There’s a lot of confusion surrounding www vs non www. You might have heard people compare these two domains. While both versions of websites are valid, is there any slight difference that you should consider?

If you’re wondering if using a “non-www” domain name for your site is better than using a “www” domain name, then this article is for you. So, let’s talk about it!

WWW vs Non WWW: What Happens When Your Website Uses Both

At the beginning of the Internet, each URL began with just a “www.” Over time, URLs were being generated without the “www,” which could be attributed to the fact that people did not always enter “www” when they searched for a website.

As a result, when both of these websites work, Google treats them as two separate websites. The resulting problem is that Google thinks they are two different websites, when in fact, they are one site.

The Nitty-Gritty of WWW vs Non WWW

Ever wonder why you need to add (or not to add) the www prefix when accessing websites from a browser? Why do such domain styles need to be understood from the SEO perspective? Before we begin to understand the SEO side of www vs non www website URLs, let’s take a look at what these two styles are and their pros and cons.

From an SEO perspective, the www preferred version of the domain gives a marginal improvement in website performance. This translates into delivering a better user experience which improves your site’s search engine ranking.

What Are Non-WWW URLs?

A non-www domain, also called naked domain or naked URL, refers to a domain name without a web server. They are often considered to be the most basic form of domain names. People commonly used them before the introduction of WWW. Naked domains are mostly free to register and do not require request verification of ownership.

What is a WWW Domain?

Websites with a www URL can adjust to the Domain Name System (DNS) so that they don’t accept cookies if they are being utilized across different domains. Non-www websites do not offer this capability.

Another of the biggest advantages of having a WWW domain is its positive impact on your rankings in search results. Search engines such as Bing and Google prefer pages with a www domain, thus making sure they appear higher in search term rankings than those with just a standard domain.

Even though they’re virtually identical, search engines regard the www and non-www versions of a site differently. As such, an issue regarding duplicate content happens.

WWW vs Non WWW: Can You Use Both for SEO?

In the SEO technical sense, you can use both www and non-www domain names; it brings down to your personal preference, although it’s not recommended. A preferred domain with the prefix www gives you a slight advantage over using a standard type of domain name without the “www.”

Here are things you must remember:

  • You should use only one preferred version and be consistent with it across every page, including those in subdomains. Otherwise, Google may treat this as two different domains.
  • If you want to host both pages, then you’ll have to index both URLs (one per page) in Google Search Console; otherwise, you’ll have duplicate content issues, and you’ll lose some of your internal link equity. So you either have to go with one URL (for SEO reasons) or use a different preferred domain name.
  • Most use the “www” preferred version of website naming overusing simple URLs because most modern sites tend to be linked through “www,” and if a site links to you, they generally link to the “www” version since the “www” is easier to remember.
  • You can also tell Google which URL they should consider a non-canonical domain if they find it when searching for content on your website. This way, you tell Google, “I know there are two separate sites hosted at my domain name  These two pages are duplicates with different locations, but I want them to be treated as if they were the same page.”
  • If you need subdomain websites, you might want to make them different enough from your main website so they can be distinguished. For example,