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I run a photography website where each user has its own subdomain (i.e. user.site.com). I'm thinking of adding user groups but I'm unable to decide if I should also associate a separate subdomain or simply a subfolder for each group:

Subfolders (www.site.com/groups/my-group)

Pros:

  • Easier to maintain from a tehnical p.o.v.

Cons:

  • Harder to memorize.
  • The URLs can get really long (www.site.com/groups/my-group/albums/my-album/)

Subdomains (my-group.site.com)

Pros:

  • Easier to memorize.
  • Shorter URLs.
  • One might have the impression that such an URL is somewhat more "independent" from the main site.

Cons:

  • Group and user names belong to the same name space, so we need to check for collisions when creating a new user/group.
  • One cannot determine the content of the page by only reading the URL: Is x.site.com a user page or a group page?

What's your opinion on the matter? I should note that DeviantArt.com uses the 2nd option (that's where I got the idea). Thank you in advance!

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I think you pretty much laid down a good set of pros and cons for each. And before I read all your post, I was thinking about deviant art and how they use subdomains for users. For me, it really depends on the project and how I feel it best suits it. They each have their own feel, and they each have their own pros/cons. I use Drupal for most sites/apps, and it is more work and coding to use subdomains, but for some reason I like it better. Could you have groups as subdomains, and users as subfolders? Or visa versa. Oh wait, you noted that in the Cons. If you have a good system in place to check and regulate the collisions, I would do it that way.

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