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Drop the 'www.'?

Tuesday 25 November, 2003 ( 3:34PM GMT)

Three siamese-twin sheepFrom a link on Mezzoblue I found myself on, a site promoting the deprecation of the 'www.' part of URL's.

My first thought was 'Yes! Of course! How very stupid of me not to take on something so obvious! - All of the websites I work on should drop the www!' and then my brain churned for a few seconds before oozing out some almost as obvious reasons why it's not so cut and dry.

"Double-ewe, double-ewe, double-ewe" (prizes go to the first person to get the picture pun) is a bit of a mouthful and apparently unnecessary when most modern day websites will work at as they will at

When you're writing it to appear in print, sure, drop the www. If your web server is configured to show your website at just as it is at then the '.com' is enough for people to recognise that it is a URL and typing that directly into most web browsers will do the job just fine.

But when it comes to writing a URL in some electronic form, you can lose out. The thing is that popular email programs and instant-messaging software will convert anything beginning with 'www.' to a functional link. From a usability point of view, this is much more preferable because a user is more likely to simply select a link than cut and paste it into their browser.
These programs will also usually convert something beginning with 'http://' into a functional link, but I have to say, for clarity's sake that I'd rather write just 'www.' and let the browser figure out the more annoying and less recognised 'http://'.

Conveying a URL by speech or in print:
Conveying a URL by electronic means:


Comment 1

That's a very odd thing to campaign about. Personally, I think it's a good convention. There's alot of services that can exist from a domain such as mail, ftp or whatever. If you drop the www then you start to lose the notion that it's actually one service of many possible at a domain name. There's nothing wrong in directing all your traffic to though I suppose.

There's so many web activists nowadays. I dunno...

So said Dan Webb on Wednesday 26 November, 2003 at 4:20PM GMT.

Comment 2

If you write that in elecctronic form, this problem will never be solved. Programms need to be updated to recognize an extension and turn it into a link IMO, instead of making us doing the wrong thing.

So said Anne on Saturday 29 November, 2003 at 9:43AM GMT.

Comment 3

After a recent change by my web host my used bookshop's site wouldn't show up if you left the www out. Was that way for two weeks before we caught it. Makes me feel a little nervous about omitting the www.

So said Richard Evans Lee on Thursday 11 December, 2003 at 1:21PM GMT.

Comment 4

I agree with I'm afraid.

Dan Webb states that, "if you drop the www then you start to lose the notion that it's actually one service of many possible at a domain name." I don't agree - the "http://" protocol identifier makes it clear that you are accessing a web service, just as "ftp://" indicates an FTP service and "telnet://" indicates a Telnet service etc.

"www" indicates a sub-domain, not a service.

"www" is the only acronym I know that takes longer to say than than the words it represents: 9 syllables as opposed to 3. Why oh why, if the W3C wanted a prefix, didn't they choose "web" instead of "www"? That would have made web addresses so much more accessible.

Personally, I prefer to omit the "www" prefix from all of my domains (but, of course, support their usage), so all my websites qualify as "Class B" according to

So said DarkBlue on Tuesday 20 January, 2004 at 11:55AM GMT.

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