Final Verdict on WWW vs Non-WWW Domain Names


Do usually embody www when typing a web site title right into a browser’s tackle bar? Are you able to inform whether or not Wikipedia, Amazon, Fb, and Twitter use www or not? Don’t fear when you can’t since you aren’t alone on this. 

Since well-liked net browsers like Google Chrome and Safari now conceal the www a part of URLs, it’s straightforward to miss the presence of the “www” prefix within the names of well-liked web sites. Amazon is www, however when you sort as a substitute of into the search bar, you’ll nonetheless have the ability to benefit from the comfort of prime supply in your new pair of sneakers.

Within the early days of the Web, www was a vital part of any area title. With no internet hosting suppliers, each firm used to handle their very own servers, and prefixes have been used to distinguish between numerous servers. Information saved on the www server could be meant for sharing on the internet, and the web site title could be Ftp servers have been used to share information inside the community, mail servers have been used to deal with e mail supply, and the listing goes on. 

Even at the moment, you may come throughout phrases like a fully-qualified area title (full area title with a prefix) and root area, however with no prefix. An necessary change is that now, a fully-qualified area ( and a root area ( linked to the identical IP tackle of a single server will each work correctly.

On this article, we’ll clarify why retaining www in your web site title could possibly be helpful (despite the fact that it’s now not necessary.) We’ll additionally focus on methods to higher talk to Google and different search engines like google which model of your web site is preferable. We’ll additionally look into some canonical points that will come up from utilizing www vs non-www.

Whether or not you select the www or non-www route, you’ll want a correct technical setup, which shall be a strong basis for the way forward for your Web optimization progress.

Why is www vs non-www necessary for Web optimization?

So, does the selection between www and non-www impression web optimization? Briefly, Google and different search engines like google don’t actually care both approach. What issues is the way you inform search engines like google about your most well-liked variation or, in Web optimization phrases, the canonical one.

Right here’s an previous Twitter dialog, the place John Mueller confirms that you simply shouldn’t fear an excessive amount of about selecting www vs no www: 

John Mueller on www vs non www

Since search engines like google deal with www and non-www web site variations as two separate web sites, it is best to explicitly talk to search engines like google which model of your web site to crawl and index, and which to disregard. Failure to take action will end in each variations being listed, resulting in competitors between the www and non-www web site variations within the SERPS. This may stop every model from getting the rankings it deserves. 

There are a number of Web optimization points related to this state of affairs:

  • Duplicate content material. Search engines like google and yahoo worth unique and distinctive content material. Each time a number of pages have an identical or nearly an identical content material, they’re thought-about duplicates. Within the case of www and non-www duplicates, Google will do its greatest to find out which model to prioritize. Nonetheless, a greater strategy could be to keep away from leaving this choice to search engines like google and as a substitute use redirects or canonical tags to specify your desire. Extra on that later.
  • Wasted crawling funds. Search engines like google and yahoo have a restricted crawling capability. By not specifying your most well-liked web site model, you drive them to crawl every web page twice. This implies search engines like google might exhaust their crawling funds earlier than absolutely scanning all of the necessary pages in your web site. This could be a complete disgrace. 
  • Diluted backlink worth. Excessive-quality backlinks can considerably enhance your rankings, offered that they level to the correct variation of your web site. Except you arrange a redirect or use a canonical tag, backlinks pointing to the www model of your web site will solely carry worth to that model, whereas non-www pages will solely profit from backlinks pointing to the respective non-www URLs. 

Being undecided about utilizing www or not is a foul Web optimization choice. So, when you’ve made up your thoughts, right here’s methods to proceed.

Redirect or canonical tag: methods to higher point out your most well-liked web site model

In the case of indicating your most well-liked area title, it’s a must to select between utilizing a server-side 301 redirect or including a canonical tag. Each choices aren’t too technically difficult to implement, and the vast majority of fashionable CMSs supply built-in performance, making redirect and canonical tags even simpler to arrange. 

From the consumer perspective, there’s a distinction between utilizing 301 redirects and rel=canonical tags. With rel=canonical tags, the URL displayed within the browser’s tackle bar and historical past doesn’t change. For instance, if, a consumer tries to entry ‘’, they are going to see that actual URL within the tackle bar even when is your canonical variation. However since well-liked net browsers skip www as of late, customers received’t even discover the distinction.

Now, let’s focus on every choice in higher element.

Establishing a 301 redirect

The commonest and Web optimization-friendly strategy could be to arrange server-side 301 redirects. This entails enhancing the .htaccess file on the server stage. Additionally, search engines like google acknowledge redirect directions as necessary.  

For web site guests, redirects from www to non-www or vice versa work as follows:

Each time a consumer enters the non-canonical model of your area title within the tackle bar and sends a request to your web site’s server, the server responds with a 301 redirect to the browser. This routinely redirects the consumer to the ‘correct’ canonical equal of the web page. If, for instance, your most well-liked web site model is and a consumer varieties within the search bar, they are going to find yourself on 

How does 301 redirect work?

The identical logic applies to look engine bots that crawl and index your web site. They received’t have the ability to entry the non-canonical model of your area, which implies that Google and different search engines like google will efficiently index the correct model of your web site.

On high of that, redirects are good at passing the hyperlink juice, which implies that your www web site model will profit from the backlinks that time to the corresponding non-www pages.

To arrange a 301 instantly through the .htaccess file, which is positioned in your web site’s root folder, you’ll want so as to add a number of traces of code to it.

You probably have determined to make use of the non-www model and need to redirect customers and bots attempting to entry the www-version, add the next traces of code:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}
RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301,L]

In case your most well-liked model is, and that you must redirect from non-www to www, add these traces of code:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www.
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=301,L]

Relying in your CMS, you could possibly set every thing up by check-marking the mandatory area within the CMS settings or through the use of a plugin.

Including canonical tags to your web site pages

You probably have no technical means to arrange 301 redirects, you may add the rel=canonical <hyperlink> tag to the HTML code of all pages of your non-preferred web site model. A canonical tag instructs search engines like google in figuring out which amongst related pages ought to be thought-about the principle one, guaranteeing its indexing and rating, whereas disregarding the others.

Whereas canonical tags function suggestions quite than strict directions, they aren’t as dependable as 301 redirects. Primarily based on different indicators reminiscent of sitemaps, or inner and exterior hyperlinks, it might select completely different canonical pages than these specified via canonical tags.

Right here’s how one can implement rel=canonical tags. Let’s assume your most well-liked model is To point that is your most well-liked web page model, you’ll want so as to add the next line of code to the <head> part of HTML code:

<hyperlink href="" rel="canonical">

Ranging from WordPress 2.9 or increased, rel=canonical tags are routinely added to all pages of your web site. You don’t must take any extra motion by yourself. The tags will both level to www or non-www variations of your web site relying on the one you specified as your WordPress Deal with (URL) within the common settings of WordPress.

Keep watch over your redirects and canonicals setup

When you determine whether or not to make use of www or non-www and you’ve got marked your most well-liked model as canonical through the use of both of the 2 strategies described above, it’s advisable to examine if every thing went nicely. Instruments like SE Rating’s Web site Audit shall be of nice assist right here. By commonly monitoring your web site’s well being, you may be sure that no technical bugs jeopardize your Web optimization progress. 

To examine if every thing is about up correctly in your web site, you can begin your 14-day free trial. The system will routinely audit your web site as quickly as you add your challenge to the platform.


Rating your web site in 2 minutes.

Enter any web site URL to get an in depth report on tech points and prompt options.

Within the Duplicate Content material part of the Situation Report, you’ll get notified if one thing went fallacious. This contains indications of potential points along with your redirects or cases the place a number of canonical tags are added to the identical web page. 

Duplicate Content by SE Ranking's Website Audit

Within the HTTP Standing Code part of the report, you’ll see if any of your canonical URLs aren’t functioning correctly. This contains conditions the place the URLs are redirected to different locations (3xx standing codes), have been deleted (4xx standing codes), or are briefly unavailable on account of server errors (5xx standing codes.) Each difficulty within the report comes with tips about how it may be mounted, together with a listing of the affected pages.

Canonical 3xx URLs

Lastly, when you used canonical tags to point your most well-liked web site model, be certain that to commonly examine which pages Google truly considers canonical. You are able to do this manually through the use of Google Search Console or with SE Rating’s Rank Tracker. Take a look at this information for detailed directions.

Use www or non-www constantly

Consistency is essential, and your www or non-ww URL variations aren’t any exception. Whichever model you select, follow it. For instance, when you hold www, be certain that all of your Sitemap URLs, inner hyperlinks, and backlinks are www. 

Search engines like google and yahoo depend on your Sitemap as a complete guidebook that outlines all of the pages you need to crawl and index. Be certain to make use of right URL variations in your sitemap to keep away from sending complicated indicators to Google, particularly in case your web site makes use of canonical tags to point the canonical (or most well-liked) area title. Luckily, SE Rating’s Web site Audit will ping you when you ever mess issues up.

Non-canonical pages in the sitemap

The identical applies to inner hyperlinks, which ship highly effective indicators to Google about which pages are essentially the most priceless. Inside hyperlinks additionally cross hyperlink juice, so be sure that you’re distributing hyperlink juice properly through the use of the correct hyperlink URLs. Within the Discovered Hyperlinks part of the Web site Audit, you could find an entire listing of your inner hyperlinks. Use filters to examine if any of the hyperlinks use a non-canonical URL variation. Within the instance beneath,  we shall be trying to find non-www URLs for the reason that web site’s most well-liked model is www.

Internal Links in the Website Audit

When potential, you also needs to attempt to management URL variations utilized by websites linking again to you. In case your canonical area is www, your backlinks ought to ideally function this prefix. The identical applies to backlinks from affiliate web sites. With these sorts of backlinks, you may have extra management and may prepare for your corporation companions to make use of correct URL variations. 

You also needs to take note of social media hyperlinks. Whereas social media hyperlinks do probably not strengthen your backlink profile, they nonetheless partially have an effect on your Web optimization rankings. 

To get an entire listing of your web site’s backlinks, you should utilize SE Rating’s Backlink Checker. As soon as once more, you’ll need to use filters to search out backlinks pointing to non-canonical URLs. The web site within the instance beneath is www, nevertheless it has loads of backlinks pointing to non-www web page variations. When you discover any of the detected backlinks significantly priceless, think about contacting the web sites in query and requesting that they replace the URLs of these backlinks.

Backlink pointing to a non-canonical domain name

Briefly, be in keeping with the URL variations that your workforce and your companions use. Search engines like google and yahoo will admire your efforts and reward you with higher rankings.

Advantages of utilizing www or non-www

Web optimization-wise, retaining or skipping www makes no massive distinction, however there are advantages related to every choice. For www, the advantages are very technical, and in some circumstances, retaining www is a necessity. However, non-www is mostly thought-about to be higher for branding. Now, let’s dive into the main points to realize a greater understanding.

www for dealing with a great deal of site visitors

Within the intro of this text, we talked about Wikipedia, Amazon, and Fb. One purpose why these are all www is that they depend on content material supply networks (CDN) to shortly and securely ship content material to hundreds of thousands of their customers. 

What does this must do with www or no www?

When choosing the non-www strategy, it’s common to map each the foundation area and hostname to the identical IP tackle offered by your internet hosting supplier. That is achieved via an A-type file. The DNS file would seem as follows: IN A IN A

In keeping with DNS specs, root domains ought to all the time level to an IP tackle. Challenges come up when utilizing CDNs since that you must level your web site to a CDN area quite than an IP tackle. 

Theoretically, you may map your area each to an IP tackle utilizing an A-type file and to a CDN area utilizing a CNAME file. However one other DNS rule states {that a} CNAME file can not co-exist with different useful resource file varieties. Which means when you add each information, the A-type file pointing to the IP tackle shall be ignored, thereby violating the primary rule. 

To simplify issues, pointing to a CDN area is just not potential as a result of nature of DNS requests.. This configuration will end in surprising errors and received’t let your web site perform correctly.

On the similar time, when you go for the www model of your web site, you received’t have any issues complying with DNS guidelines. You’d create a CNAME file for the www web site, mapping it to a CDN of your alternative. You’d additionally add an A file in your root area, directing it to your web site’s IP tackle.  CNAME      A

Additionally it is value mentioning that some DNS suppliers like Cloudflare, DNS Made Simple, and DNSSimple have launched workarounds to beat DNS restrictions. However counting on these workarounds will restrict your alternative of DNS suppliers. You may additionally expertise hindered consumer expertise due to customers being routed to a far-away CDN node.

www for taming web site cookies

Along with DNS limitations, selecting a root area as canonical raises considerations about cookies. In fashionable browsers, the principle area’s cookies are routinely transmitted to subdomains. Which means when you set cookies for, they may even be despatched to, e, and so forth. 

Right here’s why this can be a unhealthy factor. 

  • The primary difficulty is the impression on consumer expertise. Greater web sites usually retailer their static content material (reminiscent of pictures, movies, JavaScript, and CSS information) on a subdomain to dump the principle server and deal with dynamic requests effectively. But when the web site runs as the foundation area, cookies will nonetheless be despatched from to, leading to slower entry to static content material and compromising web site efficiency. The one strategy to stop this bandwidth waste is by storing your static content material on a very separate area. Twitter, for instance, adopts a non-www strategy and hosts their static content material on as an answer to this downside.
  • The second downside entails safety dangers. Whenever you log into your web site’s CMS, a cookie is issued. And whenever you go to or, the cookie is shipped to those subdomains, and may then be learn by server directors. This poses a safety danger as a result of directors can copy the cookie and use it to log into your company CMS. To mitigate this danger, one potential resolution is to implement IP restriction, which solely permits entry to your web site from particular IP addresses related along with your company community. 

So, if you wish to optimize your web site’s pace by internet hosting static content material individually however don’t need to buy a complete new area, retaining the www prefix in your most well-liked area title is a viable choice. This may even stop third events from studying your web site’s cookies. 

Non-www for branding and ease of use

In case your web site isn’t giant sufficient to require a devoted CDN or when you don’t have subdomains that would intrude along with your cookies, choosing the non-www model would be the higher choice. Regardless of the technical limitations, you may nonetheless go for non-www and make use of the obtainable workarounds. 

Right here’s why you would possibly think about this selection. 

 At first sight, the non-www URL appears to be like neater and extra interesting. It additionally rolls off the tongue simpler. As English writer Douglas Adams as soon as famous, it takes thrice longer to pronounce the abbreviation www than merely saying “World Extensive Internet”. So, it’s no marvel broadcasters usually drop the www half when mentioning a web site on-air. That is truly what most individuals do when saying the title of a web site out loud.

When typing a site title within the tackle bar, customers who don’t bear in mind the early days of the Web usually usually skip the www half. Even old-school customers who nonetheless add www to the URL tackle received’t see it displayed within the tackle bar as a result of browsers routinely conceal it anyway. It’s doubtless that sooner or later, www will change into analogous to a steam practice on the planet of railways and can solely be used sparingly. 

To www, or to not www

The choice to incorporate or exclude the www prefix in your area title might appear to be a small one, however don’t let your first impressions idiot you. This can be a massive choice that may make an enormous distinction. www vs non-www alternative impacts your branding and your web site’s scalability, so be certain that to decide on properly primarily based in your priorities and future plans. And when you make the choice, mark your most well-liked model as canonical and keep it up. Switching backwards and forwards from www to non-www is technically potential, nevertheless it received’t do your web site’s Web optimization any good. 


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