9 sites who don’t know that www.domain.com ISN’T THE SAME as domain.com
You may not know it, but the www version of your website is not the same as the non-www version.
What this means is that yourdomain.com/page is NOT THE SAME PAGE as www.yourdomain.com/page. The URL without the www at the front is treated as a different URL by search engines, for instance. And if someone leaves off the www (on a link or when they type a URL), they may not get any page at all unless you've set your server up right (explained at the end).
Does your website work on the non-www version, or do you get a message like this?
9 sites that don't seem to know this
This ought to be fairly well known in this day and age. But click the following sites and you'll go to the non-www version of their homepage - and in each case, you won't get anything.
- Body shop: http://thebodyshop.co.uk
- W H Smith: http://whsmith.co.uk/
- Woolworths: http://woolworths.co.uk/
- Jessops: http://jessops.com
- Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs: http://hmrc.gov.uk/
- UK Trade & Investment: http://uktradeinvest.gov.uk/
- Companies House: http://companieshouse.gov.uk/
- Oxford University: http://ox.ac.uk/
- Open University: http://open.ac.uk/
Solutions to the problem
You can serve up your whole website on both the www and non-ww version of your URL, but this can give rise to duplicate-content problems. It's better to redirect the non-www to the www version (or vice versa).
- To help Google: Set a preferred domain in webmaster tools if your site appears on both www and non-www.
- To help users: Write your htaccess file to redirect the non-www version to the www one.
- Help yourself: Read up about canonicalisation and make sure that SOMETHING appears on the non-www version.
But don't just leave awful messages or blank pages ... (and in case you're wondering why it's 9 sites, it was 10 but http://johnlewis.com seems to be working now!)