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I am developing a site that is going to be used as somewhat of a cloud service, we have a number of customers with a loose connection to each other via a parent organization. The site will look and feel similar across the different customer organizations but the contents will change with regards to what sub organisation the end user is interested in.

The customer organisations all have their own separate web sites and will post links on them to their implementation of our webapp. Users in our system will be able to log in to all sites once they have registered on one of them, similar to how logins works here on stackexchange.com.

We have been discussing weather to use URLs structured either by sub-domains or using a "sub folder" approach, i.e. (given that our customers are called alice and bob):

"Subdomain":
http://alice.ourwebapp.com/...
http://bob.ourwebapp.com/...

"Subdirectory":
http://www.ourwebapp.com/alice/...
http://www.ourwebapp.com/bob/...

We are also considering creating a site for collecting the contents of all sub sites under one URL.

What would be your approach to differentiating between the sites sub organization URLs? Are there other solutions to this problem that we have not thought of?

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@Roland I noticed you deleted some text there. If I would like to know more about the policies for posting questions where could I find it? Is the FAQ the place to go? –  dotmartin Jan 20 '12 at 14:26
    
Yes you can check the FAQ, it will worth the time. Anyways I only changed subfolder to subdirectory, because for they rather call it subdirectory. –  Roland Pokornyik Jan 23 '12 at 8:39
    
Well, I'm always open to suggestions and tips on my vocabulary, especially since English is not my native tongue. :) Thanks! –  dotmartin Jan 23 '12 at 8:46
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Not mine as well. In these cases I usually try to find the right wording through Google search. (by comparing the number of results for two or more search terms) –  Roland Pokornyik Jan 23 '12 at 9:23
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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would try to combine the sub-domain and sub-folder approach with company name and user name (if ourwebapp.com is your domain)

http://companyname.ourwebapp.com/username/

This way the URL could identify the company and the user as well.

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We do not have the need to identify the user in the URL since the users do not have public profiles on the site. I guess you could call it a marketplace, rather than a social media sort of application. Would this information impact your answer in any way? –  dotmartin Jan 20 '12 at 9:56
    
Than I would definitely use the Sub-domain structure. And use the sub-directory for representing lower level hierarchy inside the company for example. –  Roland Pokornyik Jan 20 '12 at 10:42
    
Yeah, I guess that would be my structure of choice too! –  dotmartin Jan 20 '12 at 11:13
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