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Tech: www in Website URL - why???

Joe Offer 07 Feb 09 - 10:13 PM
Rapparee 07 Feb 09 - 10:26 PM
Jeri 07 Feb 09 - 10:31 PM
vlmagee 07 Feb 09 - 10:37 PM
Joe Offer 07 Feb 09 - 10:43 PM
vlmagee 08 Feb 09 - 02:32 PM
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Subject: Tech: www in Website URL - why???
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 10:13 PM

I guess I should know the answer to this question, but I don't. We can access Mudcat at www.mudcat.org - or simply at mudcat.org.

However, that doesn't work for the Website of the women's center where I do volunteer work. Its Web address is http://www.wellspringwomen.org, and it doesn't work without the www. Why is that, and is there a way to make it so it works either way?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: www in Website URL - why???
From: Rapparee
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 10:26 PM

Well, the www is a blanking of the server name (e.g., UTex Austin used to have servers named after the Seven Dwarfs, but the all answered to www). Most browsers today will insert www automatically -- that is, they look at the URL both ways, with and without www. I'd look at what browser is being used.


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Subject: RE: Tech: www in Website URL - why???
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 10:31 PM

The 'whatsit.org' is the domain name and the 'www.whatsit.org' is a URL. Other than that bit of incredibly non-helpful info, I don't know. Maybe the 'www' free address doesn't work because of something missing in the registration (because the domain name has to point to the URL in order to work)?


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Subject: RE: Tech: www in Website URL - why???
From: vlmagee
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 10:37 PM

Joe, to be recognized either way both must be in the DNSes. Basically, they are separate web addresses, just as store.mycompany.com or careers.mycompany.com might be.

Originally, "www" was the subdomain used for web sites, but over time the domain name itself became the common way to reference the organization's web site (4 fewer characters to type was the motivator, I think, plus "www" is non-intuitive to an end-user). Most of the larger web site hosts will automatically define both for you, but organizations with their own DNSes often fail to do this. Find out who hosts the DNSes, and get them to define the other address too. (If the DNSes are within the organization, they may have made the mistake of using the base domain as their internal network. They can still make it point to their web site for people outside of their network, but it wouldn't work inside. PM me if you have that situation).


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Subject: RE: Tech: www in Website URL - why???
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 10:43 PM

vlmagee, does that mean we have to pay an extra fee to be both with and without the www? - or is this something our Website host can handle easily and without cost?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: www in Website URL - why???
From: vlmagee
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 02:32 PM

No, there is no additional charge. Whoever registered the domain owns mydomain.com and the use (or non-use) of sub-domains is a DNS consideration only. Many of the web hosts give you a screen where you can do this yourself, so if you have access to the domain management screen, just look for a screen that allow you to create DNS entries (they also control the MX record, for email).

The domain name is registered somewhere. Some registrars provide DNS hosting as well; some go all the way to web site and email hosting. On the other hand, one might register the domain one place, but use somebody else's domain name servers (DNSes), and still a third party's web site hosting. (That is foolish, but people do it).

DNSes are on individual servers (minimum two); web sites are on their own server (usually). These days they may all be on the same physical machine if one is using virtual machine software.

Look at the domain registry information. Network Solutions' whois will pick it up from almost any registrar, so you can use them regardless of where the domain is registered. The domain listing will show who the DNSes belong to. In large companies, both the DNSes and the web sites are typically in-house. Most smaller companies registered at "major" registrars use the registrar's DNSes and often their email services as well.

Most of the "lesser" (forgive my bias) web hosts register their domains with one company and then manage the DNSes and web sites themselves. They often don't automatically define your web site both with and without www, but I can't imagine they would charge you to do so. Where the DNS is in-house, often the technical people aren't sufficiently web knowledgeable to know to define both (and, as I said, some screw it up royally by making one of the two the internal network name).

So, bottom line, no cost should be involved unless whoever is hosting it charges you for everything!

Furthermore, if the setup is not easy to manage you should look elsewhere for services. The difference between $2.99 a year, or $9.99 a year or even more should not be a consideration. You want near 100% uptime plus ability to manage everything yourself without standing on your head. If the current setup doesn't allow that, they should move. It can be done inexpensively.


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