The choice between a www. URL and a non-www. URL may seem unimportant for most business owners. But understanding what URL you have and why you have it is actually very important.
Believe it or not, there are even benefits and negatives to having one or the other. In this article, we look at the difference between the two, why you should care and what to do with your URL.
The traditional WWW website
The very first websites all started with WWW. If you weren’t already aware, the WWW stands for World Wide Web. It has long been the most associated letters with the internet and is still used by a huge number of websites today.
Seems simple, right? Things are actually a little more complicated. Here are the pros and cons of having a www. Domain.
- It is easy to pass cookies to subdomains. If you understand how cookies work, you’ll know they are passed on hierarchically. So all cookies get passed onto subdomains.
- It allows for flexible sub-domains, too. With regard to your DNS, subdomains are more flexible when you have a www. website. It would be harder to come up with a CNAME that doesn’t mess up the Mail and FTP settings without one.
- It is old school and doesn’t look that good. This is why a lot of newer websites and brands will forego it.
Understanding the non-WWW website
So if there aren’t any major downsides to having a non-www website, why would you bother omitting it? There are a couple of major reasons. For one, it is much shorter. This means your URL is quicker to type in and easier to recall. It also makes your URL much more brandable, too. Many brands now include the .com in their brand name because they can drop the www.
Here are the full pros and cons of a non-www domain.
- You don’t need to have a www address at all. Not having it doesn’t do any harm to your website, so why bother?
- It could result in better rankings and more traffic from search. Shorter URLs look better and are more clickable meaning a traffic boost.
- You can’t restrict cookies from being passed onto all subdomains. That being said, this shouldn’t be an issue for most sites.
In truth, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between www and non-www URLs. One isn’t significantly better than the other and they work in much the same way. This is why it is much more common for new websites to drop it. The URL looks better without it, it is more brandable and means the URL is shorter.
Whatever you choose, just make sure that you check the correct box in Google Webmaster tools and keep your URL consistent.