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http (without www) vs www

     
2:54 pm on May 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm developing a new web app and I've been pushing to use http://example.com instead of www.example.com (in other words, to eliminate www). Why? Because it's quicker to say, faster to type and generally easier to communicate. There may be other good reasons too that I just don't know about. What do people think - is this a good or bad idea?
3:04 pm on May 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

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You've already established that you want to use the .COM rather than WWW.DOMAIN.COM. That's just fine.

What is important here, though, is that you "choose one" and not have duplicate content on both the www and the non-www. Whether or not you use the www vs non-www, I would consider that a personal preference.
3:15 pm on May 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your comment. Yes, the idea would be to use a 301 redirect on the www.
7:46 pm on May 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If you use the www it is then easier to see what is going on with Duplicate Content indexing:

site:www.example.com


site:example.com -inurl:www


It is still possible to "brand" as example.com
7:57 pm on May 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure I'm following you. Why would there be any duplicate content?
8:18 pm on May 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If www and non-www both directly serve content with HTTP "200 OK" status you have Duplicate Content.
9:33 pm on May 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Try a few major sites like webmasterworld.com etc.

From a theoretical RFC point of view the non www should redirect to the www. This doesn't need to affect branding.

While it can be argued that branding has surpassed the classical way of doing things it can also be argued that this approach could be limiting in the future (depending on how the web evolves).
9:48 pm on May 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

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g1smd - I'm not sure if you noticed above that I mentioned that www would have a 301 redirect to non-www. This eliminates any issues with duplicate content. Non-www websites are very common, for example Twitter or Wordpress, so my question was not really about whether it was technically possible but thanks for your comments anyway.
12:28 am on June 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yes, but I do the redirect in the other direction, redirecting TO www.

Check out Google. You think of "google.com" and you probably type in "google.com". When you do that, they redirect you to the www version.
10:57 am on June 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yes, whereas Twitter do it the other way around. My question was more to gauge opinion on whether it's a good thing to do or not. I know that it's technically possible to do it either way and there are very large, very successful sites doing it both ways.
11:09 am on June 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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My personal preference is to have the www. - but I'm of the understanding it doesn't make much of a difference provided your website makes a proper use of 301 status codes.

I also think www. is the preference of most websites out there.

But as long as you redirect your user correctly and quickly, I guess it doesn't matter.
12:07 pm on June 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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See also: [webmasterworld.com...]
9:47 am on June 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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See also: [webmasterworld.com...]


This just in: [webmasterworld.com...]
11:45 am on June 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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One thing I've noticed a lot is that if you tell "the man on the street" to go to example.com they will instictivly start typing www

But as long as the redirects work properly then I don't really see a problem.

The problem starts if you have other subdomains, I've witnessed my Mum do this.
I said "go to news.example.com" and she entered "www.news.example.com" which gave a DNS error.
12:04 pm on June 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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In that case the site should redirect requests for
www.news.example.com
to
news.example.com
.

I've recently set this:
example.com
->
www.example.com

and this:
www.wiki.example.com
->
wiki.example.com

on a site.