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Use WWW or Non-WWW Prefix in Your Domain Name

Are you struggling with the decision to use a WWW or non-WWW prefix for your website domain? This article aims to help you make an informed choice. The argument over the preference for “www” (for example, www.yourwebsite.com) or non-www (also known as “naked” domains, like yourwebsite.com) in web addresses has long been a topic among experts. Both options carry distinct advantages and potential drawbacks. This decision relies heavily on your specific website requirements.

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What is WWW Prefix

“WWW” – “World Wide Web,” a system of interlinked documents on the Internet. It’s one of the most common ways we access and share information online. When you see “www” at the beginning of a URL, it typically means that you’re accessing a web page rather than another part of the Internet, like email (SMTP, IMAP), file transfer (FTP), or database access.

In the early days of the web, “www” was used to distinguish a website (HTTP or HTTPS protocol) from other services offered by the same server, such as FTP or email. These days, most web servers automatically assume you’re looking for the web server unless otherwise specified, making “www” often unnecessary.

The “www” is a subdomain of the main domain. For example, in www.example.com, “www” is a subdomain of “example.com.” It’s technically possible to set up other subdomains like blog.example.com or shop.example.com.

However, whether or not “www” is shown in your browser can depend on several factors, including the website’s configuration and your web browser’s settings. Some websites are set up to redirect www to the non-www version, or vice versa, for consistency and to avoid split search engine rankings between the two versions. Additionally, some web browsers hide the “www” in the address bar to save space.

Understanding WWW Domains

Firstly, let’s understand the benefits and potential drawbacks of using WWW in your domain.

Advantages of WWW Domains

The “www” in your domain is essentially a subdomain. This feature allows you significant flexibility, particularly if you foresee the future need to create subdomains on your site. Examples might include blog.yourwebsite.com or shop.yourwebsite.com.

WWW domains also offer the advantage of DNS CNAME records. This feature is handy for load balancing, redundancy, or when using CDN services.

Furthermore, when you use “www,” you can optimize your cookie handling. You can prevent sending cookies to a subdomain hosting static content like images.yourwebsite.com, which, in turn, can enhance performance.

Drawbacks of WWW Domains

However, WWW domains do come with their fair share of challenges. The most obvious one is the additional length it adds to your URL, making it potentially less pleasing aesthetically. In addition, some users might consider “www” redundant and old-fashioned, as several modern websites lean towards the cleaner look of non-www domains.

Exploring Non-WWW Domains

Next, let’s explore non-WWW domains’ pros and cons.

Benefits of Non-WWW Domains

The most immediate benefit of non-WWW domains is their brevity. The omission of “www” makes your domain name simpler and easier to remember. This omission gives your website a modern appeal, following the trend of many tech industry websites.

Challenges of Non-WWW Domains

Non-WWW domains, despite their streamlined appearance, do carry some technical restrictions. Some DNS providers may not support root domain pointing (yourwebsite.com) to a CNAME record. This action becomes problematic when you use certain CDNs, cloud services, or load balancers. Non-WWW domains can affect your cookie handling performance, as cookies get sent to all subdomains.

Making Your Decision: To Use WWW or Non-WWW. UNBIASED Suggestion.

The choice to use WWW or non-WWW depends heavily on technical considerations and your preference. Regardless of your choice, consistency is vital. Choose one format and ensure the other redirects to it. This choice helps you avoid issues with duplicate content. Implement a 301 redirect to inform search engines that your site’s addresses have permanently moved from one location to another.

Remember, search engine optimization (SEO) doesn’t favor one over the other when deciding whether to use WWW or non-WWW. Both versions receive equal treatment. So, let your choice be guided by your website’s specific needs and aesthetic preferences.

Navigating the choice between WWW and non-WWW domains can be a technical task. However, it’s crucial to make your website accessible and user-friendly. Consider all these aspects and decide what best fits your website’s needs.

Making Your Decision: To Use WWW or Non-WWW. BIASED Suggestion.

It is mainly your decision based on the information in this article since there is limited impact on SEO while using WWW or non-WWW prefixes in your domain name. But as a beginner, we advise using the www prefix in your domain.

Most users won’t notice whether you have it in the domain name. They click a link, whether in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) or other sites and get to a page on your site.

If you’re worried that while handing someone the link to your site verbally, you need to spell “www.yourdomain.com” each time – you need not worry. We will later set up 301 redirects from “yourdomain.com” to “www.yourdomain.com” in the Complete SEO Guide Box. So, when you’re handing your domain verbally, you can omit the “www,” and still, the user will be redirected to “www.”

The same goes for using your domain on your visit, greeting, or business cards. You can use just the naked domain without the “WWW.”

Here is another issue, because of which it is advised to use the WWW prefix. It will be too late if you begin without a WWW prefix and want to add it later (for example, because of technical limitations like cookies or load balancing). Google treats “www.yourdomain.com” and “yourdomain.com” as two different domains. Because of that, you need to be consistent over all your posts and other places to use only one convention, not both simultaneously, after deciding which one to use.

So, we will use the “www” prefix in the domain name in all the articles throughout the Guide and settings.

The current article is "4.13. WWW or Non-WWW" of our Complete SEO Guide Box.
Previous Article: 4.12. CloudWays Tools. Next Article: 4.14. Tie Domain & Hosting


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