For anyone out there not sure about domain vs subdomain, here is how the LearnDash would look in different scenarios – Main Domain – Sub Directory – Sub Domain

Obviously would be your actual domain and you can replace “lms” part with any name like “courses” or anything you want.

Where exactly should I host my LearnDash?

There is not a single answer to this, I will cover pros and cons of each one and on that basis you can decide whether domain or subdomain fits your needs.

Also there is almost no difference between hosting on subdirectory vs subdomain. Creating a sub directory or sub domain is a personal preference. Main point here is having a separate WordPress installation to host LMS part of your website.

Hosting Your LearnDash plugin on Main Domain – On same WordPress Installation

If you are hosting your website on the main domain, you can keep a single WordPress installation and add the LMS directory there.

When should you install LearnDash plugin on your main WordPress installation – Main domain

Here are a few of the scenarios where you must keep your LearnDash plugin on a single WordPress installation.

  • If you are using a maintenance service and they are charging you maintenance fee per WordPress installation, keeping LMS on the same WordPress installation would be handy to save a little cost.
  • All of the users data would stay on the same WordPress installation.
  • It could save you in plugin costs i.e. If you have Elementor Pro/Theme for a single site and you want to use it for both LMS as well as the main website.
  • It saves you from the hassle of logging into different websites.
  • If you are using WooCommerce on the main website and offering LMS as an added feature, it makes since to keep the LMS part directly on the main website.
  • If learning is the main reason of existence of your website i.e. You want to run a course website , it’s definitely recommended to keep LearnDash on your main WordPress installation.
  • If you anticipate your website to be having a little traffic and is not going to contain a lot of sales pages, it’s fine to keep LearnDash on your main WordPress installation.
  • If your web hosting plan offers just one WordPress installation and you don’t want to pay for more, you have none other option but to stay with keeping LearnDash on your main domain.

When should you install LearnDash on Subdirectory/Subdomain ( Different WordPress installation ) ?

Hera are a few of the reasons I would recommend keeping LearnDash on subdomain. I would be assuming you don’t have a course specific website and you have hosted generic part of the website on the main domain.

  1. If you are looking to use different theme on main website as compared to the one your are going to use on subdomain, you don’t have choice but to go for this option.
  2. Having two separate installations provide a lot more stability in terms of maintaining your website. If a plugin relevant to LearnDash causes your website to go down, your main website will stay just good and vice versa.
  3. Having LearnDash on a separate WordPress installation have proven to increase performance both for the main part of your website as well as LMS part.
  4. If you are looking to use different hosts for LMS part, you are left with no other option but to have a different WordPress installation and use subdirectory/subdomain.
  5. Having LMS separately on a different WordPress installation allow you to accurately track resources required by LearnDash and scale them accordingly. If you have a generic store, keeping LearnDash on a separate WordPress installation makes sense. It ensures you can get more accurate reporting and scale resources for each part of your website.
  6. Having LearnDash on a separate installation is worth it, it allows you to have the best possible hosting configuration for the LearnDash part.

Which Option must you go for?

For most of my clients I keep LearnDash on a separate installation since it allows me to keep them up all the time more easily. But obviously each person have different preference. You can choose which one works for you depending upon your priorities.

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