[thelist] www prefix is it necessary?

Scott Dexter dexilalolai at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 24 16:10:21 CST 2005

--- Paul Bennett <Paul.Bennett at eyede.com> wrote:

> my experience tells me that sites will not always work without the
> www.
> It's obviously some shonky dns thing (feel free to chime-in w exact
> technical details here)

umm, okay :)

Two things need to be set up, one may not apply:

1) The company/person/organization's DNS has to be configured to
respond to the query for the domain (e.g. company.com) with the
address of the web server

2) --optional-- The web server has to be configured to serve up the
site to the host header "company.com". Why is this optional? If your
webserver has only one site on it, and responds based on IP address
(your most basic, default install. At least in MS world. Apache may
require this config tweak regardless), you don't have to do anything
else, it will respond to any request thrown at it. If you have
multiple sites on the same server, and have split up traffic using
host headers, you will have to add this entry into the site's config.
As I mentioned, Apache may require this step regardless of how many
sites you have on the box.

Now, browsers (IE, most notably, that I've noticed) try to help out
Grandma Sally and automagically add in the "www" prefix. Heck,
doesn't it also add a ".com" if missing? At any rate, if you come
across a site that responds to "www.company.com" and not
"company.com" it's because they haven't done the DNS/web server
tweaking to complete it. And in this post-bubble-burst Internet era,
it should be part of due diligence, and any webmaster worth his/her
salt will have it set up without thinking too much about it.

Yes, I turned a three sentence explination into a lengthy ramble.
I've always been guilty of this. Sorry :)


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