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Home > Articles > Domain.com or www.domain.com?

Domain.com or www.domain.com?

June 21st, 2009 reset

To www or not to www? That is the question.

Developers and web site owners will inevitably face the decision to use either domain.com or www.domain.com.  One may say it does not matter which I use.   This question needs to be looked at from a few different points of views:  from a users (or browser) perspective, from a search engine perspective and from a marketing perspective.  There are some different schools of thought related to the Shakespearian question.  There is no correct answer, but different practices and recommendations can improve your search rankings and increase site traffic, and could affect your marketing.  We will analyze this question from the different perspectives mentioned.


Search Engine Perspective:  Search engines uses automated browsing agents (called spiders or googlebots) that crawl your site and they use intelligent algorithyms to index your pages.  These robots will index all your pages it can find and if you are using www.domain.com and domain.com inconsistently across URLs in your web pages, this can confuse the robots and could lead to duplicate content, which can adversly affect your rankings.  If all your URLs are nice and consistent (either www or no www), the search robot will not confuse pages (thus no duplicate content).  So, the search engines want you to be consistent with your use of www or no www.   If you site has both kinds of URLs scattered about many pages, you can use a find/replace function to help make them all consistent. 

Also, if you use Google Webmaster tools, you can set google’s preference as to how to display searches.  Personally, I always use www.domain.com on the development side, so I set google’s prefernence for all my sites to use www.  I would recommend that all HTML href tags and URLs within pages should use the www.domain.com

User / Browser Perspective:  Make sure you have read everything up to this point, as this is an Entirely Different Perspective!  Browsers (and users) are fairly tolerant of the use of www or no www.  If you type domain.com into your browser, it will still resolve the address and find the site.  If you type www.domain.com, same thing it works.  However, you may notice something different between them.  Your browser will either show http://domain.com or http://www.domain.com.  If you type in domain.com and the address changes to www.domain.com, then that particular web site redirecting (rewriting) the URL to a consistent method.  Type google.com or yahoo.com into your browser and you will see how those Internet Giants handle the www or no www question.  If you are a webmaster and want your site to redirect domain.com to www.domain.com, see the extra info at the bottom of this post. 

From a Marketing Perspective:  So, browsers can handle www or no www.  But in marketing, it is perfectly acceptable and very common to market just domain.com.  There is no need to put the www all over your nice marketing layouts.  Also long as people remember the domain.com, they should be able to find your site.  

So, in conclusion, I recommend one uses www.domain.com on the development side in the web pages and URLs, but from a Marketing perspective, drop the www and use just domain.com.  The browser are fairly tolerant to either, so there it does not really matter.  When I see a full URL http://www.domain.com versus http://domain.com, the latter just does not seem correct eventhough it works.  I like to see the www in the full URL, because domains are intended to be made of 3 parts (the www, the domain, and the extension). 

Extra:  If you want your site to redirect domain.com traffic to www.domain.com traffic, you will need to edit your .htaccess file.  The follow except is for domain.com to www.domain.com.  Be carefull editing this file, as a simple error can cause lots of problems.  Know what you are doing or ask someone. 

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


Modify the above changing domain.com to your domain.  You can check if it works by typing your domain.com into a browser address bar and you should see the URL change to www.domain.com.  Note:  This .htaccess code is for going from domain.com to www.domain.com, not the other way around (which I would not recommend).

I hope this article was helpful.  I know I cleaned-up all my sites and set my google preferences to www.domain.com.

  1. April 10th, 2010 at 11:03 | #1

    thank you..

    httaccess very good method

  2. Admin
    April 10th, 2010 at 12:47 | #2

    Hi gazete oku,
    Thanks for visiting! Yes, .htaccess techniques are very powerful and quite necessary. They are a bit touchy to work with as 1 mistake can make all your pages in-accessable, so always back-up your current .htaccess files. Here is a good site I just recently used with lots of good htaccess tips http://corz.org/serv/tricks/htaccess2.php

    Thanks for using myDeviceIP.com – Admin

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