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Stop Saying WWW! June 10, 2008

Posted by federalist in Language.
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“WWW” should never be spoken. It stands for “World Wide Web,” but while easier to type it takes three times as many syllables to say “double-u double-u double-u.” WWW is neither an acronym (which must be a word) nor a spoken abbreviation (which presumably must be shorter than the thing that is abbreviated). It is an abomination.

Attempts to abbreviate the pronunciation of WWW have been valiant, and at times clever. Germans and other speakers of Eastern-European languages can say “veh-veh-veh” without any ambiguity. “Dub-dub-dub” has caught on in some English-speaking countries. “Sextuple-u” is an amusing improvement, but still one syllable too many.

In any case, “WWW” is obsolete. There was only a brief period in the early 1990’s, before the web and browsers were mainstream, when there could be any ambiguity regarding URL’s. Those days are long gone: You don’t open an Email application and specify that it send your messages using the SMTP protocol, or look up the MX record for the domain you’re Emailing to resolve the destination IP. So why do you open a web browser and specify HTTP, or prefix your URL with “www”? That’s the domain administrator’s job.

If you’re going to a web site, just enter the domain name (and any trailing URL data) in a web browser. Don’t worry about the protocol, and don’t put “www.” in front.  If the URL doesn’t work without a preceding “www.” then the site is misconfigured.  Tell the site administrators to join the 21st century:  Any competent domain admin will configure servers to automatically route internet requests to the correct service and port based on the protocol. If a domain is supposed to service HTTP requests, it should take them with or without a “www.” prefix. If a site demands secure HTTP the servers should forward plain HTTP requests to the secure URL and protocol.

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Comments»

1. betabug - June 24, 2008

The www prefix does not (and really never did) specify a protocol. At some time it did specify a subdomain (and behind that a server) that handled http. That was a time when HTTP was “that experimental cool new thing”.

Nowadays HTTP is the one big thing, so in principal I agree with you, www should disappear from domains. But browsers will still have to put http:// into the URL, as they *do* handle other protocols too. Most important there’s https, then the occasional ftp.

2. someone who hates people saying www - May 16, 2017

I am glad I am not the only one, I HATE when people say,

“DOUBLE-YOU DOUBLE-YOU DOUBLE-YOU DOT”, or even worse!!: ACH-TEE-TEE-PEE COLON FORWARD-SLASH DOUBLE-YOU DOUBLE-YOU DOUBLE-YOU DOT”

Like, SHUT THE F** UP YOU STUPID IGNORAMOUS JUST TELL ME THE F**ING DOMAIN NAME!!! DON’T YOU KNOW THAT WWW BECAME OBSOLETE LIKE 30 YEARS AGO???


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