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Okay, so what are the Pros and Cons of my decision moving forward? I'm going to say that I'm not concerned about "dated conventions". I'm looking for branding, short and sweet URI addresses and no confusion whatsoever.
It's even a pain repeating dub-dub-dub. I'm through with it and good riddance!
www > 301 > root
It doesn't get any simpler than that. :)
RewriteCond %HTTPS off
RewriteCond Host: (?!^example\.com$)(.+)
RewriteRule /(.*) http\://example.com/$2 [I,RP]
RewriteCond %HTTPS on
RewriteCond Host: (?!^example\.com$)(.+)
RewriteRule /(.*) https\://example.com/$2 [I,RP]
Personally POR, I think it's a mistake. Aside from the technically-related concerns (who needs them?), I am not convinced from what I've seen that 100% of redirect link equity gets passed. IF that is true, and given that a majority of naturally given backlinks occur with the www present, it's a no-brainer to use www. Basic math, and I HATE giving up even inches, especially in tough categories.
That, plus, people who pay really close attention to finely tuned linking strategies know that there is a little discussed advantage to using the www as your canonical preference. ;-)
This allows that a site:domain.com -inurl:www search lists anything that has "escaped".
You lose that benefit if you move to using non-www domain.com URLs.
I see no problem in having non-www and www both work, but with one being a redirect. I still prefer that it is the non-www to issue the redirect.
For most sites that I visit, I type in domain.com and the site just works. Most have redirected to the www version, and that is also what will have been indexed.
One of their recommendations (Class A) actually promotes duplicate content issues. They do not warn people that they would be very much worse off by following what they suggest there.
Their Class C recommendation stops the www from working at all, and that is a totally brain-dead solution. You want both to work, so that people can type in whatever they like to get to the site, but one should be a redirect.
My thoughts are that you buy domain.com and then you put various services on separate sub-domains, such as ftp.domain.com and www.domain.com and mail.domain.com etc.
Nothing should directly "work" at domain.com but HTTP requests for domain.com should 301 redirect to the www version.
By all means still promote domain.com in offline advertising, so that people don't have to actually type the www in by hand.
Scrap 'em both.
Let example.com be the 'default' for [www...] addresses; after all, that's all that John and Jane Doe ever use.
But let's face it, we're dreaming. What ever happened to 'hey man, go with the flow'?
Pronouncing it in English is a pain though. I much prefer the German (or pretty much anywhere east of the Rhine) "veh-veh-veh" which is quick to say and easily rolls off the tongue.
I did once suggest "U6" (as in "You can find my site at you-six-dot-myserver-dot-com") but it never caught on.
"What ever happened to 'hey man, go with the flow'?"
That works until the flow stagnates... or other forks appear around the bend. To tell you the truth, I find the "www or not" argument almost nonsensical; this of course not because of the people arguing for or against it, but because, at its very root, there is no rationale to the method - at least to the everyday browser and end user. The only case where a logic in the "www.method.com" is clear to all is in differentiating protocols - "ftp.method.com", "mail.method.com", etc - but I don't think this was even www's original intended purpose!
I'm sure there's a history to learn here, and it is probably there that a coherent technical method could become clear, but to tell you the truth, I have to wonder if that method has evolved with our technology. IPv8 is coming, yet we are still stuck with roman-character URL's (in most cases - remembering the early '00's DMOZ-kanji debacle)... the two have nothing in common, but one is evolving, the other not.
I wish there was a more "user-catching" addressing system out there - perhaps something a little looser in its 'characters required/forbidden' rules - that could be a) easy to remember and b) easier to type (or speak).
For now web-surfers have "www or not?", "hyphen or not?" and "what was that dang extension?" roadblocks between they and our websites... for the simple reason that "www" and ".org", to the web-layman, make little ergonomic sense.
[edited by: Josefu at 12:34 pm (utc) on Jan. 8, 2008]
whitehouse.gov redirects to www.whitehouse.gov with a 302 temporary redirect for example.
Another interesting one is nasa.gov which is in the "only WWW" group. There is no IP address assigned to nasa.gov, and my Firefox and Lynx browsers automatically go to www.nasa.gov. My IE6 refuses to load the www version and instead opens a search window.
And as it has been mentioned before, but I failed to mention, just because I was too hyped up on coffee to form a string of cohesive thoughts, adding the www informs the user what service is being used as oppossed to ftp or smtp or what ever other alphabet soup service is running.
The cons of converting to non-www, I have seen throughout this thread is you may loose functionality as g1smd pointed out in the
site:domain.com -inurl:www search lists anything that has "escaped"example. The other con is the blindness of what service is being used.
I do still however admit that when I only use the domain name with out the www when typing into the browser.
Personally POR, I think it's a mistake. Aside from the technically-related concerns (who needs them?), I am not convinced from what I've seen that 100% of redirect link equity gets passed.
I agree, I've been none www. for four years (with 301 redirect for the www version), I don't think anyone correctly links to my site, they all add www.; I will probably switch back in 2008.
After 12+ years of promoting www I've now decided to change my ways. From 2008-01-01 forward, I'm going wwwless. Now that I have the knowledge and tools available to me, I'm stripping the www forever.
Is it too late to change my mind again? :)
I'll tell ya what, you guys/gals have presented some very good arguments for staying with www and since I'm still in development stage on a new project that was to be the first, I'm going to concede that stripping off my www may not be in my best interest.
I value everyone's input on this matter. I have a new client who is adamant in going wwwless. They've not flipped the switch yet to force it and I'm going to have them read this topic in its entirety before they decide to do so. Right now they are getting indexed under both. And, the www appears to be the winner in total number of indexed documents.
Deep down inside, I knew I wasn't making the right decision. You can promote either or and it appears that www is the "standing convention". As long as you have the resources in place to permanently redirect the non www to www or, vice versa, you are good to go.
For now, I'm putting my www back on. :)
ronin, lammert, haven't seen ya'll in a while. Nice to have you back.
[edited by: pageoneresults at 5:02 pm (utc) on Jan. 8, 2008]
I don't think anyone correctly links to my site
You'll get that either way.
I just checked the links for a couple of my own www-less sites. I'll call them example.com and example2.com. According to Yahoo,
link:http://example.com/ - 1550 inlinks
link:http://www.example.com/ - 72 inlinks
link:http://example2.com/ - 46,800
link:http://www.example2.com/ - 3720
I checked another site that I know uses the www.
link:http://www.webmasterworld.com/ - 104,000
link:http://www.webmasterworld.com/ - 380,000
There will ALWAYS be someone who links to you "wrong", so make your decision for your own reasons, and don't worry overmuch about the mistakes you think others might make.
That, plus, people who pay really close attention to finely tuned linking strategies know that there is a little discussed advantage to using the www as your canonical preference.
Don't feel used cavey. That one little tidbit of information put you in the hero spotlight. You can do a search for related topics, my username and site:webmasterworld.com and you'll see that I'm a staunch supporter of www.
And after all these valuable replies, I still am! :)
And in the process, I'm seeing some usernames that I've not seen posting in a while. Either that, or I just haven't been in those forums where they hang out.