I decided last week to create a new site about Paypal, offering tips and tricks on how it works. This usually means registering a new domain name and getting web hosting. However, you don’t need to do this. Instead I decided to create a virtual directory on the main site and setup the new website as a sub-folder.
This saved me the usual setup fees and allowed me to keep this sub-site under the umbrella of the main site. I host with GoDaddy. Here’s how to create a Virtual Directory.
What is a Virtual Directory?
A virtual directory points to a physical folder on your website (or on your PC if you run the site locally).
A sub domain (virtual directory) is an easy way to create a web address for various areas of your site. For example, you could create a sub domain for news on your site called “News.” Anybody that comes to your Web site would type “news.yourdomainname.com” instead of “www.yourdomainname.com/news.”
www.ivanwalsh.com – main site
virtual.ivanwalsh.com – virtual directory
technicalwriter.ivanwalsh.com – virtual directory
This means that you access the virtual directory name instead of a physical folder name.
You could, of course, create a subfolder called Paypal, e.g. www.ivanwalsh.com/paypal/ but people might think this is part of the www.ivanwalsh.com site, which is what I want to avoid.
Google and Virtual Directories
Google also seems to like virtual directories in that sites I have setup in this way seem to get more traffic than sub-folders, e.g.
I think virtual.ivanwalsh.com (virtual directory) will get more traffic than www.ivanwalsh.com/virtual.
Warning: Microsoft FrontPage manages all of the directory and subdirectory permissions on your Web site. If you created custom directories on your Web site, or you are using another tool to build and or manage your Web site, switching to FrontPage may cause some problems. It can overwrite all of your directory permissions and make your site unusable.
To Create a Virtual Directory
So, let’s get started.
Log into GoDaddy.
This opens the Hosting Control Center, from where you can create, edit, and customize permissions for virtual directories on your Web site.
1. Log in to your Account Manager.
2. In the My Products section, select Hosting.
This may take a few second. Be patient. Think nice thoughts.
3. Select the checkbox next to the hosting account you want to modify and then click the Manage Account.
This open a new web browser. It takes a few seconds to load.
4. In the Settings section, click the Sub Domains icon.
The next screen shows your current Sub Domains. This is probably blank if you’re starting out.
5. Click Add Sub Domain to set up a new sub domain on your hosting account.
6. To add a Sub Domain, type a sub domain name in the field and click Continue.
7. Review your sub domain information.
If you need to make any changes, click Edit.
If everything looks OK, click Submit to add the sub domain to your hosting account.
8. You’re finished.
Add another sub-domain while you there, if you want.
You can now close this browser window or check if the new virtual directory is ready yet. Probably not, give it 10 min or so.
Note that there are two Content options on this page. Bit confusing, isn’t it!
4. Click Content and then click the IIS Settings icon. (Not shown here as I use Linux)
5. To create a new directory, select the parent directory and click Create.
6. Enter the directory name. To create multiple directories, enter a comma-delimited list.
7. Select directory permissions, and then click OK.
Note that it might take a little while (15-30 min) for these things to really kick in on your site.
So, if you’re planning to add a blog or FTP to the site, go have a coffee first ,and then come back. All will be ready.
If things aren’t working after an hour, email GoDaddy. Be nice, they’re human too. I’ve found them very helpful and moved most all my sites to their servers.
Next week, I’ll show you how to setup a WordPress blog.