Websites with and without ‘www’

Double-u double-u double-u is one of the few things you can say much faster if you say it in German (just say “v v v”). I’m German, so I continuously strive for efficiency (nah, possibly I’m just lazy), which is why it annoys me that I still have to type “www” in front of some domain names to get to the desired website!

I mean, it’s 2008, the World Wide Web has been around for a while, so please, dear webmasters, could you make sure that your website works as http://www.example.com and http://example.com?

Here’s a list of offenders from the past few days (off the top of my head):

Now before you leave a comment and say “why don’t you just use bookmarks or press Ctrl-Enter in Firefox”, let me point out that there’s more to consider: If you can actually reach the same content with and without “www”, so can the search engines. Different URIs for the same resource might mean trouble (“duplicate content”).

AFAIK, the best way to handle both issues is a 301 (permanent) redirect. On Apache, make sure the domain with and without “www” points to the same directory and place an .htaccess file with the following content there (requires mod_rewrite):

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]

This will redirect users to URL with “www”. BTW, this code was taken from the excellent book “Building Findable Websites: Web Standards SEO and Beyond” [affiliate link]. It also has a chapter about weblogs which I think I should read. šŸ˜‰

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