WWW vs Non WWW: Which is Best for SEO?
We have seen domain names starting with www. However, you might have come across non-www domain names as well.
Have you ever wondered which would suit your website or which is better from a technical and SEO standpoint?
Then, this blog post is for you. In this post, we are going to look at both www vs non-www domains and how each impacts SEO.
WWW vs Non-WWW – Technical Differences
If we look at www and non-www domains, they are practically the same, though there might be significant technical differences between the two. A www domain acts as a hostname which helps with flexibility with DNS, ability to restrict cookies when using multiple subdomains.
Whereas, a non-www domain is often referred to as “naked domain” and do not have any particular technical advantages.
The Origin of WWW and Non-WWW Domains
At first, when the internet was launched, www was used at the beginning of URLs. “www” acted as a subdomain.
Slowly, people got tired of typing “www” and they started omitting “www” from URLs. When the majority of web users started following this pattern, a new trend emerged and paved the way for “non-www” domains. From a practical point of view, there is no difference between a www and a non-www domain. It’s just a personal or brand choice.
But as said earlier, there are some technical differences between both.
You cannot expect any technical benefit, such as cookie restriction, when using a non-www domain. However, a website with a www domain is flexible and can be fit into DNS as needed, and cookie restriction.
Let us now examine the pros and cons of both WWW and Non-WWW.
Pros of WWW
- WWW URL allows you to set cookies for your specific www subdomain.
- Another benefit is that subdomains with “www” prefix are highly flexible with regard to DNS, which facilitates the use of Content Delivery Networks easily.
Cons of WWW
- Most people prefer to exclude “www” from the URLs while searching for a website. So we can expect to see it disappear soon.
- Google prefers short URLs over long ones and WWW prefix makes the URL longer.
Pros of Non-WWW
Non-www domains are easy to remember, type and search and this helps you get more direct visitors.
When you type your website URL without www, you are saving character spaces, bandwidth, and data. Also, non-www is a great choice if you don’t want to restrict cookies (when there are no multiple subdomains attached to your domain).
Non-www domains are best when you are working with small websites.
Cons of Non-WWW
The obvious con with the non-www domain is that you cannot restrict cookies just to the root domain. But non-www domains work if you have subdomains that host images within the same root domain.
You do not have the option to redirect traffic to another server as non-www domains do not have CNAME records.
WWW vs Non-WWW – Which is Better for SEO?
From an SEO perspective, there are no benefits of choosing one over the other. According to John Mueller of Google, it all depends on your preference and brand choice.
But when starting a new website, choose either www or non-www and stay consistent with it.
If your site is accessible via both www and non-www, Google and other search engines will consider them as two different sites leading to duplicate content issues. For instance, Google considers www.abc.com and abc.com as two separate sites.
So choose one version and force 301 redirect website URLs to that preferred version.
There is a lot of debate when it comes to which domain: www or non-www is better. If you have a big site or are planning on expanding in the future, you can choose the www domain.
However, if your site is small, the best option will be the non-www domain.
Also Read: What is SEO Web Design & It’s Importance?
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