When you type a website name into the browser address bar, do you ever start with www? Can you tell whether Wikipedia, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter are www or non-www? Don’t worry if you can’t because you’re not alone.
Since popular web browsers like Google Chrome and Safari now hide the www part of a URL, it’s easy to lose track of the www prefix in the names of popular websites. If you’re wondering, all of the above-mentioned Internet giants except for Twitter are www. But if you type facebook.com instead of www.facebook.com, you’ll still get your news feed loaded in a few seconds.
The fact that omitting the www part won’t hinder your access to most websites can make you think that www is obsolete, and you may not bother to include it in your website URL at all. But if that were the case, then why would Wikipedia, Amazon, and Facebook stick to this conventional format?
In this post, we’ll consider the pros and cons of making www a part of your website name. On top of that, I’ll also share some technical setup tips that will help you keep your website SEO-friendly regardless of whether you choose to go www or non-www.
What’s the point of www?
Before we delve into discussing all the benefits and drawbacks of keeping or skipping the www part, let’s first understand where it comes from. To run a website, you basically need two things: a server where all your website files will be stored along with an easily memorable name aka the domain name. The latter will let users access your website by typing (www.)example.com instead of the server’s IP address into the address bar with DNS doing all the heavy lifting.