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Is the any Difference Between WWW and non-WWW for SEO

Is the any Difference Between WWW and non-WWW for SEO

Are the benefits for any version

Have you ever noticed that some websites have their domains start with or without WWW? I think that each of the SEO specialists at least once was puzzled by the question of why there is much difference. What is the reason for that? And what way is better for the website in terms of SEO promotion. There is a lot of information on the Internet about this issue but I want to share with you some of my experience too.

So let’s start with the sorting out what is the difference between WWW and non-WWW domains.

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Technical Issues with WWW vs Non-WWW

When the Internet began its existence all the websites had their domains started with WWW and it was OK. That is why today we can spot a lot of the massive old websites that have their URLs with WWW. It was preserved so-called “historically”.

Domains starting with non-WWW were and are called naked domains.
People chose whatever they wanted, from their personal or brand preference.

But, anyway, there is a slight difference between such types of URLs.
Websites with a www URL can adjust to DNS and restrict the cookies when utilizing other domains. For a non-www domain, there is no such technical opportunity.

Pros and Cons of WWW vs Non-WWW URLs

Now let’s talk about some good and bad things of WWW and non-WWW domains.
Only in this way, seeing all the pluses and minuses we can make the right decision whether to make the domain naked or “clothed”.

WWW URL Pros

  • it is convenient for many people to type the domain with WWW because not so much time ago all the website URLs started with WWW;
  • WWW URL lets to set cookies for your specific www subdomain.

For example, you have a www.name.com domain, and if you set cookies for it, then it will pass down to all the subdomains. So, if you have subdomains ca.www.name.com and de.www.name.com, then the cookies will pass down to those as well.

Adding a WWW allows you to restrict your cookies to your root domain so that there aren’t any additional cookies that get passed down to other subdomains. Therefore, for a website with multiple subdomains, it is good to use WWW URLs so that you can restrict cookies for each.

WWW subdomains are much more flexible for actions with DNS. So, working with Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) becomes much easier.

WWW URL Cons

  • there can be a case that one day prefix WWW becomes obsolete because people don’t bother to type it while searching in the web.
  • such WWW prefix makes the URL much longer that is not preferred by Google – the shorter URLs, the better.

Non-WWW URL Cons

  • it is easier for the users to type the domain in the search, it is much quicker
  • it makes the domain name for 4 characters shorter that is preferred by Google and maybe have an impact on the search engine’s loyalty
  • it also can have subdomains and in general, the URL will be shorter in comparison to the exact same URL but with WWW.

Non-WWW URL Pros

  • non-WWW domain has no option to restrict cookies just to the root domain. However, that shouldn’t matter much if your subdomains are hosting images on the same root domain.
  • non-www domains don’t have CNAME records, so you can’t redirect traffic from one server to another. This functionality is useful when one server gets overloaded, and you need to redirect traffic to a new server. But, for non-www websites, you can’t do that. This also makes it difficult for a CDN to work for such domains.

Difference between WWW vs Non-WW URLs – What to Choose in Terms of SEO

Why do some websites not have www? So as might have already noticed that there are a lot of pros and cons for each of the ways – WWW and non-WWW.
But there is one more aspect that we need to talk about. How do these types of URLs influence the website’s performance in terms of SEO?

The main thing you need to know and remember, that your website must not be reached by two URLs https://name.com and https://www.name.com.

When both of these website URLs are working, Google sees it as two different websites. And there two great problems appear which can directly have an impact that your website does not very well.

  • firstly, when both domains with WWW and without WWW are working it creates not only duplicated content but the whole duplicated website. Google can penalize such a website and exclude it from the search results as an alias of the main site.
  • secondly, as Google sees these two URLs https://name.com and https://www.name.com as separate websites it divides their linking juice for two and your website does not get all the weight it needs.

So, in case, you are at the beginning of the creation of the website, please do it the smart way and choose only one variant of the website’s URL.

Or if you have tested your website while reading this article and found out that it has duplicates such as URLs with WWW and without WWW, you need to make 301 redirection from one version to another which is the main. For example, from https://www.name.com to https://name.com. In this way, you preserve your content and link weight.

To make 301 redirection you can ask your programmer to make some changes in .htaccess file or do it by yourself if you know what code is. Just to make you believe that it is a job for a programmer I show you the code of 301 redirection for Apache server:

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

See? Let the professional do this job.

Conclusion

There is no definite answer to what type of URL – WWW or non-WWW- to use for your website. They both have pros and cons and most people choose it completely subjectively. According to their taste, usability or brand.

The only thing we can stress is that if you have a large website or want it to become one in the future, you can choose WWW URL due to some technical issues with cookies and subdomains. If your website is not so massive it is pretty OK to have any type of these URLs – WWW or non-WWW. At this point, it is up to you!

To know more about https and http configuration, read our article about the difference between http and https protocols.

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