It’s the web, use the WWW

I’m noticing a lot of sites are now using their top level domain as their site address, such as mysite.com instead of www.mysite.com.  That can cause major issues for you later, so you might want to think twice about it.  

Domain names are rather useful things.  There’s a lot that can be done behind the covers, by manipulating subdomains and such.  This is one of the keys to most Content Delivery Networks, such as the Akamai DSA service that we use at Namemedia.  Basically, we create a subdomain and have a cname which points at our servers, and the main domain, www.mysite.com is then pointed via cname at the Akamai DSA servers.  It’s fairly easy from our standpoint, accept in the cases where we have sites that were optimized to use their top level domain for all traffic.  

So you’re thinking that you’re never going to use a CDN – your traffic will never warrant it.  The truth is that using www.sitename.com is still the best way to go.  All traffic that comes in to your top level domain can be routed to the www.sitename.com subdomain, and then you simply rewrite the url to include the www.  Eventually everyone will be coming in where you want them.   You’ll have much better control of how your domain name is used, and if anything comes up the future, you won’t be forced to go back and reroute all your readers away from the top level domain.  They’ll be right where you want them.

This also will make it easier for you to setup test domains for site rebuilds, such as beta.mysite.com, etc.

This line in your htaccess file will redirect everyone to the www subdomain (of course, change “domain” to your domain, and if you’re using WordPress, be sure to make the changes needed in the settings>general tab for both site url and site homepage.

Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteEngine on
rewritecond %{http_host} ^domain.com [nc]
rewriterule ^(.*)$ http://www.domain.com/$1 [r=301,nc]

(You may notice that my post volume has dropped off of late – lots of work right now.  I’ll try to keep the posts coming, but I also want to keep food on the table for the family – Mark)

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