The www prefix

February 2013

While updating my DNS for the redesign, I had to decide whether my canonical URL should be benkuhn.net or www.benkuhn.net. Like all irrelevant website-related decisions, this has erupted into some sort of pitched battle.

Sites like no-www, yes-www and even extra-www have strong opinions on both (all three?) sides of the debate. According to no-www, the argument against using the www prefix is that it’s “deprecated”, whatever that means–I assume the issue is that it’s not really needed and adds some extra URL cruft.

On the other hand, yes-www presents an actual technical argument, which is that 1) you can’t use a CNAME record on a naked domain and 2) cookies on the naked domain get sent to all subdomains, which screws up caching for static files. Both of these are fairly minor (I don’t need a CNAME record right now, and I could use AWS for my static media), but I don’t want to sacrifice that flexibility. So I made the naked domain redirect to www.benkuhn.net and made that the canonical URL.

Going through other sites, it looks like lots of big companies use www, like google, apple, and facebook (the exception is twitter). But a lot of smaller sites (random sampling) use no www. So either way is probably fine overall.


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