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www. vs non-www URLs

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday April 4, 2007 )

…can your potential customers reach you via both?

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been visiting sites by just entering or in my browser address bar; both Firefox and Internet Explorer – and in some cases they didn’t load.

This is quite a common issue; but if your site can’t be reached directly via or; you’re losing visitors and sales. It won’t always click with people that a “www” is needed; they’ll think the site is down and simply go to one of your competitors. What about people who link to you? Some of them may be doing so using too.

How do you fix this?

You don’t – your web hosting company needs to. Don’t let them brush you off as it is important. It’s not just happening to you; it’s likely occuring to every site hosted on that particular server. You’d be surprised at how many big company sites this glitch occurs to and it really shouldn’t. If your host won’t fix the issue, I strongly suggest moving to one that does support all three methods of browser address bar entry, i.e.

Canonical issues – www., non-www and search engines

This is also very important. If you are able to reach your site via http:// and http://www, there is another potential nasty you need to be aware of that can affect your rankings – the dreaded canonical problems which have been widely reported over the past few years. Some search engines still appear to treat http:// and http://www as *different* sites, which can split ranking power and trigger duplicate content penalties in severe cases.

I provide instructions on how to avoid this problem in my tutorial on htaccess 301 redirects (read the full article if you’re not familiar with redirects)


Pick up some more tips on search engine optimization.


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