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Question: example.com instead of www.example.com

Preferred Domain: to WWW or not to WWW



7:32 pm on Jul 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Guys this is my issue:

I set up a site 3 weeks ago, but I believe I've made the mistake (Is it a mistake?) to get a few inbound links to "example.com" instead of "WWW.example.com".

I then changed the preferred Domain on Google Webmaster Tools to the "example.com" option.

I had about 10 pages indexed by google already. Some of the pages come us a "WWW.example.com" some as only "example.com".

I have not set up a 301 redirect yet. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but after reading a few posts here, it seems that I should do it the other way around:

Set up "WWW.example.com" as the preferred domain on Google and then redirect from "Example.com" to the WWW version.

How will this change affect:
1) my current Inbound Links to "example.com"?
2) my search results on google?

Please advise...


1:25 am on Jul 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I always use www as the indexed version.

If the site is that new, then make the change immediately.

Try to get existing links changed to point to www.

Don't worry if a few do not. The redirect will guide any visitors and Google will eventually work it all out anyway.


1:42 am on Jul 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

The biggest issue here is consistency.

It's okay to go either with or without the www. as long as things are consistent.

Set up a 301 to your preferred version, make sure all your internal linking uses your preferred version, and cultivate links to your preferred version.

It's probably a better use of your time as well as better public relations to work on getting new links rather than asking other webmasters to change links that they've just given you. You'll never achieve 100% consistency in any case, and Google does pretty well at sorting things out, so don't worry about a few links to the "wrong" version.

I prefer not use the www. on my own sites, and setting up the 301 is one of the first things I do when setting up a new site. My only site that uses the www. is one that already had a strong legacy of www. links when I took it over.


5:53 am on Jul 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks guys. I guess I will keep it as is with the site.com instead of www.site.com, but will redirect from the www.site.com to site.com

For some reason I was under the impression that I should always keep the www and redirect from the site.com

Robert Charlton

6:51 am on Jul 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

The biggest issue, as buckworks puts it succinctly, is consistency.

Beyond that, for me it's a question of user friendliness and personal preference. For user friendliness, I prefer using the "www" subdomain, because it works better with most browsers and for most users.

Most users can successfully type in www.example.com and get to your site.

Entering http://example.com is a little more challenging for many.

The "www" is also assumed by many non-techies... and if you're putting your web address in print or, say, on a billboard or TV commercial, www.example.com, IMO, is going to be remembered correctly more often, and it's sort of easier to say.

On the other hand, from a purist technical standpoint, example.com is your base domain, and the www is a subdomain. Your .htaccess file, if you're using Apache, should be set up to redirect the variant urls that might identify your default page all to your preferred "canonical."

My preferred canonical is generally...


Internet Explorer is set up to request the www subdomain of example.com when you put "example" into your address bar and hit Ctrl-Enter, so if you're not setting up .htaccess rewrites, that's another reason to use the www variant.

PS: Similarly, lots of software that will get you to www.example.com (email, text editors, etc) will not get you to just example.com (ie, the latter, without www, would require

as well).

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:56 am (utc) on July 31, 2007]


6:38 pm on Jul 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Oh NO!

My site was done using gadaddy's website tonight....
I just found out that it is not possible to do a 301 redirect through website tonight.....This definitely blows......

Any suggestions?


6:42 pm on Jul 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Ya get what ya pay for.

Back To Watching


6:43 pm on Jul 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

IF you are really serious about making the site work, NEVER use crap like that for hosting. I would go get a real hosting account from somewhere for only $7.95/mth, etc...then you can have ALL the features you need. Those type of hosting setups, like you have, are junk unless you are just doing a personal site, or hobby site that you don't care about building up further, IMHO. Do it right now, or pay later...trust me on that one, LOL.


7:39 pm on Jul 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My problem is that I'm a total newbie here...could not spend the money to get someone to design a site for me...and needed a program that would give me templates and make it easy for me to change/add content..etc......that is why I went through website tonight... :(

Considering the site is all templates from website tonight and that I have about 30 pages up.....how easy would it be to change?


7:58 pm on Jul 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It really wouldn't be all that hard to do. You can search for pre-made templates on the net and buy one for pretty cheap really ($50). BUT, you have to know how to use FTP (to upload pages to server, MANY free FTP programs out there) and it would be best to use some HTML Editor as well (many free ones out there). It'll take a bit for you to get used to, but you can do it. Heck, really all you would have to do is buy a pre-made template, copy and paste all your content into a new page for each of the 30 pages you have. Can be done fairly fast for a simple site. Its not as hard as it sounds, I know a couple of real morons that did it, so that proved to me ANYONE can do it now, LOL.

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