How to Easily Redirect WWW to Non-WWW Version of Your Website - Step by Step Guide

Setting up a redirect from the WWW version to the non-WWW version of your website, or vice versa, is more than just a preference; it's a critical decision that impacts the technical performance, SEO, and user experience of your site. One practical reason for implementing such redirects is to address issues with SSL certificate recognition.

For example, a subdomain like might not receive an SSL certificate due to its configuration, leading to security warnings that deter visitors or decision-makers for your staging website review. This scenario underscores the importance of ensuring that both WWW and non-WWW versions of your domain are properly redirected to avoid such pitfalls.

Another example might be platform-specific requirements. Platforms like HubSpot, which offers a Content Management System (CMS) for digital marketing and website management, may require setting up a specific redirect configuration to fully utilize their services.

This is not just about adhering to technical requirements; it's about ensuring seamless integration and functionality across services that are vital to your online presence. Redirects, therefore, serve as a foundational aspect of website setup that supports broader digital marketing strategies and tools, making them indispensable in today’s interconnected digital ecosystem.

In this article, we will cover the essential steps and considerations for setting up a redirect from the WWW to the non-WWW version of your website or vice versa. From understanding the technical nuances of SSL certificates and configuring DNS settings to implementing changes in your web server's configuration files, we aim to provide a comprehensive guide.

Whether you're looking to secure your website, meet platform-specific requirements like those of HubSpot's CMS, or simply streamline your site's URL structure for better SEO and user experience, this article will walk you through the process, ensuring you have all the information needed to make informed decisions and execute the changes smoothly.

Understanding the Importance of WWW vs. Non-WWW Redirection

In the digital age, the consistency of your website’s URL is pivotal. While the difference between WWW and non-WWW URLs (such as vs. might seem negligible, it holds significant weight in terms of SEO, user experience, and the technical health of your website. Redirecting from WWW to non-WWW or vice versa ensures your website maintains a canonical URL structure, which is crucial for search engines and user navigation.

Technical Implications of SSL Certificates

One of the practical reasons to set up a redirect is the issue of SSL certificates. A subdomain like might encounter problems receiving an SSL certificate, leading to security warnings that could deter visitors. Ensuring that both WWW and non-WWW versions of your domain are properly redirected to the secure version (https) can prevent these issues, creating a safer environment for your visitors​.

Platform-Specific Requirements

Certain platforms, such as HubSpot, require specific redirect configurations to utilize their CMS effectively. For instance, redirecting non-www URLs to www URLs or the opposite might be a prerequisite for integrating your website with their services, underlining the importance of understanding how to configure these redirects properly.

SEO and User Experience

Choosing to redirect WWW to non-WWW or the other way around is not just a technical decision but an SEO strategy. Search engines view these as two separate versions of your site, which can dilute your website’s search equity. By implementing a 301 redirect, you consolidate your website’s authority to one version, boosting your SEO efforts. Moreover, a consistent URL structure enhances user experience by preventing confusion and ensuring your site is easily accessible.

How to Decide Between WWW and Non-WWW

The decision to use WWW or non-WWW in your website’s URL should be informed by technical, aesthetic, and functional considerations. Historically, WWW was used to indicate that a website was part of the World Wide Web, but today it’s largely a matter of preference. However, it’s essential to consider factors like SSL certificate setup ease, subdomain management, and platform requirements when making your choice​.

Here at Zealous Sites, we prefer no WWW for our customers who use WordPress websites. And for any customer on HubSpot, we use the WWW.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll delve into the technical process of setting up these redirects, highlighting the importance of .htaccess rules, DNS configurations, and the steps to ensure a smooth redirection process. Whether you’re a seasoned website owner looking to refine your site’s URL structure or new to the world of web development, understanding how to redirect one version of the URL to another is a crucial skill in managing a successful online presence.

Bonus Reading:

Step-by-Step Redirection Guide

Setting up a redirect from the WWW to the non-WWW version of your website, or vice versa, involves a series of steps that cater to different aspects of your site's setup, including DNS configurations, server settings, and ensuring a seamless user experience. Let’s break down these steps to guide you through the redirection process.

 Preparing for Redirection

  1. Decide on Your Preferred Domain Structure: Before diving into the technicalities, decide whether you want your site to appear with WWW or without it. This decision influences not just the aesthetic aspect of your URL but also how search engines index your site. Remember, consistency is key to maintaining your site's SEO integrity.
  2. Backup Your Website: Always start with backing up your website, especially the .htaccess file or Nginx server blocks if you're working on a server level. A simple mistake in editing these files can make your site inaccessible, so having a backup ensures you can restore your site to its original state if needed.

Editing the .htaccess File for Apache Servers

  1. Access Your .htaccess File: Locate your .htaccess file in the root directory of your website. If you’re using a hosting control panel like cPanel, you can access it through the File Manager. For sites hosted on servers without a control panel, FTP clients can be used to access the file.
  2. Implement the Redirect Rule: To redirect non-WWW to WWW or vice versa, you'll need to add specific lines of code to your .htaccess file. Here's an example for redirecting non-WWW to WWW:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=301,L]

And for WWW to non-WWW:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.(.+)$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^ http://%1%{REQUEST_URI} [R=301,L]

These rules instruct the server to permanently redirect all requests to the chosen version of your domain using a 301 redirect, which is SEO-friendly and ensures that search engines and browsers treat the redirect as permanent.

Configuring DNS Records

  1. Update DNS Settings: Adjust your DNS settings to ensure that both the WWW and non-WWW versions of your domain point to your website. This typically involves configuring A records for both versions or setting a CNAME record for one version to point to the other.

Redirection for Nginx Servers

For websites hosted on Nginx servers, the redirection process differs slightly from Apache servers. Instead of using a .htaccess file, you'll need to edit the server block configuration files. Here’s how you can redirect WWW to non-WWW in Nginx:

server {
    return 301 $scheme://$request_uri;

And to redirect non-WWW to WWW:

server {
    return 301 $scheme://$request_uri;

Ensure to replace `` with your actual domain name. These configurations tell Nginx to redirect all traffic from one version of the domain to the other, preserving the full request URI.

Testing and Verification

After implementing your redirects, it's crucial to test them thoroughly to ensure they work as expected. Use tools like HTTP status code checkers to verify that your redirects return a 301 status code, indicating a permanent redirect. Additionally, browsing your website in incognito mode can help you see the redirects in action without being influenced by cached versions of your site.

By carefully following these steps, you can effectively redirect WWW to non-WWW or vice versa, consolidating your domain's SEO strength and improving user experience. Always remember to monitor your site's performance post-implementation to catch any unforeseen issues early.

Stay tuned for the next section, where we’ll dive into advanced considerations and how to handle specific scenarios that might arise during or after setting up your redirects.

Troubleshooting Common Redirection Issues

Even with careful setup, redirection from WWW to non-WWW (or vice versa) can sometimes lead to issues that affect your website's accessibility and performance. Here are some common problems and how to address them, drawing on guidance from resources like Rank Math.

Infinite Redirect Loops

One of the most frequent issues encountered is the infinite redirect loop, where the website continuously redirects between WWW and non-WWW versions, never settling on one. This can be caused by conflicting redirection rules in your .htaccess file or server configuration. To resolve this, ensure that you have a clear, singular rule for redirection and no conflicting rules that might cause the server to bounce between states. Double-check the syntax and logic of your .htaccess rules to make sure they correctly implement your preferred domain structure​.

SSL Certificate Errors

If your website is set to redirect to the HTTPS version but the SSL certificate is not correctly configured for both WWW and non-WWW versions, visitors might encounter security warnings. This issue typically arises when the SSL certificate does not cover both versions of the domain. To fix this, you might need to adjust your SSL certificate configuration to ensure it encompasses both versions of your domain, or acquire a certificate that automatically covers both​.

DNS Configuration Mistakes

Improper DNS settings can also lead to redirection errors. If the DNS records for your WWW and non-WWW versions do not correctly point to your server, or if there's a delay in DNS propagation, your redirects might not work as intended. Verify that your DNS records are correctly set up for both versions of your domain and give them some time to propagate across the internet​​.

Plugin or Theme Conflicts

For WordPress users, plugin or theme conflicts can sometimes interfere with redirects. If you're using a plugin to manage redirects or a security plugin that includes redirection features, ensure that these settings are correctly configured and not conflicting with your manual .htaccess rules. Deactivating plugins one by one and testing your site's behavior can help identify if a specific plugin is the source of the issue.

By methodically checking these areas, you can diagnose and resolve most common redirection issues, ensuring your site reliably uses your preferred WWW or non-WWW domain structure. For more detailed troubleshooting advice and solutions, visiting the Rank Math guide provides an excellent resource: How to Redirect WWW URLs to Non-WWW.

Advanced Considerations and Conclusion

Redirecting in WordPress Using Plugins

Redirecting URLs from WWW to non-WWW or vice versa can be simplified significantly by using plugins, especially within the WordPress ecosystem. Plugins like Redirection or Simple 301 Redirects offer an intuitive interface for managing redirects without the need to edit .htaccess files directly. These tools allow website owners to implement and manage redirects efficiently, providing features like conditional redirects, logging, and monitoring of 404 errors. By using such plugins, even those without technical expertise can handle complex redirection scenarios, ensuring their WordPress website adheres to the preferred domain structure while minimizing the potential for errors​.

Updating URLs in Content and Database

After implementing a site-wide redirect, it's crucial to update internal links within your content and database to reflect the new preferred domain structure. This step prevents unnecessary redirects, which can slow down your site and negatively impact user experience and SEO. WordPress plugins like Better Search Replace can automate this process, allowing you to search for the old domain (WWW or non-WWW) and replace it with the new one across all posts, pages, and options in your database. This ensures consistency across your site, enhancing performance and maintaining SEO strength by eliminating internal redirect chains.

Monitoring and Maintaining Redirection

Once redirection is in place, ongoing monitoring is essential to ensure everything continues to work as intended. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console can help track your site's performance and identify potential issues with redirects, such as increased bounce rates or crawl errors. Paying attention to these metrics allows you to catch and correct any problems quickly, ensuring that your redirection setup continues to support your site's SEO and user experience goals effectively.

In Conclusion

In navigating the digital landscape of today’s internet, the decision between utilizing a WWW or non-WWW URL structure for your website emerges as more than a trivial choice; it’s a strategic move with deep implications for your online presence. This guide has traversed the technical terrains of DNS configurations, .htaccess and server block adjustments, and the pivotal role of SSL certificates, aiming to arm you with the knowledge necessary for making informed decisions about your website’s domain structure.

The journey through setting up redirects, whether from WWW to non-WWW or the inverse, is underscored by the objective to enhance your site’s SEO performance, bolster security, and provide a seamless user experience. By embracing plugins for WordPress users or diving into the intricacies of manual redirect configurations, you've seen how these actions contribute to a robust online presence, ensuring your website remains consistent, accessible, and optimized for search engines and visitors alike.

As we conclude, remember that the digital world is ever-evolving, and maintaining vigilance over your website’s redirection setup is crucial. Regular monitoring and updates ensure that your chosen domain structure continues to serve your site’s objectives, adapting to new SEO practices, technological advancements, and user expectations.

The path to mastering your website’s domain presence is ongoing, but with the insights and tools shared in this guide, you’re well-equipped to navigate it with confidence. May your site’s journey from WWW to non-WWW (or vice versa) mark the beginning of a refined, more search-engine-friendly, and user-centric online experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my site redirecting to www?

Your site might automatically redirect to the WWW version due to your web server's configuration or DNS settings. This can occur if your website is set up to favor the WWW version as the canonical URL, either through specific rules in your server's .htaccess file (for Apache servers) or server block configurations (for Nginx servers). Web hosting platforms often have settings that dictate this behavior, aiming to maintain consistency with the chosen domain structure.

If your website is WordPress, check your .htaccess file to see if there's a redirect set up there. If you've recently changed the domain structure an old .htaccess file might be causing you some troubles. 

Is it better to use www or non-www?

Choosing between WWW and non-WWW is largely a matter of personal preference, but there are technical considerations to keep in mind. Using WWW can be beneficial for managing cookies, CDN setups, and distinguishing between different types of traffic, as it technically allows for more flexibility with DNS, potentially aiding in load balancing and website performance. On the other hand, non-WWW domains are shorter, cleaner, and have become more popular for branding purposes.

Both versions are equally effective from an SEO standpoint, as long as you consistently use one version and correctly set up redirects from one to the other.

How do I stop my website from redirecting?

To stop your website from redirecting from non-WWW to WWW (or vice versa), you'll need to adjust your website's server configuration. This involves editing the .htaccess file on Apache servers or the server block configuration files on Nginx servers to remove or modify the redirection rules. If you're using a content management system like WordPress, you might also need to check if any plugins or settings within your CMS are enforcing these redirects.

Additionally, ensure your DNS settings do not automatically enforce a particular version of your domain by default.

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