Why use “WWW” for your website?

www-domain

You have 2 options for the url display of your website – with the “www” in the beginning, or without the “www”, otherwise known as a “naked domain”.  That terminology itself might persuade you to lean towards the “www” version for your website, and it’s actually a pretty good portrayal of the domain not having as much protection from the elements as one with the “www”.

So, what makes the “www” domain more protected than the non-www domain?  Naked domains can’t have CNAME records.  If you have a large website, with a lot of traffic, with millions of page views per day, you will want to redirect traffic from a failing server to a healthy server using DNS CNAME records.  The workaround to this would be to run your own server farms, but you will be unable to use such services to their full extent.

Cookie_monsterAnd then there’s “cookies”.  Computer cookies are small pieces of data that are sent from a website to a user’s web browser, stored for later use, such as customizing the user experience, or logging in users to the website.  With the naked domain, the cookies get sent to all the subdomains, unlike the “www” domain which only does this if you tell it to.  Potentially, this could be a security risk for naked domains.  Also, for the naked domain this can mean slower access to the static content, and the caching may possibly not work either.    The workaround to this access issue would be to buy additional domains just for your static content, like Twitter does.  (Yes Twitter redirects to just twitter.com, did you notice?!)  If you explicitly share your cookies across your sub domains, for example to implement single sign on across various applications on the sub domains like Google does, you will also need to have additional domain names.

So, in summary, if you are planning on having a large, interactive website, it’s better to go with the “www” domain because it can be potentially safer and less problems/hassle.  If you just have a static website, just displaying information like Google’s parent company, Alphabet at abc.xyz, you can go with the naked domain and still feel covered.  Google does redirect its apps, like Google search, to the “www” version.

We choose to go with www.ultimatewb.com on our website here, and redirect users to this when they just type in ultimatewb.com.  If you are using UltimateWB software, you get this code included in your .htaccess file.  You can get the code here: WWW or no WWW – That is the question

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