Nowadays “www vs non-www” becomes a common question among bloggers and also it is a common query of those who notice the difference. What difference? When we visit a website, we may notice that sometimes the URL looks like “www.example.com” and many times it looks like “example.com“, as simple as that. For example, see the URL of Wikipedia and Medium. For Wikipedia, it is www.wikipedia.com, but for Medium it is simply “medium.com“.
In today’s article, we’ll try to find that out.
But first thing first,
Why should you even think about www and non-www?
When you are setting up a website, you will need to choose whether you want to use the www or non-www version of your site’s URL. While there is no right or wrong answer, there are a few things to consider when making your decision.
The www version of a URL is the most common and is often seen as the more professional option. It can help to build trust with visitors and makes your site appear more established.
The non-www version, on the other hand, can be seen as more modern and sleek. It can also be easier to remember for visitors, as it is shorter and does not require the www prefix.
Ultimately, the decision of which to use is up to you. However, it is important to be consistent with your choice and use the same version throughout your site. This will help to ensure that visitors can easily find your content and avoid any confusion.
I first noticed this thing after shifting my site from “Google Blogger” to “WordPress”. Now if you write www.scientyficworld.org in your browser then you’ll be redirected to scientyficworld.org. So why did this happen and how both things are different?
An URL consists of 3 parts. Each of them has a separate purpose.
- www: The “www” part is called the subdomain. Now a subdomain could be anything. The ideal example is Wikipedia. It is the default subdomain. You see it has a primary URL-“www.wikipedia.org” but it also has URLs like”en.wikipedia.org” and many more.
- domain-name: The “domain” part is called a second Level Domain.
- .com: The “.com” portion is called a: Top Level Domain (TLD)
The “web” was developed and came into common use long after the concept of domain names were invented and used.
What is www?
WWW is the “World Wide Web“. If we talk about the definition of www, then here it is-
Back in the time, when the internet was first introduced and everything just got started, “www” was used to signify that this was a website. At that time a domain without the www would lead to a server error.
Time passes and the “www” becomes the most significant aspect of communication between people. This was the era of web 1.0.
From the new era, i.e the era of web 2.0, the concept of the web started to change. Most sites primarily offer up HTTP services for public consumption. So, non-www websites were configured to shorten the “URL”. But, still, the www part doesn’t fade away from many people’s minds. Even now, if someone is told to go to “example. com”, they automatically search for “www.example.com”. So the best choice is to make both accessible and redirectable from one or the other.
Redirecting means, if someone search for “www.example.com”, then the browser will redirect it to “example.com”. Or vice versa. Like our site, itself. Try it by yourself.
Many people have confusion between HTTP and HTTPS also. See, HTTP aka “HyperText Transfer Protocol” is an application protocol that is used for data communication. HTTPS ( HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure ) is just the secure version of HTTP.
Now, let’s see the difference between a www and a non-www website.
www vs non-www: In terms of technology
First, start comparing these two types on a technical basis.
A non-www domain is also called a “naked” domain. Whereas the www domain can act as a hostname and can have several subdomains attached to it.
To see www vs non-www, let’s first know the pros and cons of both www and non-www domains.
www in the URL helps us to control the cookies in our site’s different www subdomains.
WWW allows us to restrict the cookies to our root domain so that no additional cookies get passed down to any specific subdomains. Let’s say our site has a URL – “www.scientyficworld.org”. Now, if I want to set cookies for some of its subdomains, then those cookies will pass down to all those subdomains. Therefore, for a website with multiple subdomains, it is good to use www URLs. This is why WIKIPEDIA is -“www.wikipedia.org”.
Another benefit of using www is that www subdomains are much more flexible when it comes to DNS(Domain Name System). So, you can use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) in a much easier way.
Now, let’s talk about the disadvantages of using www in URL.
The major problem is redirection. Pretty much everyone searches their queries on google chrome. As if you are also a chrome user, you can see that Google is hiding the www while displaying the URL of a website.
See these two images. In the first image, it is our website, which has no www in its URL, whereas in the second image, it is Wikipedia which has www in its URL. But the noticeable thing is that both websites are displaying as they don’t have www in their URL. So, when people go to a website for the second time, they search for the website without www(like-“wikipedia.org”). And if your website has no redirection from non-www to www, then people face a server error.
Even a Chromium developer commented that the www subdomains are being classified by Google as “trivial” subdomains in the behavior’s bug report.
Now, let’s see what are the pros and cons of non-www websites.
The first and most significant advantage of a non-www website is that these types of domains are easy to remember. For example- “scientyficworld.org” is easier to remember than “www.scientyficworld.org”. Also without the www term, the domain name looks more clear.
Now you may think this is rubbish. But you also know that when you search for a website you hardly type the term “www”. This is a fact that most people search for websites without typing the www. so eventually, the www domains might phase-out, and non-www might be more prominent.
The second thing is – that if you don’t want to restrict your cookies over your subdomains, or if you don’t have subdomains, then a non-www domain is the best choice for you.
Domains without www don’t have CNAME records. So you can’t redirect traffic from one server to another. To understand why it is a disadvantage read below.
CNAME stands for Canonical Name. CNAME records are used to redirect one name to another.
Let’s say you have both
www.example.com, hosted by the same server. To avoid maintaining two different records, it’s common to create:
example.compointing to the server IP address
As a result,
example.com points to the server IP address, and
www.example.com points to the same address via
example.com. If the IP address changes, you only need to update it in one place: just edit the A record for, and
www.example.com automatically inherits the changes.
What’s a CNAME record? – DNSimple Help – Read for complete knowledge about CNAME.
So, a CNAME record is useful when one server gets overloaded, and you need to redirect traffic to a healthy server. But on a non-www website, it is not possible. For such domains, CDN is also difficult to work with.
So finally, www domains do have some advantages that non-www domains don’t. However, these benefits are only applicable for big websites(like- Wikipedia) that have multiple subdomains and many servers. But for a small website, it really doesn’t matter which type of domain you are using, as a non-www domain works just the same as a www one. But if you want to grow your website( which pretty much everyone wants) then you have to think about this. You have to decide what fits perfect for your site.
Now let’s compare www and non-www in terms of SEO.
www vs non-www: In terms of SEO
SEO means search engine optimization. To make a good SEO score, we’ve to take care of our contents, the design of our website as well as the technical things of our website. That’s why to make a good SEO of your site, you also need to look after the technical things like your designs and other kinds of stuff. And it includes the domain name also.
If the performance of the website is better, then your user experience will be better, which, in turn, enhances your website’s SEO. This means your website will be then more optimized.
So, to do that we also have to consider the technical comparison between www and non-www, where www domains have some slight advantages. Now, domains with www have an indirect but positive effect on SEO. However, this effect is not very significant, and you can do away with it and use a non-www domain.
Also, you can get the same benefits that a www domain offers in a non-www domain with some workarounds. For example, you can use a separate domain altogether to host your static content. This will make the cookie restriction functionality of a www domain unnecessary.
After comparing both the versions, a major question may arise, i.e.
Can you use both www and non-www?
Technically, you can, but it is not recommended. Cause, then Google will see this as two separate sites.
If you have both versions indexed, you would have to set up and maintain both sites in GSC (Google Search Console). Also, you will face duplicate content issues, and your link equity would be split between the two domains. And all these kinds of stuff can potentially harm your search engine ranking.
So, better you stick to a domain and if you already have both versions of your site, then you’ve to redirect them to your canonical domain [ It is the domain that we choose to use as our official domain. This means the search engine will index this domain rather than the other domain names. For example, our canonical domain is “scientyficworld.org”. And other domain names ].
How to redirect from one domain to another?
See, there are two types of redirection here.
- 301 redirection: Permanent Redirection
- 302 redirection: Temporary redirection
Always do the first one. Because obviously from the name itself you can understand how they work. And you obviously didn’t create a site for a temporary period, so redirection should always be the 301 redirections.
Now, redirecting your domain to WordPress isn’t that tough. You can do it by yourself. Here are also two ways to do that.
- Using .htaccess File
- Using cPanel
Both are a little bit long process and I’ve found a source where they’ve described it very well. So I’m putting their link below. You can definitely check out that.
Now see the image, here our site is redirecting from each case. If you search for HTTP or HTTPS or www, it will be redirected to our present URL. You can also check this for your site from here.
By the time of redirecting, carefully redirect your other domains to your canonical domain. Otherwise, everything will change in the search engine. This means if your canonical domain changes then the search engine will start indexing your new domain, and everything will start again from the beginning.
Finally, choose the version that is best for your blog, business, goals, and other objectives. Just keep in mind that the www domain is slightly better than the non-www version in technical terms. But also there are many ways to achieve those advantages in the non-www domains also. But every business creates to grow more. So, do whatever you do but before that do good research about all this stuff.
Also, if you’re creating a new site then stick with one particular domain. And If you already have a site that is established then no need to change it from one to another. It will give the search engines a bad impression of your site and will harm your ranking.
If you’ve already both the versions of the domain, absolutely necessary thing is redirection. And after completing the process, it will take Google some time to crawl and index the changes of your site.
So, that’s it from my side, my friend. For more information, here are some references that will definitely help you.
- www vs non-www: Which is Right from SEO Perspective (spyfu.com)
- World Wide Web – Wikipedia
- WWW vs. non-WWW: Which is Better for SEO? (searchenginejournal.com)
- How to Redirect WWW to Non WWW and Vice Versa in WordPress – Themesgrove -Link for redirection your domain.