Domain name With or Without WWW. What’s better?

Posted by on Feb 13, 2013 in SEO ·

It is many a time confusing whether to use the domain name with or without www for your website. Many people think WWW gives a professional approach to a website. They use WWW for their websites. Even most of the popular sites have WWW. Many prefer domain name without WWW as it becomes shorter and convenient.

What is the difference?

The domain name we buy is called Naked Domain. We can then create its sub-domains, use email service for it, update its DNS resource records and much more. The main purpose of domain name is to represent the IP resource. It gives easier way to access a website and URLs. There are neutral domains (.com, .org, .net, .info etc.) as well as country targeted domains (like .in, .co.in, .co.uk etc.).

When we use a domain without WWW, we use it in its Naked Form. It acts as a directory too. WWW is like any other sub-domain of it.
For example, wikipedia.org is naked domain while www.wikipedia.orgen.wikipedia.org are all sub-domains of it.

Domain with or without WWW

WWW for Search Engines

Search engines seek quality (and relevant) content. WWW or without WWW issue doesn’t matter here. Many popular websites (like Google, Yahoo, Facebook etc.) have WWW in their domain. While, some (like Twitter, WordPress, Mashable, Techcrunch etc.) don’t have WWW. All the sites rank very well in search engines. So if you are concerned about SEO, you should not worry about this and choose whatever you find convenient.

When It Matters Exactly?

As I already mentioned, for SEO, you can go with anyone. But apart from rankings, there are many factors you should know about.

Your naked domain is like Head (or Root) of all your sub domains. All the sub-domains are under it. If you have various versions of your site or if you are using sub-domains along with the domain, you should go with WWW.

WWW will help user to differentiate that particular site from its sub-domains. Like www.yahoo.com is different from in.yahoo.com and uk.yahoo.com.

Search on Google as site:yahoo.com, you will find all the websites of Yahoo including sub-domains. This is applicable to all major search engines. If a user wants to search content on main Yahoo website, he/she can easily search as site:www.yahoo.com. But if it was just Yahoo.com, it would have been very difficult for users to search content on main Yahoo website.

Search as site:yahoo.com

Domain without WWW - SEO
(Click on the image to enlarge it)

Search as site:www.yahoo.com

Domain with WWW SEO
(Click on the image to enlarge it)

Also, many sites use prefixes WW2, WW3 etc. to scale up the traffic among various servers. This will be very difficult for a non WWW site.

Many CDN services (e.g. CloudFlare) don’t support naked domain. So, we have to use WWW there.

Some Myths :

1. Websites with WWW get better rankings than websites without WWW.
→ Your rankings have nothing to do with WWW. If you have High Quality (and relevant) Content, Google will show your pages in results (SERPs).

2. Use of naked domain increases the chances of getting your website hacked
→ Are the above mentioned sites ever hacked? Security of a website is different issue.

3. Google never considers a site without WWW as a Business Site
→ First of all, let me know where Google classifies sites as Business Sites and Other sites. Google seeks relevant content, not business.

4. Naked domain gives problems while using SSL
→ This might happen if you haven’t set up your SSL properly. Many sites (like Twitter) with naked domain can be accessed with SSL (https://), without any hassle.

Final Words :

It is recommended to use WWW as a prefix in your website domain. This helps users to search contents on your website with ease. But if you use domain without WWW, that is not going to harm your website in any way. Choose the one you find convenient. And also make sure you properly redirect to the proper version of your domain.

Last updated on : September 21, 2014.

28 Comments on “Domain name With or Without WWW. What’s better?”

  1. Actually I was just wondering this. I have no plans on adding subdomains but honestly possibly in the future. We have one website with and one without and really no difference. The without one was a bit harder to setup. Most people just type the www regardless so make sure you have EVERYTHING redirected. Its easy to do with .htaccess

    1. Hi!

      …. one website with and one without and really no difference ….
      You would have faced duplicate content issues. But because Google takes care when there are both the versions – with and without WWW, you didn’t face any.

      And about the redirection, it is must; regardless with or without WWW.

    1. Hello Tubuh!

      There does exist a difference. For Google, with WWW and without WWW are two different sites. Hence, the links are treated differently.
      However, if proper 301 redirection is followed, there shouldn’t be any issue.

  2. Hi there thanks for this post. The topic with www or without www got me really confused and i think im gonna go with the www as it looks more comfortable to me although without the www url’s does look smaller.

  3. Hi Animish. Thanks for the post. I was always wondering if the domains without www were doing worse from the point of view of SEO. Thanks for giving me a clear answer to the question. Now I won’t pay that much attention to it as I did before. Thanks again 🙂

  4. Hi,

    Glad that found your post. Help me with something. We recently redesigned our site with wordpress. But with other internal sites built for customers, our wordpress site crashes when there is increase in traffic. So, the ultimate solution our IT team came up with was splitting our site on 2 different domains as well as 2 different servers. Our internal sites that require customer login and newly redesigned site homepage will reside on http://www.oursite.com, while rest of the newly designed site will rest on ww2.oursite.com (which will be hosted on another server externally). When people reach static homepage on our www server, they will be taken to internal pages that are on ww2 server. Somehow, I do not have very good feeling about this setup. Do you see any problem in this setup SEOwise or otherwise as well? Will it hamper our ranking anywhere? Please email me if you need more details. Our monthly visitors are somewhere around 40K and page visits range around 140K.

    1. Hello Vrushali!

      Splitting up the servers may not be a problem as long as you are using proper canonical tag. That means ww2.oursite.com/page1.html will have canonical tag of www.oursite.com/page1.html. This is how Google will understand that the both are the same.

      By the way, one of my friends has 70K visitors and 300K+ pageviews a month. He hosts his site on a VPS without any problem. What he does is uses a cache plugin to decrease the server load. You should also give it a try.

  5. Hey animish,

    I tried to redirect my naked domain to www

    But the chrome saying “Many redirects, Site cant be accessed”

    Any solution will appreciated.

    Thank you.

    1. Contact your web host for help regarding redirection. There can be many reasons behind infinite redirects. Your web host support would definitely be able to help you with it.

    1. As far as my experience goes, SEO is not impacted because of WWW or because of its absence. You can go ahead and remove WWW if you want to.

  6. very useful information bro I am confuse when I buy domain to setup with www or without www thanx for youre useful guide..

Leave a Reply