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WWW vs non-WWW – Which is Better For WordPress SEO?

Are you wondering what’s the difference between www vs non-www in site URLs?

People often want to know which one is better for SEO and whether they should change their site URL.

In this article, we will help you understand the difference between www vs non-www and which one is better for WordPress SEO.

WWW vs non-WWW - Which is Better For WordPress SEO?

Before we start, for an average user and small business owner, there is absolutely no difference between www vs non-www. It’s entirely a personal preference.

Yes, there is a technical difference between the two, which we will cover later in the article, but it shouldn’t matter either way for most people.

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WWW vs non-WWW – SEO Benefits

There are absolutely no SEO benefits of choosing one over another. It all depends on your preference.

What’s important is that you stay consistent with the one you chose when starting your website.

In other words, DO NOT change your site URL to add or remove www from it. That’s because search engines like Google will consider www and non-www as two different sites, leading to content duplication issues.

If you’re using All in One SEO plugin, then it will automatically set canonical URL in your site header and let Google know of your personal preference.

That’s all you really have to do. You can check out our guide on how to set up All in One SEO in WordPress for more details.

At WPBeginner site, we’re using www but that was a personal preference. On our other sites such as optinmonster.com and wpforms.com, we do not use www.

It’s just a personal preference, that’s it.

Technical Difference between WWW vs non-WWW

When you add www. in front of a site, it acts as a hostname which can help with flexibility with DNS, the ability to restrict cookies when using multiple subdomains, and more.

Whereas non-WWW domains, also referred to as naked domains, do have some technical limitations. For example, a CDN provider like Akamai cannot redirect traffic from a failing server to a healthy server on a naked domain.

However, these technical differences are only felt if your website is receiving millions of page views on a daily basis.

For full technical explanation and details, refer to this article on Why use www?

We hope this article helped clear any confusion between WWW vs non-WWW for your site URL. For more SEO tips, see our ultimate guide to WordPress SEO and WordPress SEO audit checklist to boost rankings.

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Reader Interactions

60 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Great post, thank you. Question, I changed my sites over to a new host. They automatically changed the primary domain to the NON-www. For years they have had the www. Should I change it back? Will this mess up rankings of very old pages/posts? Thanks!

  2. Hello! Thanks for this great article. Also: Help! I’ve just changed my (relatively new) non-www site to www because the new Google Search Console was being finicky. Have I just screwed up my SEO completely? Do I really need to use redirects? Thanks so much. Best, Frances

    • You have not screwed up your SEO, As long as your site has the canonical URL set through your SEO plugin you should be fine.

      Admin

  3. I have used a few speed testing tools (GT Metrix, Pingdom, Google PS) and have entered my site with and without www. In each test my site received a better rating if I entered with www. Does the www actually impact speed or is it just a fluke?

    • It would depend on the specific warnings or messages but most likely, your hosting provider is redirecting one of the URLs to the other causing the slowdown which would mean it is nothing to worry about.

      Admin

  4. What if I have both non-www and www version on my site? I previously use www version and it’s just okey. But, then I need also non-www version to verify with GA. Do I need redirect or it’s just fine. What about the penalty from Google for having same domain and subdomain?

    • Google Analytics accepts www versions of sites, you would want to also ensure you set your preferred domain with Google.

      Admin

  5. I am Satisfied with this Article. Thanks for This type of Informative article. This article Answered my question.

  6. I changed mine just now to www from non www, will this damage my prexisting SEO? I already have both added to Webmasters and just changed my preference.

    Thanks

    • If you set up the canonical url then it should have minimal effect on your SEO.

      Admin

  7. When I enter URL directly of my website after clearing cache then store id is displayed along the url is it good for seo or not.
    Here is the url:
    example.com/?SID=1234

    • They can be considered duplicate content when indexed, you can use Google’s URL parameters tool to avoid indexing those.

      Admin

  8. This is very informative for me

    THANKS, WP Beginner,

    WordPress users exist because you guys exist on internet, otherwise many people got distracted and ruined their business.

    All best for you.

  9. This would be important if the domain was used before buying it so its important to check any existing backlinks as there may be a benefit to www or non www depending which has the best metrics.

  10. Hello, thanks for this great article I have successfully verified my side with www but to set www based version as my preferred one, I have to also verify the non-www version which fails after I add the tag and use other means of property verification but to no avail please help how I can achieve that… My site is

  11. Hello, After setting my preferred domain to www version , my non www version is showing me robots.txt fetch error, while in www version i have no such error. i set 301 redirect from non www version to www version too.
    But due to fetch error i cant see any indexing on non www version so what should i do with robots.txt fetch error for non www version of my site in search console.
    Sir/Mam, i am eagirly waiting for the reply.
    Thank you

  12. Hi,
    I have a domain and Indexed like http://example.com/ (not www) and I added my site(same domain) in webmasters like http://www.example.com/ (www included) and I’m not getting any data like search and traffic info about the domain and nothing is happening there even after few weeks. is including www in webmasters for the domain is a problem for that? If its that how can I resolve it? Please give me some suggestions to overcome it

  13. I have always wondered if not including the www in my url hurt SEO. Thanks for the article. Answered my question.

  14. Hi guys, I have a site configured as non-www but the www results are better than the non-www ones. Should I switch to www?

    Thanks!

    • Hi,

      If you are saying that the same website is indexed with both www and non-www URLs on the same domain name, then this is actually causing the duplicate content issue for Google. You would need to pick one and stick to it. You will also need to redirect users and search engines from the URL format that you drop.

      Admin

  15. i just launched a new wp site using a subdomain – new.example.com. One of my friends told me “not working as http://www.new.example.com“. So i checked and sure enough it wouldnt come up with the http://www., just “http://new.swirlspace.com”

    So i went into the dashboard and changed it from http://new.example.com to http://www.example.com and as soon as i clicked “save changes” the site hasnt been able to be located anywhere, not even in wp dashboard.

    not sure what to do to get i back online, and am just reading here to NOT change it after the initial time… so, any ideas? didnt backup since i had literally just finished it enough to announce it but was still working on adding many pages and features

    • As we have mentioned above, the www is technically a subdomain itself. Some web hosts configure their servers in a way that automatically redirects users to non-www url when someone tries to access it with www. It seems your host doesn’t support this by default. This means when you changed URL from WordPress settings to http://www.new.example.com, then it started pointing to a subdomain that does not exist.

      Here is how you can fix it. Connect to your website using FTP. Go to your the folder containing your WordPress files. Then go to /wp-content/themes/your-wordpress-theme/ folder and open the functions.php file. Add this code at the bottom of your functions.php file:

      update_option( ‘siteurl’, ‘http://new.example.com’ );
      update_option( ‘home’, ‘http://new.example.com’ );

      Replace example.com with your own domain name. Save and upload the file back to your server. You should now be able to visit your website again.

      Admin

  16. i have set my preferred domain with www but i had done my seo submission without www. is their any technical issue in serp.

  17. Here’s the question… just learning about SEO now. Before I setuo my new website I was putting my links all over the web as www. But then my new website shows up as non-www. Is google seeing this as 2 different websites? Are they not connecting the backlinks that have a www to the new website that is non-www?

    If all my backlinks have a www, should I have my website person change my site to include www? This has been so confusing to me, so hopefully you can clear this up

  18. Thanks for this tip – what is stupid is that Google gives you the opportunity to change the version in WebMaster Tools but they do not pass the domain authority from the old to the new…

    I saw this option after noticing that no one uses www anymore in conversation and it seems more streamlined (less is more?) so I removed it. I ended up losing massive amounts of SEO juice and that could have ruined my business.

    If Google is going to let you change, then why don’t they send the juice with the change!?!?!?!?!

    • Maybe you didn’t understand that www is a subdomain. When you switched, you technically changed your website’s “home”. You moved homes from the subdomain www to the “base” URL.

      Google let’s you update your webmaster to tell them you’ve moved homes. They won’t “send the juice” to your new URL because you didn’t gain the rank using that address.

      Effectively what you’re asking for is “tradeable” SEO. Not happening buddy :D

  19. Where can this be adjusted in yoast?
    After making sure the redirect for www to non-www is in place, how long before webmaster tools will index the non-www version.

  20. Thank you for the article, it answered a couple questions I have had. I am wondering if we set our preferred domain with Google WMT and set the same domain structure (non-www) in the wordpress settings does that alone define the canonical url? or should we also add a www to non-www 301 in our htaccess file? Thank you

    • Seriously guys I would always choose www.

      I decided to choose non www. because I liked it better but I am now having all kinds of problems later down the line.

      For example.

      My host offers cloudflare at a reduced rate. After spending 19 days on tech questions they now tell me that I cannot have a non www. domain running cloudflare through my control panel.
      Instead I have to go to cloudflare and set up through them at an extra 15 dollars a month. :/

      In changing over I have also had problems with my ssl certificate.

      Non www. just isn’t as flexible at DNS.

      This situation has got very messy the further I have progressed with it and multiple changes in htaccess, server setup and code have been needed to maintain proper operation. It isn’t worth it, it slows your site eventually through all the mess it creates.
      Some of the problems I have encountered have been my own fault but I like you was stumbling blindly into stuff and just did what I was told. The free advice wasn’t always all that great and now I’m in a bit of a mess that could of been avoided if someone would of just warned me against the vanity of the non www.

      When I was first reading this up everyone was like… Oh yeah use non www. if you like…Google doesn’t care. Well I now have all my webmaster tools set up, analytics, company stationary, business cards and all the rest done and my site won’t work properly with cloudflare. I think there may be a work around at cloudflare but to use a cname requires a business account at £200 a month.
      I haven’t fully investigated that option because I can’t afford it before anyone asks.

      Also, I get the redirect thing but it’s not the point? It’s all extra work that can be avoided and when your site gets big it adds up.

      If your coming to this raw I would advise you to set up as www. If nothing else to save yourself months and months of reading and frustration.

      You have been warned.

      • Dude. I’m running my domain without www under cloudflare with SSL for FREE, maybe is something about your server. You can see my site here:

      • Hi SID,

        I use for several years the www. and no www. for my blogs and its no technical issue, the only problem is with the SSL certificate, you must release it with the www. version so it can work on both versions if you release it on non www. it will work only on your non www. site.

        Hope it helps.

  21. Its so obvious that wpbeginner changes the date on their old posts to make old content look newer.

    • We do not change dates. Actually we display the last updated date of a post and not the published date. We regularly update our old articles with new information. We update screenshots and make corrections when necessary.

      Admin

      • Yeah, I do the same thing. Every year I have to re-evaluate the “best” overall tools. If I find something important sooner than later then I just post it immediately.

      • Kudos to you guys for getting proper use out of your blog posts! Seriously folks, if you are a blogger and do not regularly revitalize and update old posts you are missing out on opportunities!!!! I see nothing wrong with updating older posts and displaying the recent updated date as opposed to the original post date.

  22. I don’t think you really need to worry if you want to change the url from www to non www or vice versa at a later date. You don’t really need to be consistent anymore.

    WordPress 2.3 version has already improve on this and the only thing that is needed is to go to your wordpress settings->General and add or remove www. wordpress will automatically change all redirects by itself and you don’t have to do a thing, you don’t lose anything, no serp no likes nothing. The only thing you need to change is your webmaster tools url and thats it. Google might take a bit to index all your pages again but google its pretty fast.

    In conclusion don’t worry if at a later date you want to change your url again. You can do it as many times as you want.

    • Hi Erick, Was trying to find an answer to this question as I too would like to change my non-www to www domain and am thrilled to hear its really this easy! What about internal links and media stored on the site? Will that need to be redone? Also, will I need to update my settings with plugins like jetpack or will they automatically be informed?

      Thanks so much for your comment, it really makes things so much easier for me as I’m very new to wordpress!

      Gillian

  23. So when you list your bog on other sites should you stay consistent and use www or non depending on your preference?

  24. Let’s just say a designer did change your site from www to non www. And your site dropped out of Google. It is advised to wait it out? Or change it back to www ??

  25. Thanks for post such a nice blog,
    But my opinion is this,there are no difference between www or without www effects on seo traffic and ranking.
    But technically www is standard way to represents url address so we should prefer with www url.

  26. The one click install on most cpanels seem to omit the WWW in the setup. This has been my experience anyway.

  27. Good article. I would just add the importance of doing a 301 redirect from one to the other, whichever way you choose. Thus way all links get resolved to the same domain (subdomain) instead of splitting backlinks.

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