Is it essential to type "WWW" when our design contains URL, or is it a matter of taste by now?


I love the appearance of traditional url's, because the www in front of them eases and speeds up my understanding that there's definitely a certain web adress.

But is there any established guideline for formatting url not only for web, e.g. brochures, posters? May be you've heard of some research that proves the better UX due to the url format?

We all know, for example, that telephone numbers have quite established formatting guidelines.

6/17/2015 11:06:00 PM

Accepted Answer

www. may have valid technical reasons for being used.

When a server is configured it must be set up to use and It is completely possible that loads the site and does not. They are two, different, separate, addresses. This is all controlled by the server. Both addresses may work, or one address may be forwarded to the other. The forwarding could be done from any domain, it just so happens that it's common the www. address will forward to the non-www address or vice versa. In today's age, most hosting providers configure this and the www. is not mandatory. They configure the forwarding automatically for their customers. However, you should check your server before removing the www. from any marketing materials, or even before adding the www..

From a design standpoint, it's a matter of preference. If the sites loads with or without the www. then using it is your choice. As @Dom mentions in his comment above I find the suffix plays a large role.,, are all pretty clear. However, once you enter second or third tier suffixes it can be less clear, especially to audiences that aren't traditionally online audiences (seniors, non-tech organizations, etc). Adding the www. to more rarely used suffixes is always helpful.

I almost always drop the www. for first tier domains and almost always include them for second or third tier domains. But that's just my preference.

I'd also point out that phone numbers have changed. I now must dial 10 digits to make a local call, for decades it was only 7 digits, before that it was 5 digits. They may change slowly, but they do change formats :) Of course, thanks to smart phones I now only know my own phone number and can't ever remember anyone else's. :)

6/19/2015 5:08:00 AM and are two different addresses.

It is only a common convention for web servers to be configured such that both variants work the same. This convention is not universal, and some web sites will be set up only to respond to one or the other.

You need to confirm with whoever is in charge of the web site, which is acceptable to use. You may also want to see whether the site's listing in Google search shows the "www." or not, as this may indicate the site's preferred address.

If both are acceptable to use, I personally would prefer the variant without the "www." because I find this to be redundant, especially if there is a ".com" at the end which makes it highly recognisable as a web address even without a "www.".

There is no standard that says that one or the other should be used, only conventions and trends. The trends change over time, and I believe it's fair to say there is a gradual trend toward not having the "www." at the start of web addresses.

Here's some light-hearted debate on whether "www." should be used: