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Is "www" redundant?
Wai_Wai




msg:686678
 3:29 am on Sep 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi.
Usually when we type a URL, it is in form of www.{doamin-name}.com
Why do we need to have "www"?
Do you feel "www" is redundant?
Should "www" be abolished?
Any opinion?

[edited by: Webwork at 4:22 am (utc) on Sep. 24, 2005]
[edit reason] Edited hotlink. Please read the Charter. [/edit]

 

Wai_Wai




msg:686798
 10:03 am on Oct 7, 2005 (gmt 0)


In fact, there's no country code for United States. A ".com" for exmaple witohut country code is intended to mean United States' websites. But it is no longer true.)

It seems that IANA disagree with you over this
[iana.org...]

.us is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the United States of America, established in 1985. Registrants of .us domains must be United States citizens, residents, or organizations, or a foreign entity with a presence in the United States.

Most registrants in the country have registered for .com, .net, .org and other gTLDs, rather than .us, which has traditionally only been used by some state governments. In particular, the domains .gov and .mil have been reserved for US usage. Probably the most widely used .us site is the free hosting site imageshack.us.

However, from April 2002, second-level domains became available for commercial use. Previously, registrants could only register third-level domains or higher.

Now the .us domain is administered by NeuStar Inc..

[Source is from Wikipedia. Sorry for not posting the link because it seems to be not allowed here!]

Wai_Wai




msg:686799
 10:26 am on Oct 7, 2005 (gmt 0)


1) Which is easier to type in?
a) www.really-long-example-up-to-64-characters-are-allowed-i-believe.com

b) really-long-example-up-to-64-characters-are-allowed-i-believe.com

2) Which looks like a website and which doesn't?

a) www.example.com
b) example.com
c) www.example.org, .net etc.

3) If you heard an announcer say the following, which would appear to reference a website?

a) "Go to double-u double-u double-u example dot com for more information"

b) "Go to example dot com for more information"

c) "Visit our website - just enter example into the browser's address bar."

Interesting question.
Let me try!

1)
The answer is (b).
Anyway you save 4 keys (www + dot), whether you feel it's important or not.

2)
All are real working websites!
They also look like websites.

If someone is just stuck at it & thinking (a) is the answer, it is sad.
We need to put the fact straight up.
All are websites, and you should try to familiarize with these looks. Don't stick your mind at 1998 "dot.com" days.

3)
Acutally if you have mentioned the characters "www", "com", "net" or mention that it's a website, then all sound ie a website. anyway, radio announcement is always a bad palce to advertise your name It's especially true when your name is long or not memorable.

Wai_Wai




msg:686800
 10:36 am on Oct 7, 2005 (gmt 0)


By the way, I make use of 'Keywords' a lot myself, as supported by Opera and Firefox. I assign a word or number to a bookmark, then all I have to do is type that in. For instance typing w then m then w always takes me straight to this forum. (Had to write that out longwise - the forum replaced my keyword with the full title of this site!)

Dear Hester,
Wow! Awesome!
What extension do I need to install to use this function in Firefox?

john_k




msg:686801
 2:06 pm on Oct 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

2)
All are real working websites!
They also look like websites.

If someone is just stuck at it & thinking (a) is the answer, it is sad.
We need to put the fact straight up.
All are websites, and you should try to familiarize with these looks. Don't stick your mind at 1998 "dot.com" days.

So in 3 years, when people are having an extremely similar discussion about whether or not "example.com" should be sufficient for pointing people to the new and wildly popular "Service X" (i.e. not a website), how will you deal with the fact that you have a lot of inbound links, distributed printed media, and other persistent, physical marketing material that say to "visit our website at example.com"? If the nature of Service X makes it impractical for it to detect that packets are coming from a browser (and looking for a website), then people referencing this material to find your website will be at a dead end.

I mean you do realize that all of the demands of convenience you are experiencing with web users today will follow to the next killer app (Service X). When people want Service X from you, they will want to be able to just type/say/think "example.com".

And if you see that yes, this would be an issue, then when would you know to stop distributing material with a hostless URL? 3 years before a transition? 2 years before?

Even though Service X will be the most popular use for your domain, do not assume that it is something that replaces websites. Large numbers of people will still want to get to your website. But your inbound links, an asset you would have spent years cultivating, will be no good because they are using hostless URLs. (They will cease to have value the day you decide to have your DNS assume that lookups for "example.com" must want the IP for Service X, and not for your website)

For people that are responsible for managing systems that are expected to still be around in a few years; For those that are ultimately answerable to investors or stockholders; For those that are in it for the long haul, it simply doesn't make sense to distribute material, or to cultivate inbound links that do not specify a hostname.

claus




msg:686802
 5:13 pm on Oct 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

I still don't see it as a big deal. When we were all creating WAP sites a few years ago and everybody told us that this would be the next big thing, they just got the "wap." subdomain. Similarly, a "ServiceX" could just get the "svx." subdomain.

Or it could be on the main domain in stead of the web site. Web servers are smart; if a user agent looks like a browser it can serve web content, while serving wap pages to cellphones, pr0n to my friends, recipes to my mum, and cloaked pages to googlebot. You can even get different language pages served based on your IP, a cookie, or whatever. All at the "example.com" domain.

john_k




msg:686803
 6:04 pm on Oct 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Web servers are smart

The point is that the request will never reach the web server.

- User's browser issues a DNS lookup request for the A record of "example.com". It does this because the link the user clicked on points to "example.com" (no host specified)

- With Sevice X having become so popular, you have configured your DNS "example.com" A record to point to the IP address of your Service X servers.

- Your DNS now returns the IP address for your Service X servers to the user's web browser.

- Your web browser now sends a very well formatted HTTP request to get the page that your potential customer wants to view.

- Unfortunately, Service X evolved in such a way that Service X servers can not (or will not) try to determine that an inbound hit on it is actually a misguided web browser request. Maybe it doesn't utilize port 80 and the server is set to only allow traffic on Service X ports. More likely, it does use port 80 (it evolves that way because port 80 was already open in almost every firewall on the planet). At any rate, the Service X server tries to field the inbound packets as a request for Service X.

- Eventually it decides that this is a nonsensical request, or maybe a virus attack. So it just drops the request without issuing any response.

- The user's browser eventually displays a "DNS or Server not found error."

- You lost a buyer.

py9jmas




msg:686804
 6:18 pm on Oct 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Which is why they came up with SRV DNS resource records, which solve this very problem.

Unfortunately, apart from SIP/VoIP and MS active directory/ldap/kerberos type stuff nothing seems to use them.

krod




msg:686805
 7:09 pm on Oct 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

its just referring that is a website "please vist www.somewebsite.com" such as irc isn't required to have a irc. in front of the domain, 90% of irc networks use it to identify that it is in fact the address of a irc network.

Hester




msg:686806
 8:37 pm on Oct 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Dear Hester,
Wow! Awesome!
What extension do I need to install to use this function in Firefox?

Extension? None whatsoever! The feature is built-in!

To use it, go to "Manage Bookmarks" from the top Bookmarks menu. Select a bookmark on the right and hit the Properties button (or right-click).

You should see a field "Keyword". Fill it in! You can put anything you like in. This will then bring up the site when you type the keyword into the address bar.

I like to use short and memorable keywords, like "456" for the "456 Berea Street" site, or even just "z" for Jeffrey Zeldman's site. Obviously if I find another site using Z, I'll have to think of a different keyword!

Opera also has a feature I've not used yet, where it can take you to the site directly as soon as it recognizes a match when you start typing! Usually though it works just like Firefox.

Opera can also save a group of open tabs as a session. So you can add a keyword to that (I think) and it'll open all the sites in one go! (If not, then I know you can reopen the session from the main menu.)

Honestly, I couldn't live without using keywords!

Wai_Wai




msg:686807
 11:49 am on Oct 8, 2005 (gmt 0)


2)
All are real working websites!
They also look like websites.

If someone is just stuck at it & thinking (a) is the answer, it is sad.
We need to put the fact straight up.
All are websites, and you should try to familiarize with these looks. Don't stick your mind at 1998 "dot.com" days.

So in 3 years, when people are having an extremely similar discussion about whether or not "example.com" should be sufficient for pointing people to the new and wildly popular "Service X" (i.e. not a website), how will you deal with the fact that you have a lot of inbound links, distributed printed media, and other persistent, physical marketing material that say to "visit our website at example.com"? If the nature of Service X makes it impractical for it to detect that packets are coming from a browser (and looking for a website), then people referencing this material to find your website will be at a dead end.

I mean you do realize that all of the demands of convenience you are experiencing with web users today will follow to the next killer app (Service X). When people want Service X from you, they will want to be able to just type/say/think "example.com".

And if you see that yes, this would be an issue, then when would you know to stop distributing material with a hostless URL? 3 years before a transition? 2 years before?

Even though Service X will be the most popular use for your domain, do not assume that it is something that replaces websites. Large numbers of people will still want to get to your website. But your inbound links, an asset you would have spent years cultivating, will be no good because they are using hostless URLs. (They will cease to have value the day you decide to have your DNS assume that lookups for "example.com" must want the IP for Service X, and not for your website)

For people that are responsible for managing systems that are expected to still be around in a few years; For those that are ultimately answerable to investors or stockholders; For those that are in it for the long haul, it simply doesn't make sense to distribute material, or to cultivate inbound links that do not specify a hostname.

To respond to your question, it depends on several factors:
- do you think it is necessary to identify the type of the Internet resources?
-- if so, do you think the current method is the best way of identifying this?
-- and do you prefer keeping things unchanged (so people don't need to learn again, but the need to live with the current problems) or accepting another alternative if it's better than the current method

Anyway, what I intend to say in question (2) is to they are really the websites, so why don't they look like websites?

If you don't understand, see this analogy [this analogy is not intended to match or compare bit by bit of the above case. It's to make you easier seeing my points]:
Day 1, you saw a white four-leg creature. It is a dog.
Day 2, you saw a brown four-leg creature. It is a dog.
Day 3, you saw a black four-leg creature. It is a dog.
...
One day, you saw a dog. But this dog was weird, it had 3 legs only. Now questions:
a) is it a dog?
b) does it look like a dog?

(A) It is a dog! that's the truth.
(B)
Yes: This is a dog, and it is what a dog can look like. So it DOEs look like a dog.
No: It doesn't look like a dog. It has 3 legs only.

If your answer is no, your mind is sticking with the sterotpye thinking. If a dog doesn't match your typical type, it is not a dog to you. However this is one of the looks of millions of dogs.

That may imply you like to stick with situations. Do not wish to change or adapt to new environments. You are not good at creativity, or cannot think wildly, or do not like to accept new or novel ideas.

john_k




msg:686808
 2:07 pm on Oct 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

That may imply you like to stick with situations. Do not wish to change or adapt to new environments. You are not good at creativity, or cannot think wildly, or do not like to accept new or novel ideas.

Really? I hardly see how an aversion to creating problems down the road, especially when there is little or no downside to avoiding them, translates into an aversion to change.

In fact, you seem to be in denial that the internet will change. Unable to think "wildly" about new services crowding into the picture, thereby making it unwise to assume that a DNS lookup for a domain name means you want the IP for a web server. You seem to be someone that assumes that "Internet" and "Web" are the same thing.

The standards (such as the RFC illustrating that hostnames are not optional as part of an absolute URL) are there for a reason. They help ensure that things run smoothly even as they evolve. Denial and non-conformance to industry standards simply to please personal opinions and egos is unwise.

And, ONCE A-FREAKING-GAIN, I am referring to how your web URL is marketed, and not to how browsers behave to a typed URL. People should be able to type whatever abbreviated version of a URL they want to into their browsers. If the browsers support it, awesome. Set up your DNS to support it unless you have a specific reason not to. But, when the abbreviated versions no longer work because domain owners start assuming that a DNS lookup for just the domain name means you want some other server, and not a web server, then, well...read my previous post.

larryhatch




msg:686809
 2:10 pm on Oct 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Wai Wai:

There is at least one person on these lists who insists that Google etc. is a scraper.

To me that is like calling a dog a cat because dogs will eat cat food.

To me a dog is a critter, usually on 4 legs, descended from wolves,
which sees humans as friends and companions, and not just something else to eat. -Larry

john_k




msg:686810
 2:20 pm on Oct 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

To respond to your question, it depends on several factors:
- do you think it is necessary to identify the type of the Internet resources?

This question is ambiguous. And once again, you have omitted the context. And, although this is a topic that should not be attached to a discussion about whether or not hostnames are useless, I will try to answer it:

It is not necessary to identify the type of a resource in a URL, be it typed, printed, or an inbound link. As long as the web server is set to respond appropriately to the URL. (Unlabeled, extensionless links that point to large PDF, Flash, or other plugin type files are annoying.)

It is generally a great idea for a web server to identify the resource type in the response header with a MIME type.

claus




msg:686811
 3:14 pm on Oct 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

The standards (such as the RFC illustrating that hostnames are not optional as part of an absolute URL) are there for a reason. They help ensure that things run smoothly even as they evolve. Denial and non-conformance to industry standards simply to please personal opinions and egos is unwise.

The standards - in this case the RFCs - do not require use of any specific subdomain for a web host.

I have looked through RFCs: 1738, 1034, 1035, 821, 921, 952, 1123, and one more I don't recall in search of something supporting that a specific type of subdomain should be used. To the best of my knowledge it is simply not found, because such a rule is not there.

It is true that "hostnames are not optional as part of an absolute URL", but hostnames do not need to be a subdomain of the main domain. This is no requirement. You could even have a host on "com." if you wanted to (in Denmark, we do have a host on dk. [dk.] - in fact that's the hostmaster for the DK domain space, so they should know. Oh, and yes I know that it redirects to their www subdomain, that's because there's a web host there to do the redirect).

There are no restrictions on which types of protocols that host may run either. It can be SMTP, HTTP, GOPHER, NNTP, NEWS, whatever.

In any event, there are absolutely no requirements that a WWW host (or http host) should be on the www subdomain, or any other subdomain. That is just a convention, not a requirement.

john_k




msg:686812
 3:21 pm on Oct 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

The standards - in this case the RFCs - do not require use of any specific subdomain for a web host.

I have looked through RFCs: 1738, 1034, 1035, 821, 921, 952, 1123, and one more I don't recall in search of something supporting that a specific type of subdomain should be used. To the best of my knowledge it is simply not found, because such a rule is not there.


Section 3.1 of RFC 1738 lists the parts of a URL. It then lists those parts that are optional. <host> isn't listed as optional. It is the only element that is not on the optional list.

claus




msg:686813
 3:26 pm on Oct 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

<host> isn't listed as optional.

No, a host name isn't optional. But, a subdomain isn't a host name. A host name can include any number of subdomains within the relevant bounds, but there's no requirement that one should be there at all. AFAIK (added)

>> convention

I should add that by being a convention, this allows everyone to do something else if they have some reason to do so (or not). Some will choose to follow the convention, while others will choose to do something else. And perhaps in a few years the convention will be a single "w", or even nothing, in stead of that tongue twisting triplicate that's there now, who knows?

The "beauty" of it all (if one can speak of such in this context) is that in spite of all this possible diversity the Internet at large does in fact still work.

wal9000




msg:686814
 4:06 am on Oct 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

i have my main web site at example.com, rather than www.example.com (and www. redirects to the non-www version). i did this mainly for aesthetic reasons: i felt that the address looked too long with the www (my domain is 13 letters long without the www or the .com). in retrospect, i now think i should have left the www on, partly because i am spreading my web serving across different machines at different subdomains (images.example.com, movies.example.com-- thus keeping www.example.com is less ambiguous, and more symantically correct), but perhaps more so for familiarity's sake than anything else (most of the big sites redirect example.com to www.example.com). at this point, though, i'm not going to change it, because i have a LOT of inbound links without the www, and i don't want to mess up my search engine placement...

my next site(s) will keep the www.

wal9000




msg:686815
 4:13 am on Oct 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

oh, another reason i originally left off the www is because it used to drive me nuts that the front page of sites like cnn.com are prominently branded without the www (look at the logo), but if you type cnn.com into the address bar, you get sent to www.cnn.com. i wanted to brand without the www, yet stay consistent with what is displayed in the address bar. nowadays the inconsistency no longer bothers me :P

g1smd




msg:686816
 10:37 am on Oct 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> The next time I went there, I just typed the domain name from memory and everything seemed fine until I tried to purchase something and then it just went all wonky. <<

Vbulletin forum software has the same problem. You can log in, everything looks normal - until you try to post, then you are told that you are not logged in.

Juan_G




msg:686817
 5:11 pm on Oct 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

There is a GoogleGuy's related post. For instance:

(...) Make a decision on www vs. non-www and follow the same convention consistently for all the links on your site. Use permanent redirects to keep spiders fetching the correct page. Those rules of thumb will serve you well no matter what with every search engine, not just with Google. (...)

GoogleGuy, 8:26 am on June 2, 2005
[webmasterworld.com...]

It seems that, at least for search engines, any of the two possibilities (www or non-www) is fine, better with absolute internal links and a 301 redirect (rewrite).

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