The domain name is the website address, minus the www, like webmentor.ie - in this article we talk about what is a domain name and whether or not you should add the www. in front of it for your website's url.

identifying the domain name
Identifying the Domain Name

The domain name is the website address, minus the www

Examples Domain Name
www.webmentor.ie webmentor.ie
http://www.webmentor.ie webmentor.ie
https://webmentor.ie webmentor.ie
en.wikipedia.org wikipedia.org
http://de.wikipedia.org/domain/name.php wikipedia.org

If you want to get a website

You will need to register a domain name.

  1. Registering a domain name is the first step to getting a website. You will be required to register it as the domain name to begin with (ie. without the www.)
  2. Once your domain name is registered, your website will normally be accessible as both http(s)://www.yourdomain.com AND http(s)://yourdomain.com. You should choose only ONE of these. Never use both on your site.
  3. Once you have registered and paid for your domain name don't forget that you must renew this on an annual basis! Sometimes you will get a cheaper option to pay upfront for 2-10 years ahead.
  4. You cannot register an identical domain name if it already exists. For instance webmentor.ie is not the same as webmentor.eu or webmentor.com - they would require 2 more separate domain name registrations.

Should your website address include the www. or not?

Since both are normally active when you first register a domain name, make sure to choose only one or the other when you put your website up. You can't use both, because of an issue known as canonicalisation. Canonicalisation means that search engines would consider urls with the www as a separate site to those without the www. So to prevent SEO canonicalisation issues, you need to decide whether to include the www or not. Most people include it, but there's no right or wrong. There's a bit of a thing that "techie" sites don't include it (yar who could be bothered to type 4 extra characters, roish?)

So tell your developer which you'd prefer and stick to it. If you don't have a developer, then ask your web host to do this for you - any good web host will be happy to oblige you. There is no right or wrong decision in choosing your website address with or without the www. It makes for a lively discussion - but neither point of view is right or wrong.

Twitter works without the www as in https://twitter.com, google works with the www. as in https://www.google.ie - it's just a matter of preference. You'll know the change has been made correctly because if you type in the wrong one it will automatically revert to the right one (try typing https://www.twitter.com - you'll see it changes immediately to https://twitter.com). Try this with your own website - and make sure only ONE version works! If both versions are working, ask your developer to do a .htaccess redirect from one to the other.

Tagged under: Domain Names

Last updated: 23 May 2018