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With or without www?

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 8:39pm Sunday 12 July 2009    Print Article

Some people are very anal about whether URLs should have a www prefix or not. I personally think domains look naked without them, and there is a reason why we use the www in the first place.

It really surprises me how often typing in a domain name without the www in front, results in one of the following errors
  • Page Load Error. The browser could not find the host server for the provided address.
  • Directory Listing Denied
  • Bad Request (Invalid Hostname)
Not everyone enters the www when they type in a domain. Some leave it out, while others always type it in. Try it with your own website. How many visitors (clients & candidates) are you losing as a result of this error?

By forcing visitors and search engines to your preferred domain, you can guarantee that you won’t end up with duplicate results or different page ranks for your domain with or without the www.

It all depends on how your website host or server administrator has decided to set this up, but usually your domain will work with or without the www.

If you do make your website accessible with and without www, make sure that you use one as your “main” solution. For instance, if people go to “without www”, redirect them to “with www” (or vice versa).

This way you won’t run into cookie trouble for instance, with people having a cookie on www, returning the next day to without www and finding their cookie is gone (for cookies, these are two different domains).

Reasons to include www

  • It helps identify a URL as a web address, especially if the domain extension is other than a .com one
  • Many people will type it in anyway
  • For some people, URLs look more visually appealing with them
Reasons not to include www
  • It makes the URL longer, especially if the URL is for a subdomain
  • It's unnecessary
  • For some people, URLs look cleaner without them

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Article Tags: www server recruitment website job board error www prefix search engine optimisation seo accessibility cookies

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