Make Sure Your Domain Works Without the “WWW”

As I process more and more business cards over at my new startup, one thing I’ve noticed on (unfortunately) a regular basis are companies who haven’t setup their domain names properly. The company domain name works when you type the full “www.companyname.com” but if you only type “companyname.com” you get nothing. The errors range from a server error to a dns error.

For most hosts it takes only a minute to get the non-www domain working. Check out the search results on Google for information on how to set it up for your particular host. Even domain name providers like GoDaddy have instructions on setting up the non-www version.

Don’t lose traffic and more importantly potential customers because of something so simple!

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7 Responses

  • Just wanted to add that even if it does work it can hurt your search engine results because http://www.companyname.com and companyname.com could be seen as two different results.

    Bryan

  • Ryan Spahn

    Hi Allen

    Thanks for informative post!

    When I type the name of my site in most browsers without www or http:// I am taken to the site. Though not with IE, I have to type www or http://sleep.fm, for it to go there . Thus, I wonder is this specific and relates to only IE?

    thanks,
    ryan

  • The worst part is that, nowadays, it actually takes an extra step to make the “www” work, since it’s now considered a subdomain. The regular domain name (without the “www”) should work out-of-the-box.

    Ideally, you should have your site set up to redirect (301) from one to the other, so that Google doesn’t penalize you for having the same content on two different sites (as Google will consider “www” to be a different site from the one without the www). There are valid arguments on both sides, as to whether or not you should keep the www in front. It really comes down to a matter of personal preference.

    On a similar subject, I’ve been thinking that MeeMix was having issues for the last few days, as I haven’t been able to login. I realized this evening that that’s because I was visiting http://meemix.com instead of http://www.meemix.com. Apparently you can’t successfully login when you visit the site without the www in front.

  • On most web hosting companies, your domain work with and without www

  • Agreed w/Curtiss here. Not sure about your webtraffic, but most sites I’ve developed or manage get most traffic from search engines, rather than direct entry. The important part is to make sure you redirect so as to prevent double-listing w/search engines.

  • Just a side note regarding the last part of my comment: I reported the issue to MeeMix and they fixed it within a few hours. :)

  • Yes, I go with blogger in saying that most of the web hosting companies allow yuour domain to function with or without www

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