December 01, 2000
A rebuttal from the peanut gallery.

Here is a well reasoned arguement as to why the www. is necessary. Of course he's wrong, but it's a good try.

I post it as he sent it. Too bad America's college students can't spell.

RE: December 1st posting at

Ohhh, youve touched on a topic that I have strong opinions about so I have to rant. I know that you know most of the following information, in fact I know you know ALL of the presented information but it's nessacary for me to fully demonstrate my point so bear with me. :-)

The www. in web addresses is NOT redundant. To demonstrate this let's disect a Universal Resource Locator (URL) shall we?

Take for example the following url:

This part of the URL tells whatever client you are using what protocol to use. In this case the client is told to use http (hyper text transfer protocol). This is important because the client or in this case web browser knows what language to speak to the remote computer with.
This is the address of the remote machine you are trying to reach stored in little-endian order. Since it is little-endian it would make sense to investigate this piece of the URL from right to left.

The .org reffers to the top level domain (TLD) this is used for a clasification defining what type of orginization this "domain" belongs to.
In this case it is a non profit orginization.

The .pusateri defines the domain. This is the name of your realm, kinda liek an office building or neighborhood. It defines a cluster of machines that are all associated with the same orginization.

FINALLY the www part defines which machine within that "neighborhood" or "domain" the client should contatct about this particular request. It's like the number on your house or the last for digits of your phone number. It is the last step in narrowing the search down to one particular computer. In this case it stands for World Wide Web, usually signaling that that computer is indeed a web server.

This part tells the client what file to ask for once it has contacted the appropriate computer. In this case it is "index.shtml" in the directory named "cruft".

As you can see demonstrated here the URL was desigined with flexability and scalability in mind. Each componet in the URL playing a important and key role. The www signifier is key in finding which computer is the one reciving the request. This identifier, also know as a hostname is a inergral part of the Doman Name Service (DNS) system which allows us to eaisly find computers on the network. Far easier than rembering numbers such as If it were not for hostnames we would have to rember shuch numbers.

Although the world wide web has come to represent much of the internet in recent years it is important to remember that the web is NOT the internet. It is only part of the bigger picture that is the internet as a whole. The
URL was desigined as a way to easily locate any resource anywhere on the internet and each part of it was carefully thought out and 100% nesscarray to finding the location of that resource. It's not just for web addresses, in fact it is worng to assume that the web is the only use for a URL. Let's not strip it of it's robustness just because people are too lazy to type 4 extra charters.

Just try finding the office of joe blow in one million square feet of cubicles without numbers or orginized designation of some sort. Getting rid of the www is the meta equivilent of having only one cube on every floor of that building. It would a waste of resources and throwing out the window the robustness and forethought that the fathers of DNS and the URL so thoughtfully built in for us to use. Let's not take that for granted.

That's my take on why it is fundumentaly wrong to take the www out of web address urls. The more standards compliant we can keep the web the better off we are. We have enough problems with web browsers con conforming to W3C HTML standards as it is. In fact Opera is best browser we've got as far as being standards compliant and roughly 1/3 of the websites out there are complealy unseable in Opera.

Standards compliancy is a real problem on the web, let's not encourge this kind of irresponsible behavior.

I hope I have swayed your opinion somewhat on this issue or at least presented a logical and resonable counter argument to your opinion. Feel free to post this message on cruft if you so desire.


Posted by michael at December 01, 2000 06:45 PM