAME Vs SubDomain Vs A Record:

Technically, There are numerous ways in which domain names are connected and pointed to servers. Furthermore, there are numerous other ways to transfer your site from one server to another.


CNAME is an acronym for “Canonical Name Record”. It’s considered to be the perfect way to point a domain o a sub-domain to your hosting server. This particular type of record links a name to another name on a server. And it never works for an IP address.

CNAME records are classed as standard DNS records. These records have made it easier to manage your domains than A-Records. Should you ever need to change servers for any reason, this kind of records is the perfect one.

  • You CAN’T use a CNAME record if there are other records on the same name.
  • You CAN’T create a CNAME record for a root domain name.
  • You CAN use CNAME for subdomains on the same server.

Using CNAME for subdomains is easy and straight-forward. This makes a sub-domain transfer easier than trying to do it with A-Records.

2. Sub-Domain:

A subdomain acts as a sub-section of an existing domain or a website. In this fictitious scenario, is the domain but a subdomain would be This sub-domain would lead you to a different area of the website. And this way helps to attract more website traffic.

Subdomains can also help to make specific areas of a website more memorable for people to share. For example, if someone wants to direct a friend to a gallery on a website, they can share this fictitious subdomain;

By doing this, you’re basically referring the visitor to the subdomain skipping the main domain entirely. A subdomain is also known as a child domain which belongs to a parent domain.

Subdomains are also useful if a particular person or department featured on your website needs their own space – for example, or

3. A-Record:

A-Record stands for Address Record and refers to the IP address. This type of record links a name to one or more stable IP addresses.

You can manage domains and subdomains using A-Records. But it is much simpler to manage sub-domains using a CNAME record instead of an A-Record.

Why create sub-domains with CNAME? Because when you want to change the main domain server at any stage, the A-Record only needs to be changed once. If you created an A-Record for your sub-domain, each A-Record will have to be changed individually.


When setting up a website on a server, it is worthwhile knowing how domain names and IP addresses are recorded. It’s also very important to know when to use each of these records.

If you’re transferring your website to a different server for some reason, you should be fully aware of which DNS records you use and why. That was it all, I hope it was as detailed as I tried to explain it.

Kindly let me know shall you require any further assistance. Also, don’t forget to share this informative article with those who may find it useful. That was it all about the difference between CNAME, Sub-Domain, and A Record.

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