Do I Really Need “WWW” in My URL?

Posted on:2022-04-27 19:14:00 Views: 430

In the early days of the Internet, if you’d seen something like ‘’ on the bottom of a movie poster, it wouldn’t have been obvious what it was. Is it the name of the production company? Adding the WWW to the beginning made it immediately obvious to everyone that this was something to do with the Internet or World Wide Web.”


As people became more accustomed to typing and clicking on URLs, seeing .COM or .NET or any other top-level domain became enough to indicate that something was a domain name on the Internet. Just seeing, people understood that there was an implied WWW. at the beginning of it. Soon they discovered that if they left out the WWW. altogether, in most cases, they could still access the intended website.


What Does the WWW in a URL Mean?

Then what is the difference between a URL with WWW and without? Is there a point of including WWW. if most sites will load without it? Actually, there is.


The WWW. in a domain name is an example of a subdomain or third-level domain and was initially used to distinguish the website of a domain from any other elements of that domain. For example, a website administrator would set up FTP for an FTP server or MAIL for an email server that were useful for the domain owner but of no use for the general public. As websites have grown, there are now common, public-facing subdomains like SHOP and HELP.


Today, it’s in your site’s best interest to ensure that your domain works with or without the WWW. You’ll need to configure it properly so it works whether a user types or To do this, you’ll need to set up a 301 redirect. There are a number of reasons why this is important.


Should I Have WWW in My URL?

If your intended main homepage is and someone types, a 301 redirect will forward them along to instead.


For those who type www. to get to your website, it can be very easy to accidentally miss a w or two. To account for these scenarios, it’s best practice to also use 301 redirects to send people who enter or to your main site as well.


Search Engine Performance

301 redirects are perhaps even more crucial for search engines. Without a 301 redirect, search engines will crawl both and as two distinct websites. Since all of the content is the same, it will penalize both sites in search results—something you definitely don’t want! A 301 redirect will tell search engines to ignore one of the sites and to give all of the ranking authority to the intended website.


Using WWW for Cookies

You might also need WWW if you use cookies for your website. Without WWW., a cookie will be placed on a visitor’s device when accessing Since this cookie applies to the main domain, it will also apply to whatever subdomains they access as well. In other words, the cookie will not be able to distinguish between, or This means it will make it difficult for you to track what your visitors are doing when they come to your site.


When using WWW, you can apply a unique cookie to that subdomain and any other subdomains your website contains. This allows you to track whether a person has viewed your main page, pricing page, contact page and so on, giving you a better picture of how they have interacted with your site. If this is important to you, you’ll want to set up a 301 redirect so that forwards to in order to have more accurate tracking.