www is wrong wrong wrong, lets clean up the World Wide Web.


When the web was expanding from its inter-university beginnings and gopher was still in common use, the www sub-domains common use was to signify the world wide website address of a domain. Just like ftp.domain.com is commonly used for File Transfer Protocol, and mail., smtp., and pop. are all common sub-domains used to point requests to a mail server.

Not Needed

These different domains made it easy to route the different requests to a different server, but these days this can easily be handled by a "load balancer" using the different port number each protocol uses to send the packets in the right direction. Often all the services are handled by one machine, further removing the need to setup a unique address for each request type (protocol).

Branding Clutter

Not only is the 'w' character the widest visual space-hogging letter in the English alphabet, it also takes the longest time to verbally pronounce. "double u double u double u dot" adds no value in a time restricted radio advert. Let "dot com", or similar, be the audio cue that a URL was just read out. Over the phone or on the radio get straight to your brand, don't hide it in some techno talk.

When your domain name is your online address why would you prefix it with something irrelevant? Something to distract from having your brand up front? Something that adds 4 extra characters to your limited amount of screen space? Both in the address bar and in the long list of search results, get your brand first in the location string, don't hide your brand between a pseudo protocol and the domain name-space.

When to use

Unfortunately, you will still need to accept requests on the www. sub-domain as people will still instinctively attempt to lookup your website with it. When the server does get a request to this subdomain, redirect it to the non-www version for consistency and to stop search engines indexing both URLs, as technically they are 2 different addresses and search engines treat them as such. It also helps break the human conditioning that four unnecessary keystrokes are not needed to come back to your site. Hopefully, one day soon, www. will be a thing of the past.

no-www.org button

R Walker
branding, comments, marketing

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