Before we explain what a WWW Resolve is, let’s first see what a Redirect command is. A redirect is a serverside command that points search engines and users from one URL towards another. Redirects can be used in many situations, such as when a URL is no longer valid and has been replaced with a new one. Or when a site uses an SSL certificate, redirecting from http://example.com to https://example.com. In this situation, a WWW resolve is a redirect command that enables users to find a site whether they type the URL with “www.” in front of the domain name, or without. For example, if we type www.wiredelta.com or wiredelta.com, we should end up on the same website.
To check if a site has implemented the WWW Resolve redirect, web owners can simply use a website analysis tool. Or check if a site uses proper redirect by looking at the link’s format once the page is fully loaded. A proper WWW Resolve should always show the link without www. no matter what the user typed in initially.
Why implement Redirect or WWW Resolve
The problem is that, without a WWW Resolve, or redirect, Google treats this as two separate sites when indexing and raking them, even though they lead to the same place or website. Therefore, Google will then categorize the content as duplicate which might indirectly affect your ranking.
In the past, duplicated content used to be penalized by reducing the site’s ranking. However, when Google finds two pages with the same duplicated content now, it simply marks one as the original and the second as a copy. The “original” page, or the first lucky one to get crawled and indexed, gets raked. The other one doesn’t, hence it does not directly impact the SEO, but you also don’t get SEO points for that page.
So, there are two issues here – lack of consistency and a chance of not ranking properly on Google. The first comes from users and the way they type URLs. In fact, it is estimated that half of your users will use www.example.com, and the other help will type just example.com. And this is bad for analytics, as half of your traffic will go one way and the other the opposite way. But as mentioned above, your indexing will suffer as well, as one of your pages will get ranked and the other won’t. And the worst part is that you, as a web owner or webmaster, have little to no control over which pages get indexed.
How WWW Resolve or redirect works
When users want to open a website, the browser sends a request to the server and the server usually responds by allowing the browser to access and load the website. In the redirect situation, instead of the browser loading a page, it receives a status code from the server. Once the browser receives the code, it makes a second request, and then it is granted access to the proper website. In simple terms, imagine you are going to a store and it has two entrances, but one of them has a sign in the window saying “use the other door”. Technically speaking both doors would lead you inside the store, but only one of them actually grants you access.
So, just like the sign in the window, a www resolve or redirect is a command stored in the server that will force the users and Google bots to “use the correct door”.
How to configure a www resolve or redirect
Since the WWW Resolve is a serverside command, you – or rather your sysadmin – need to configure the individual files in the server by typing the code in the screenshot below. it is not a complicated command, and once you’ve added that code, you should be good to go.
Once that is done, Google and other search engines should recognize it immediately and respond appropriately. Also, the issue with duplicated content should be fixed as well. And now, when users visit you www.example.com site, they will be redirected automatically to example.com within milliseconds.