We manage the subdomain website subdomain.example.com A completely separate company manage www.example.com which has a separate analytics account that we do not have access to.

We've noticed that traffic from the main website seems to be showing up in Analytics as direct traffic (destination URLs match up and it is WAY higher than direct should be for this site), and isn't showing as a referral.

I can't work out why this would be the case.

Speculation: I've noticed that the main website has three analytics codes on it, all for the same account. I've advised this is changed urgently to keep only the universal analytics code. Could this be something to do with the issue?

1 Answer 1


By default, Google Analytics excludes referrals that come from the same hostname, so www.example.com would also apply to subdomain.example.com. That's why they're showing up as direct, not referral. You could remove the hostname from the Referral Exclusion List for your Google Analytics property, but bear in mind that this triggers a new session for the user. If you want to keep sessions consistent across domains/subdomains, you'll need to establish cross-domain tracking.

  • works great. new sessions would be created on jumping across the domains. Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 14:32

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