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http:// or http://www. - Does it matter?



1:14 pm on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have a website that has backlinks - mainly to www.example.com.

I wanted to completely revamp the site and move to a different server.

When installing wordpress through Softaculous it asked me whether the protocol should be http:// (which was default) or [www....]
I was never asked this question when installing through Fantastico on the previous hosting.
I left it at default and installed and have started to add posts etc.

I know we're not supposed to worry about the little green bar, but I've lost my page rank. I appreciate this could be due to a lot of reasons and don't want to go into all of that. However it's made me question if i did the right thing.

Here's my question - should I have chosen the [www....] protocol when installing rather than the http:// as most of the inlinks go to [www....] or do you think it doesn't matter.

If it does, should I go back and reinstall?


4:15 pm on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Nick, it is best to stick to one format all the time and neither is superior to the other. If you had a website previously with www, then just stick with it for a variety of reasons. You can still go into wordpress (no reinstall needed, just change the settings) and change it now so that G will reindex your pages and restore your pagerank.


9:58 pm on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'd overlooked the setting in Wordpress to change that. Done that and will see what happens! Many thanks


10:51 pm on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

It seems to me that Google has a small preference for the www to be included.

Whichever way you set it, make sure the other version returns a single step 301 redirect to the chosen version.


11:13 pm on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If the previous site had more links to the www version, stick to it. Users remember your site as www, so there's no point on fooling them now. And same happens with Google.

Also, Skweb is right, follow the advice and stick to just one version.

Now, just for those wanting to know why (as Skweb says there are a variety of reasons):

- if the majority of links go to the www version, it's going to be easier to Google and other SEs to understand it and to give proper value to those links and to those that now will be redirected.

- in any case, the average Joe is used to the www version. You may like it or not, but there's no reason to make it difficult for them (unless you do not care about visitors). Skweb says neither is superior to the other, but I slightly disagree: people is biased towards the www version and they tend to link it.

- Google treats non www and www as different websites, so you must always stick to only version. Any reason to no keep the www?

- That above said, you have to think about it and how it may affect indexing: a link to the non www version is redirected to the www version. Therefore, Google needs to follow the first non www link, store it, find that is redirected, go to the www version and then analyze it and give proper value. Making it easier (simply going to the right version) will always be better for you.

- Wordpress is quite for SEO and the choice given was right. Now choose the right one... (see above)

- This may sound redundant and probably it is, but most of the times choosing the www version or not it's a matter of personal opinion (same as above by Skweb, none is better). Given all the reasons above... will you disregard these reasons and just use a different version just because you like it?

- I know linking it's now allowed, but I believe this one falls on the allowed ones: [w3.org ]. A good URL doesn't change. Never, ever. As many you have that doesn't change, the better. And if it changes, redirect 301 to the new one.

- This is bit technical and might not be important if you do not have a lot of traffic or server resources problems. But the thing is that as more redirects you have, more server resources and bandwith is used. If ask for 20 images, CSS files, scripts or whatever to a version and I'm redirected, this means the information that is requested and sent is multiplied per 2. Why would you do that if you can avoid it as much as possible, leaving this situation just for these few links you have to the non www version. Quick example: I ask for http://example.com/image.jpg and the server says it's moved to http://www.example.com/image.jpg. Isn't better to everyone if I directly request for http://www.example.com/image.jpg ?

I know these and many more reasons have been already posted on the forums, there's nothing new in my post, but -IMHO- it's always good to remember it.

Summary: follow Skweb advice, keep only one version (the www one), stick to the most used, make it easier for both users and bots.

Just my 2 cents.


11:37 pm on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

That's a useful summary of the majority of the issues. Good post.

I saw "Posts: 79" and thought "newbie", then spotted the "Joined: Nov 2004". Where have you been?


12:01 am on Dec 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Sorry for the off-topic.

I saw "Posts: 79" and thought "newbie", then spotted the "Joined: Nov 2004". Where have you been?

Hehehehe. I did register here after years of reading posts. I must admit I'm a bit lurker, and must also thank you, Tedster, InternetHeaven and Brett, as well as many others I can't remember right now for the good advice given here.

The fact is that when I see I can help, the most of the times Tedster has already done it or it has been already solved in another thread (so they just need to use Google). And I'm not a fan of lazy people, they can use the search option as I did for years. If they do not care searching I won't care to help.

I'm sorry if sometimes I'm not more active, probably I could help the community a bit more, but as said above I only post if I believe I can add something of value (and I feel like doing it).

And thanks for your comment, it's really appreciated.

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