Required www



  • I'm part of the group that believes the "www" before domain names is unnecessary, so I suppose you can see why the pattern used by my college annoys me so much.

    http://housing.gatech.edu -> Server not found

    http://www.housing.gatech.edu -> Works

     Naturally, it isn't consistent between different subdomains either.



  • Well, it's less-worse than someone writing an address as person@www.example.com



  • @Z1_Jacob said:

    http://housing.gatech.edu -> Server not found

    http://www.housing.gatech.edu -> Works

     Naturally, it isn't consistent between different subdomains either.

     

    It's either laziness or an oversight. Either way it is annoying, especially for a subdomain. For my personal sites I generally redirect to the non-www page, and my professional sites I redirect to the www version. But they both always work! This site is old.



  • @Qwerty said:

    Well, it's less-worse than someone writing an address as person@www.example.com


    On a similar theme, what gets right on my goat is this, which is announced on some TV shows:

    "Email us now at www.tvstation.com/showname".
    ...When what they actually mean is....
    "We have a contact us page on our website. It sends us an email, you just fill in a form powered by a CGI script built in 1996."
    And yes, I have had to give someone support when they tried to send an email to a website URL straight from Outlook Express...


  • @MeesterTurner said:

    And yes, I have had to give someone support when they tried to send an email to a website URL straight from Outlook Express...

    Hmm. This gets me thinking. Would this be a bad idea? We could make it like SOAP, except without the awfulness... Presented in the browser, you get an email/contact form. Sent via POST data from an aware MUA, it gets translated into an email on the server side. Hm.



  • @Xyro said:

    @MeesterTurner said:
    And yes, I have had to give someone support when they tried to send an email to a website URL straight from Outlook Express...

    Hmm. This gets me thinking. Would this be a bad idea? We could make it like SOAP, except without the awfulness... Presented in the browser, you get an email/contact form. Sent via POST data from an aware MUA, it gets translated into an email on the server side. Hm.

    You sir, make my skin shiver



  • @Xyro said:

    We could make it like SOAP, except without the awfulness...

    So... not like SOAP then.



  • @Z1_Jacob said:

    I'm part of the group that believes the "www" before domain names is unnecessary, so I suppose you can see why the pattern used by my college annoys me so much.

    http://housing.gatech.edu -> Server not found

    http://www.housing.gatech.edu -> Works

     Naturally, it isn't consistent between different subdomains either.

    Well, they can actually be different servers with www pointing to one server running a webserver and the default pointing to a server running other services but NOT a webserver. It would be kind of silly to not have a hostname but this is a university that may have had internet services before there really was such thing as www.



  • @Qwerty said:

    Well, it's less-worse than someone writing an address as person@www.example.com

     

    In my experience, the clueless lusers tend to write addresses (both their own and that of whomever they're trying to reach) as www.person@example.com.

     



  • This URI-scheme looks a lot like my alma mater, which funny enough was URI. You'd think a university called URI would get URI's correct. You'd be mistaken.

    Also, regarding the whole email us at www.domain.tld/contact, what irks me even more are radio ads that pronounce the "http://" in their address. That's 5 seconds of valuable radio commercial time completely wasted. 6-7 seconds if they erroneously pronounce it "backslash" instead of "slash." Ugh, you'd think someone during the process of developing the commercial would have told them the http part is unnecessary.



  • @RHuckster said:

    Also, regarding the whole email us at www.domain.tld/contact, what irks me even more are radio ads that pronounce the "http://" in their address. That's 5 seconds of valuable radio commercial time completely wasted. 6-7 seconds if they erroneously pronounce it "backslash" instead of "slash." Ugh, you'd think someone during the process of developing the commercial would have told them the http part is unnecessary.

     

    Technically speaking, it's not a proper URI without the scheme.

     



  • @Z1_Jacob said:

    I'm part of the group that believes the "www" before domain names is unnecessary, so I suppose you can see why the pattern used by my college annoys me so much.

    http://housing.gatech.edu -> Server not found

    http://www.housing.gatech.edu -> Works

     Naturally, it isn't consistent between different subdomains either.

    I agree it is unnecessary; usually if there are multiple computers, one of which is "www", could you program the router to redirect the port number 80 to that server or if there is a computer on "housing.gatech.edu" to put a stub HTTP server to redirect? If neither of these things can be done in this case, that can be a reason why the "www" would be required, and it makes sense. That might also be the reason why it isn't consistent between subdomains either. How many computers are on "housing.gatech.edu"?



  • @RHuckster said:

    Ugh, you'd think someone during the process of developing the commercial would have told them the http part is unnecessary.

    The "http" part is not unnecessary. But they could get away with not pronouncing it if they included "www" in the domain name, because then it becomes clear what it is! Print ads, however, should always include the URI scheme.



  • "I'm writing reviews at double-u, double-u, double-u movie-weiner-or-winner.com"

    "You don't have to say the double-u, double-u, double-u, guys!"



  • @zzo38 said:

    The "http" part is not unnecessary. But they could get away with not pronouncing it if they included "www" in the domain name, because then it becomes clear what it is! Print ads, however, should always include the URI scheme.

    I would disagree with that. You could have something like:

    Web: company.com
    Email: sales@company.com
    Twitter: @Company
    AOL Keyword: Douchebag
    etc...
    ...and it makes perfect sense to the people using the ad.


  • @blakeyrat said:

    "I'm writing reviews at double-u, double-u, double-u movie-weiner-or-winner.com"

    "You don't have to say the double-u, double-u, double-u, guys!"

    Hmmm....how many domain names actually start with "www" or "wwwdot"? Seems almost worthwhile, if only to spite the pedantic dickweeds who get angry about them.



  •  @boomzilla said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    "I'm writing reviews at double-u, double-u, double-u movie-weiner-or-winner.com"

    "You don't have to say the double-u, double-u, double-u, guys!"

    Hmmm....how many domain names actually start with "www" or "wwwdot"? Seems almost worthwhile, if only to spite the pedantic dickweeds who get angry about them.

    The founder of slashdot.org chose that domain name just to confuse people in a similar manner.



  • @dtobias said:

    @RHuckster said:

    Also, regarding the whole email us at www.domain.tld/contact, what irks me even more are radio ads that pronounce the "http://" in their address. That's 5 seconds of valuable radio commercial time completely wasted. 6-7 seconds if they erroneously pronounce it "backslash" instead of "slash." Ugh, you'd think someone during the process of developing the commercial would have told them the http part is unnecessary.

     

    Technically speaking, it's not a proper URI without the scheme.

     

    I'll call Google and let them know so they can fix Chrome.



  • @zzo38 said:

    The "http" part is not unnecessary. But they could get away with not pronouncing it if they included "www" in the domain name, because then it becomes clear what it is! Print ads, however, should always include the URI scheme.

    I can understand that. If anything it perks any interested parties ears, and cues them to listen for a web address to write down or remember. Although it could be just as effective to say, "Find us on the web at domain.com"

    But saying "aich-tee-tee-pee-colon-slash-slash" in any context will likely confuse those who don't really pay attention to URI schemes... and some even more clueless people who are only half-listening might even get offended that they are talking about pee in a slashed colon. 



  • I am firmly in the camp that www should always be specified, I will often have multiple servers for different protocols so www.mydomain.com is not the same box as ftp.mydomain.com or gopher.mydomain.com (Yes, I still maintain some gopher systems). While it is possible to have a mydomain.com with redirects, it is not always practical and adds work. On the otherhand, for companies (or individuals) who want the broadest reach (e.g. you lose sales if someone gets a "not found" when eliminating the subdomain) then the additional work and overhead is well worth it.



  •  Bingo.  While I can't think of any firsthand experience where "www.whatever.com" worked and bare "whatever.com" didn't, my personal page back when I was on Sprint was the other way around.  I was forever having to tell people "no, leave off the wuh-wuh-wuh!"



  • @TheCPUWizard said:

    While it is possible to have a mydomain.com with redirects, it is not always practical and adds work.

    Redirects can be expensive. It is better to use a ServerAlias:

    <VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerName example.com
        ServerAlias www.example.com
        ...
    </VirtualHost>

    One line fix, and you can make either/or the alias.

    @TheCPUWizard said:

    On the otherhand, for companies (or individuals) who want the broadest reach (e.g. you lose sales if someone gets a "not found" when eliminating the subdomain) then the additional work and overhead is well worth it.

    OTOOH: If you're going to take the time and effort to put up a website, why wouldn't you want the broadest reach - regardless of what the website's purpose/goal is for? That is pretty stupid to make your website more difficult to get to; there really is no excuse not to have both a www and non-www site. If someone is savvy enough to want to FTP/Gopher into your system, then it probably is a safe bet that they are going to understand the difference between example.com and gopher.example.com.



  • @dohpaz42 said:

    OTOOH: If you're going to take the time and effort to put up a website, why wouldn't you want the broadest reach - regardless of what the website's purpose/goal is for? That is pretty stupid to make your website more difficult to get to; there really is no excuse not to have both a www and non-www site. If someone is savvy enough to want to FTP/Gopher into your system, then it probably is a safe bet that they are going to understand the difference between example.com and gopher.example.com

    To "make something" requires an action. In this case (distributed servers) NO action means that the sub-domain Matters, it takes a specific action "to make" multiple servers provide the material. In many cases the root server mydomain.com [ip:123.123.123.123] on a physical box in location X may not even have a web server running. While www.mydomain.com [ip:234.234.234.234] on a different box in a different location has the proper server.



  • @TheCPUWizard said:

    To "make something" requires an action. In this case (distributed servers) NO action means that the sub-domain Matters, it takes a specific action "to make" multiple servers provide the material.

    You could sit here and argue grammatical differences in speech, but you obviously got the point that I was making. Or, in the words of one blakeyrat (and et al): Pendantic Dickweedery. :)

    @TheCPUWizard said:

    In many cases the root server mydomain.com [ip:123.123.123.123] on a physical box in location X may not even have a web server running. While www.mydomain.com [ip:234.234.234.234] on a different box in a different location has the proper server.

    So the ServerAlias argument went flying right out of the window in this particular case. I'll grant you that. However, my main argument still stands firm: there is no excuse to not have both the www and non-www address work in a web browser.



  • @dohpaz42 said:

    It is better to use a ServerAlias:
    I've read somewhere that Google doesn't like if the same content is available on several subdomains. Not sure how true it is, but to me it's really not a problem to add the following to the server config:
    <VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName example.org
    Redirect permanent / http://www.example.org/
    </VirtualHost>



  • @MeesterTurner said:

    @Qwerty said:

    Well, it's less-worse than someone writing an address as person@www.example.com

    On a similar theme, what gets right on my goat is this, which is announced on some TV shows:

    "Email us now at www.tvstation.com/showname".
    ...When what they actually mean is....
    "We have a contact us page on our website. It sends us an email, you just fill in a form powered by a CGI script built in 1996."

    And yes, I have had to give someone support when they tried to send an email to a website URL straight from Outlook Express...

    I've noticed that trend has been slowly fading, though I still occasionally hear it. And I still hear "visit our website at wwwdomain.com (without the first seperator)" fairly often. What still grinds my gears for some reason, is hearing "logon to our website at ..."

    I associate "logging on" with entering a username and password, and most sites don't require that to provide information.

    Just one of them things.



  • @RHuckster said:

     @boomzilla said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    "I'm writing reviews at double-u, double-u, double-u movie-weiner-or-winner.com"

    "You don't have to say the double-u, double-u, double-u, guys!"

    Hmmm....how many domain names actually start with "www" or "wwwdot"? Seems almost worthwhile, if only to spite the pedantic dickweeds who get angry about them.

    The founder of slashdot.org chose that domain name just to confuse people in a similar manner.

    The guy who registered http://dotat.at/ has the email address dot@dotat.at



  • @dohpaz42 said:

    OTOOH: If you're going to take the time and effort to put up a website, why wouldn't you want the broadest reach - regardless of what the website's purpose/goal is for? That is pretty stupid to make your website more difficult to get to; there really is no excuse not to have both a www and non-www site.
     

    An ISP I used to use had a good reason for keeping the two addresses separate. [url]www.user.site[/url] resolved to a web server managed by the ISP. [url]user.site[/url] resolved to the customer's computer. Most customers won't run anything on port 80, but they are free to do so.

    There are many other ways could accomplish its aims of giving customer a web domain and also giving them a predictable method for connecting to their computer over the internet, but for the ISP to change either domain name's meaning unilaterally would not be popular.



  • @__moz said:

    An ISP I used to use had a good reason for keeping the two addresses separate. www.user.example.net resolved to a web server managed by the ISP. user.example.net resolved to the customer's computer.
     

    Is that what you meant? (underlined part is the actual username)

    The most competent ISP I've ever used had www.users.example.net/~user/  (optional www) for web space and user.cust.example.net for customer's static IP. DNS is meant to be hierarchal, so the customer's computers should be separate from their webspace, etc.

    Heh, it's been 8 years since we left them and our web space is still visible! Of course I've been using my own domain names for these purposes.

    My first commericial ISP in 1999 used www.example.net.au/~user/ directly!



  •  @Zemm said:

    @__moz said:

    An ISP I used to use had a good reason for keeping the two addresses separate. www.user.example.net resolved to a web server managed by the ISP. user.example.net resolved to the customer's computer.
     

    Is that what you meant? (underlined part is the actual username)

    Yes; sorry for not making more sense first time.



  • FWIW, Firefox auto-tries ww.domain.com if domain.com doesn't respond.



  • @dhromed said:

    FWIW, Firefox auto-tries ww.domain.com if domain.com doesn't respond.

    I would expect that to be an epic fail (trying with only two "w"'s)  <ducking and running>



  •  instaban



  • @thistooshallpass said:

    I'll call Google and let them know so they can fix Chrome.
     

    What's to fix?   RFC 3986 doesn't specify user agent behavior when a URI is determined to be invalid.

    A web browser altering a protocol-less URI fragment by prepending a default protocol of "http://" is a legitimate and reasonable behavior, as evidenced by all the major browsers have been doing it for a decade.

     



  • Obligatory Previous WTF Thread.



  • While I'm a long-time lurker on the WTF forums, registered because of this post, as it drives me crazy when folks require the "www". I'm applying for a job where the company in question has a 24 character domain name that's not the easiest to type and requires the "www". If you don't put in the "www", it redirects to the default IIS "Under Construction". It's probably a 5 minute fix, and there are so many different ways it could be fixed (I'm a unix/apache guy, but I know you can probably fix this with DNS or IIS configs or even just overwriting the under construction file with a meta redirect for cripes sake). I actually work for a client of said company, and have pointed out that obnoxious requirement on more than a few occassions and if I get the job there, that'll be the first thing I fix.



  • @orty said:

    I'm applying for a job where the company in question has a 24 character domain name that's not the easiest to type and requires the "www".

    Could be worse. Our company's parent's website is an "Under Construction" page, has been for over a year now.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Could be worse. Our company's parent's website is an "Under Construction" page, has been for over a year now.
     

    You should put a big penis banner on it.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @orty said:
    I'm applying for a job where the company in question has a 24 character domain name that's not the easiest to type and requires the "www".

    Could be worse. Our company's parent's website is an "Under Construction" page, has been for over a year now.

     

    I once worked for a company than made "Under Construction" pages for companies. To this day I still don't know if the website is finished or not.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    I once worked for a company than made "Under Construction" pages for companies. To this day I still don't know if the website is finished or not.

    Heh, takes me back to the days when I was 15 and I spent like a week making a "kewl" under construction page for my website, complete with the orange construction barrels, blinking orange lights, and hard helmets. I was a bit miffed when I found every other amatuer website from the 90s did the same thing.



  • @orty said:

    If you don't put in the "www", it redirects to the default IIS "Under Construction". It's probably a 5 minute fix

    It would be possible to do a quick fix in IIS, like creating a redirection in the default website. But then someone would have to do something about webtrends (or awstats or whatever) so the traffic for the two targets is merged, otherwise the stats will be pooched. And if the actual site is using SSL, then there could be a certificate problem depending on what the people are typing (www or not). The handling of robots would also have to be reviewed, as well as the DRP, all SEO stuff, etc.



    Now calculate the cost for following the proper ITILized process for all those steps; add the required input from the systems architect, add the cost of meetings with the marketing people to agree with the stats reports modification, and this could turn out to be a very expensive project So you would need to build a business case; get metrics from the helpdesk to find out what is the cost of people calling to ask about that IIS default page, get a guesstimate from marketing about the loss of revenue caused by the failed website hits, etc.



    There is no wonder that they did not fix that yet; this is a major project. Maybe the process is already started, and you won't know until you are hired (or until they give up and redirect their domain name to their facebook page).



  • @Rootbeer said:

    A web browser altering a protocol-less URI fragment by prepending a default protocol of "http://" is a legitimate and reasonable behavior, as evidenced by all the major browsers have been doing it for a decade.

    I don't like that; so, my web browser program, treats it as a relative URL if you do not enter the protocol to use. (It does support URI schemes other than HTTP)

    I do not require "www" to access my computer, although that or any other prefix will work. I run all the services on one computer so you do not need a domain prefix to indicate which you computer you want to connect to, because it is only one. (Even if it is more than one, I would configure the router to access the one you want based on port number) I have three services currently: Gopher (on port 70), HTTP (on port 80), and IRC (on port 194); later on I might add a telnet service as well. (I sometimes have an SMTP server running too, but most of the time it is turned off and will not accept any connections or messages)



  • @thistooshallpass said:

    @orty said:

    If you don't put in the "www", it redirects to the default IIS "Under Construction". It's probably a 5 minute fix

    It would be possible to do a quick fix in IIS, like creating a redirection in the default website. But then someone would have to do something about webtrends (or awstats or whatever) so the traffic for the two targets is merged, otherwise the stats will be pooched. And if the actual site is using SSL, then there could be a certificate problem depending on what the people are typing (www or not). The handling of robots would also have to be reviewed, as well as the DRP, all SEO stuff, etc.



    Now calculate the cost for following the proper ITILized process for all those steps; add the required input from the systems architect, add the cost of meetings with the marketing people to agree with the stats reports modification, and this could turn out to be a very expensive project So you would need to build a business case; get metrics from the helpdesk to find out what is the cost of people calling to ask about that IIS default page, get a guesstimate from marketing about the loss of revenue caused by the failed website hits, etc.



    There is no wonder that they did not fix that yet; this is a major project. Maybe the process is already started, and you won't know until you are hired (or until they give up and redirect their domain name to their facebook page).

     Thank you for so clearly breaking down what I ad tersely alluded to previously.



  • @TheCPUWizard said:

    I am firmly in the camp that www should always be specified, I will often have multiple servers for different protocols so www.mydomain.com is not the same box as ftp.mydomain.com or gopher.mydomain.com 

    If you want to make it more obvious that your services are running on different servers, you could eliminate a lot of confusion by adding the internal IP directly in the url, like http://192.168.10.25.mydomain.com



    This being said, it would not be a foolproof scheme, because you could have virtual machines on the same host with different IPs. So it would probably be better to use the MAC Addresse: 00-28-8A-71-43-4.mydomain.com... Nah, it would still not be foolproof because on virtualized networks some hypervisors don't bother checking that VMs have unique MAC addresses. Maybe you could try a checksum on the hostname, the IP and the MAC address.



  • @thistooshallpass said:

    @orty said:

    If you don't put in the "www", it redirects to the default IIS "Under Construction". It's probably a 5 minute fix

    It would be possible to do a quick fix in IIS, like creating a redirection in the default website. But then someone would have to do something about webtrends (or awstats or whatever) so the traffic for the two targets is merged, otherwise the stats will be pooched. And if the actual site is using SSL, then there could be a certificate problem depending on what the people are typing (www or not). The handling of robots would also have to be reviewed, as well as the DRP, all SEO stuff, etc.

    Now calculate the cost for following the proper ITILized process for all those steps; add the required input from the systems architect, add the cost of meetings with the marketing people to agree with the stats reports modification, and this could turn out to be a very expensive project So you would need to build a business case; get metrics from the helpdesk to find out what is the cost of people calling to ask about that IIS default page, get a guesstimate from marketing about the loss of revenue caused by the failed website hits, etc.

    There is no wonder that they did not fix that yet; this is a major project. Maybe the process is already started, and you won't know until you are hired (or until they give up and redirect their domain name to their facebook page).
    You are underestimating.  I'm currently several weeks into getting a web server put up at a big company.  After months of creating communication diagrams and getting corporate security to bless the setup, they started the build about a month ago.  Three weeks ago they said "Done, install your stuff".  It seems that everybody forgot to look at the diagrams and set up no firewall rules other than what was required to build the server.  The only traffic it would accept is RDP from a specific management subnet and the firewall would allow no traffic out (other than responses to incoming traffic, of course).  They set up no access or admin rights for the project team.  Three weeks later, I can now remote into the box and a few firewall rules have been set up (but not enough to do anything productive).

    What's really funny is that this issue has been pushed so high up the org chart that I now have a firewall guy at my call that will put in any rule I tell him.  I can't get them to go back and read the diagram and the security department's "blessed configuration" and implement it.



  • @zzo38 said:

    I have three services currently: Gopher (on port 70), ...

     

    ... why?

     



  • @immibis said:

    @zzo38 said:

    I have three services currently: Gopher (on port 70), ...

     

    ... why?

     

    Because 70 is the registered port for Gopher.



  • @error_NoError said:

    @Z1_Jacob said:

    I'm part of the group that believes the "www" before domain names is unnecessary, so I suppose you can see why the pattern used by my college annoys me so much.

    http://housing.gatech.edu -> Server not found

    http://www.housing.gatech.edu -> Works

     Naturally, it isn't consistent between different subdomains either.

    Well, they can actually be different servers with www pointing to one server running a webserver and the default pointing to a server running other services but NOT a webserver. It would be kind of silly to not have a hostname but this is a university that may have had internet services before there really was such thing as www.

    No, they can't be different servers.  'Server not found' is a naming service issue.  Assuming the naming service is DNS (probably a good assumption, because this is Internet accessible), there could be a DNS server for housing.gatech.edu - however, that does not conflict with having an A record for housing.gatech.edu which points to a different server.  (It *does* conflict with having a CNAME for housing.gatech.edu, however.  Apparently, P. Mockapetris understood one might want to have different servers for naming services, mail services, and the actual host on a particular name, but believed if one were to migrate these, they would all be consolidated on one box.)

    Start digging!

    <snip>
    ;; ANSWER SECTION:
    housing.gatech.edu.     28800   IN      MX      10 mx2.gatech.edu.
    housing.gatech.edu.     28800   IN      MX      10 mx3.gatech.edu.
    housing.gatech.edu.     28800   IN      MX      10 mx4.gatech.edu.
    housing.gatech.edu.     28800   IN      MX      10 mx5.gatech.edu.
    housing.gatech.edu.     28800   IN      MX      10 mx1.gatech.edu.
    housing.gatech.edu.     28800   IN      NS      dns3.gatech.edu.
    housing.gatech.edu.     28800   IN      NS      dns1.gatech.edu.
    housing.gatech.edu.     28800   IN      NS      sam.ipv6.gatech.edu.
    housing.gatech.edu.     28800   IN      NS      dns2.gatech.edu.
    housing.gatech.edu.     28800   IN      SOA     brahma5.dns.gatech.edu. hostmaster.gatech.edu. 333131986 10800 3600 2592000 60
    <snip>
    ;; ANSWER SECTION:
    www.housing.gatech.edu. 28061   IN      CNAME   gtwebapps.gatech.edu.
    <snip>
    ;; ANSWER SECTION:
    gtwebapps.gatech.edu.   27974   IN      CNAME   pella.acms.gatech.edu.
    <snip>
    ;; ANSWER SECTION:
    pella.acms.gatech.edu.  27959   IN      A       130.207.243.18
    <snip>
    

    And there's your answer.  They can't support the web server on housing.gatech.edu without having multiple A records pointing to the same host, and there's a school of thought that says that's a bad idea.



  • @tgape - Great analysis...

     Regarding " but this is a university that may have had internet services before there really was such thing as www."... It has been many years, but I am fairly confident that Georgia Tech was one of the nodes on DARPANet, which would have meant connectivity long before there was any idea for the Web...



  • @TheCPUWizard said:

    @tgape - Great analysis...

     Regarding " but this is a university that may have had internet services before there really was such thing as www."... It has been many years, but I am fairly confident that Georgia Tech was one of the nodes on DARPANet, which would have meant connectivity long before there was any idea for the Web...

     According to whois, the domain was registered in 1986.

     


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