In terms of SEO, there are hundreds of factors that can help boost your results. Whether or not having a WWW vs. non-WWW URL is good or bad for SEO is a question WordPress site owners often ask.
The differences between a WWW and a non-WWW site are mostly technical, so is there any point in using it to boost your SEO efforts?
Let’s take a closer look.
SEO Advantages of a WWW vs. Non-WWW Site
Unfortunately, there are no significant SEO benefits associated with choosing a WWW URL over a non-WWW URL. It’s more about your preference than anything else.
WWW domains are known to marginally improve website performance, which creates a better user experience. This can have a tiny impact on your SEO results, but not to the extent that you can’t do without a WWW URL.
Your time would be better spent optimising your non-WWW site using tactics that are proven to have a significant effect on your SEO results.
If your site is set up on Search Console, you can also indicate which version of your URL you would prefer Google to use. If you don’t make a selection, Google will pick a URL as the “canonical” for search themselves.
So, what are the differences between WWW and non-WWW sites?
The Technical Differences Between WWW and Non-WWW URLs
There is only one main technical difference between these two types of URLs. Adding WWW to the beginning of your URL can assist with DNS flexibility.
There are no technical benefits to having a non-WWW domain. Most WordPress website owners made the decision to do away with WWW because users tend to search for websites without it.
What should be noted is that if you have both a WWW and non-WWW URL, search engines like Google will see them as two separate sites. This is why it helps to specify which URL you would prefer Google to index.
Recommended Read: The 2020 Guide to WordPress Hosting
Pros and Cons of WWW and Non-WWW Domains
Now that you understand the technical differences, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of each of these domains.
The first main advantage of a WWW domain is that because it was the “original URL”, people tend to trust it more than non-WWW domains. However, this doesn’t happen very often. The second benefit is that it helps with cookie restrictions across subdomains.
The reason why setting cookies on a domain with multiple subdomains is discouraged is because it poses a security risk. Particularly if it is set up incorrectly.
For example, if your website is www.mysite.com, but you also have x.www.mysite.com and y.www.mysite.com. Cookies will be passed from both subdomains. When the correct cookie values are not used, security becomes a concern. By adding WWW to your URL, you have the option to restrict these cookies and prevent potential security concerns.
The only real advantage to creating a non-WW domain is that it is much easier to type in, which means more direct traffic.
Since there is a chance that WWW domains might fall away completely in the future, creating a non-WWW URL makes more sense.
One clear disadvantage of a non-WWW URL is that they don’t include CNAME records that direct you from one server to another. This means when your server becomes overloaded, it’s not possible to redirect your traffic to another server.
If you have a larger site, having a WWW URL makes more sense.
Recommended Read: Why and How to Convert to HTTPS
The Final Word on WWW vs. Non-WWW URLs
It is clear that most WordPress website owners are making the switch to non-WWW domains.
However, if you run a large site and use sub-domains, a WWW URL is recommended.
If SEO is more of a priority for you, the type of domain you choose has no significance. To boost your SEO efforts, rather focus on the tactics that have the potential to make a bigger impact.