www vs non-www – Which Is Better?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

wwwvsWeb businesses and developers are constantly looking for new trends to make their brand stand out, appear fresh and modern, and appeal to an increasingly younger and web-weary audience. One such trend that has appeared recently is dropping the www and leaving just domain.co.nz as the entire address (e.g using http://site.com instead of http://www.site.com). These are commonly known as ‘naked domains’ and can be configured through most domain hosts, or by setting up a redirect. Though this looks slick and is on-trend, there are some considerations that may be relevant.

Reasons For Using www

The main reasons for sticking with the conventional is all about following recognised standards and giving crystal clear usability.  Using a domain with the www is unambiguous, technically accurate and clearly distinguishes the address from emails, FTP and skype handles – as soon as you see it, you know it’s a website. This provides clearer usability, and in fact many browsers will automatically redirect to a www domain if someone types a shortened version such as youtube.com. Though some domains can benefit from the shortened address, other domains like site.co or site.net or site.nz can look a bit odd without the www, so your particular brand needs to be weighed up as to whether it fits or not. Developers and web designers often recommend sticking with the www for technical purposes also, as it’s another thing that needs to be considered when figuring out a website setup, especially when working with FTP-based sites.

Reasons For Not Using www

The main reason for dropping the www, is the trend where websites are aiming to look hipper.  Particularly websites aimed at a younger audience. Twitter.com and 8tracks.com are examples of sites that have adopted the www to suit their demographic. It looks more modern and minimalistic, so it could help funk up your brand. Some people will also say that typing in the extra ‘www.’ is a bit more work (though in practice most ‘site.com’ addresses will redirect to the www.site.com version anyway).


Generally speaking, we believe it is ‘safer’ to go with using www because it is clearer for usability in a wider number of usages. However, if you have a clear and recognisable domain that doesn’t need the www or have a younger target audience in mind, then using the non-www could be a better approach. It all comes down to your brand, how you want your website domain to look and your priorities.

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Mark started working in the Internet industry in 1994. He went on to startup New Zealand Tourism Online, Avatar and other companies. Mark enjoys meeting with clients and strategising online marketing solutions.

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