Creating a Subdomain for a Class

In order to run our course on a subdomain of our Reclaim Hosting site, we first need to create a subdomain. Log into your account to get to the cPanel. Scroll down in the dashboard and find the area marked “Domains.” Select “Subdomains.”

Creating a Subdomain

Subdomains are URLs for different sections of your website. They use your main domain name and a prefix.

You can name your course subdomain whatever you like (e.g., shakespeare.janestudent.com or digitalstorytelling.janestudent.com or amst392.janestudent.com). It's not necessary for the subdomain name to be simple and easily memorable because most of the time you and your readers will navigate to the subdomain via links on your primary domain. Whatever you decide to name your course site, just enter it in the text box for subdomain and hit the big blue create button.

After a few seconds, you'll get a confirmation message.

Install Wordpress in the subdomain

If you are going to use Wordpress to manage your subdomain, you'll need to install it just like we installed Wordpress into your primary domain. Go to the home page on your cPanel dashboard and find Web Applications. It's divided into two areas, “My Applications” and “Featured Applications.” You should see at least one Wordpress icon under the former section, plus any other applications you might have installed on your own.

If Wordpress does not show up on the list of Featured Applications then click on the “view more” and find the Wordpress icon under Apps for Content Management. Just like you did before, click on the Wordpress icon then choose “Install this application.” The first box of the installation screen asks for a location to install the application; from the pull-down menu choose the subdomain that you've just created.

Note!! By default, after your initial installation of Wordpress Installatron wants to create a subfolder called “/blog” to install WP into. In the screenshot below the url for the new site will be “eng101f14.davidmorgen.org/blog.” If I just delete the word blog from the Directory line, then the url will be “eng101f14.davidmorgen.org.”

Then follow the rest of the instructions from earlier. You can use the same username and password for the subdomain, or you can choose new ones.

The installation of Wordpress in this new subdomain is completely separate from the one in your primary domain. You will need to configure your new dashboard, choose whatever theme you'd like, install any plugins you might need.

Creating a Menu

Once you have created your course site, whether you've followed the instructions above and created a Wordpress site or created a site in Weebly, you'll need to provide links back and forth between your primary domain and your course site. I like to have tabs in my navigation bar for this purpose, so let's look briefly at Wordpress menus. (Wordpress help page on menus.)

Different themes allow different theme options, so it's impossible to give instructions that will apply to any possible site you might set up in Wordpress. I'll walk you through how menus work in the default 2014 theme, though, and that should apply to most any theme you might choose.

By default, if you don't do anything to manage the menu on your site, every time you create a page, it will automatically be added to your navigation bar, sorted alphabetically. Pretty much every Wordpress theme I know of allows you to create at least one custom menu for the site, many of them will allow more than one. The default 2014 theme allows you to easily create 2 different menus–the top primary menu and a secondary menu in the left sidebar.

To manage the navigation menu yourself, go to your Wordpress dashboard and go to Appearance > Menus. Before we can do anything we need to create a menu. You can call it whatever you like, but I usually call my primary top menu something like Main.

Managing menu location

Once you have created your first menu, you'll have a new tab on this page, manage locations. Click on that tab and assign your new menu to the top primary location. (Again, not all themes will have this tab, though most will even if a theme only allows for one menu location. You might need to play around with other theme settings to figure out how to get menus to work the way you want them to.)

Switch back to the Edit Menus tab.

You can check the box here that will automatically add any top-level pages to your menu or you can leave it unchecked and retain full manual control over the menu.

In the left-hand sidebar, you've got three categories of items that can be aded to menus. Select from the lists and then click on Add to Menu and the item will appear in a box under Menu Structure. You can drag the boxes in order to reorder them. If you have a list of items, drag one of them a step to the right to make it a subitem.

  • Pages contains a list of pages you've created.
  • Links are external links to any page on the web.
  • Categories are how you can basically create multiple blogs within one site. When you write a blog post, you can assign it to a category and then you can create pages that show only posts with certain categories, instead of every blog post. (Wordpress help page on categories.)

Right now, I'm inside my course subdomain. I want to add a link in the navigation menu back to my primary domain, which means I need to add a link. I select Links, add the URL in the text box, and the name I want to appear in the menu bar.

Once I click on add to menu in the step above, there's an item in my new menu. In this case, it's labeled a custom item because it's an external link. Otherwise it would be labeled Page or Category. I can click on the small arrow next to the label to edit the URL or label or to delete the item.

Example menu

Below is a screenshot from an instructor's course site.

Home, Course Description, and Calendar are top-level pages. Assignments is a sub-page beneath Calendar, and then each of the assignments has its own sub-page beneath Assignments.

Go to the dashboard for your primary domain. Create a Courses page. Then go to Appearance > Menus and create a new primary menu. Add a link to your course site as a sub item beneath your teaching page.