This article is all about the WWW prefix of domain names. Why WWW is used as a prefix to a domain name, Why it should be removed, How it can be removed and its impacts on SEO.

WWW stands for World Wide Web. Its definition:

The complete set of documents residing on all Internet servers that use the HTTP protocol, accessible to users via a simple point-and-click system.

Domain NameWebsites run on HTTP Protocol. Earlier it was required to have WWW in a domain to tell the browser to connect to the http server, but now by default all the popular browsers assumes the http protocol that is why each time you open a website, automatically ‘http://’ is prepended onto the requested url and the browser automatically connects to the http server on port 80. Now there’s no necessity of WWW as a prefix to a domain name.

Why WWW should it be removed from a domain name?

Its not necessary to remove WWW. But there are few benefits such as:

  • Save visitors time, users will not have to write WWW each time they visit your site.
  • Branding, domains look nice and short without WWW.
  • If you will think over, WWW is nothing but a sub-domain. There is no need of using an unnecessary sub-domain. Website can directly be loaded from the main domain unless for some special purpose subdomain can be used.
  • We all are in a habit of adding WWW prefix to any website name. That is why most of the website perpend WWW in their domain. The website can very well be loaded without it.

Nowadays irrespective of what you write whether or both will direct you to the same website. This is because webmasters direct both the urls to the same website via DNS Settings.

Does keeping or removing WWW impact SEO rankings?

Whether you keep WWW or not, it does not at all impacts SEO. Both the domains are ok. But decision on this should be made at the very beginning at the time of commencement of the website. Changing it later may harm you SEO rankings. Because:

  • Both and are two different url and treated differently by search engines. Changing one to another will be like changing the URL of the website.
  • All your backlinks which are pointing to the the URL and the pagerank both will be lost.
  • If the migration is properly carried out, the new URL will soon get the SEO rankings similar to the previous URL. But this is a risky thing. If any problem occurs, it will be a SEO disaster for your website.

But Nowadays, as both the domains point to the same URL you do not require to do any migration you just need to take care of the following:

Set the preferred domain in Google Webmaster Tools. Google will display your choice of domain in the search results. and will also treat the other domain as the one you selected. This will reduce the possibility of duplicate content and will take care of the SEO.

How to set the Preferred Domain in Google Webmaster tools:

  1. login to your account.
  2. Verify your domain if you have not done it before. Also verify the other version by the same process.
  3. Goto Site configuration -> Settings -> General Settings.
  4. and set your preferred domain. Google gives three options:
    1. Don’t set a preferred domain
    2. Display URLs as
    3. Display URLs as Set Accordingly.
  5. Save the changes.

How to remove WWW from domain name?

To automatically remove the WWW from the beginning of your domain, add the following mod_rewrite rule to your .htaccess file. If you don’t have that file, create it in a text editor and upload it to your root directory.

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

This will remove the WWW from the domain name whenever the website will be loaded whether the visitor write or the browser will show in both the cases and as I have mentioned earlier both the versions of the domain will direct to the same site.


If you want to remove the WWW from the domain name, firstly do the required changed in .htaccess file and then goto Google Webmaster Tools and select the required domain in the preferred domain setting. Google Webmaster Tools will take care of all the SEO stuff. But do not change the preferred domain more than a few times, I will recommend to do it once and never make any change later.

If you have any queries or experiencing any problem feel to ask in comments.