Removing the “www” sub-domain in Apache

The consensus is clear. You don’t like websites that force you to use the “www” sub-domain, making everyone type rather than just So how do you fix it? With Apache, the world’s most popular web server software, it’s easy.

There’s three things to do.

  1. Make sure you have DNS entries to provide an IP address for both the domain itself and the www sub-domain.
  2. Make sure you have Apache configured to serve out your website to both of those domains.
  3. (Optional) Add a URL re-writing rule so that whichever way users type the website address, their browser will always display your preferred default, with or without the www.

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Requiring the “www” sub-domain in 2011? Really?

I’m currently researching some websites for a story I’m writing, and I’m amazed that one of the sites requires you to specify the “www” sub-domain or it just won’t work. “WTF? It’s 2011,” I thought. But am I wrong?

I decided to ask on Twitter. “How would you describe a business whose website demands that you use the ‘www’ sub-domain or it won’t work?” Here’s the first responses I got.

Ignorant. Fucking idiots. Sub Standard? Lame. Misconfigured. My work place *sigh* Partying like it was 1999. In need of some DNS sysadmining? Antiquated. One that doesn’t know how to configure their services properly. Pedantic. Woefully Witless Website? DNS-illiterate? Paying for poor advice, choosing inadequate consultants. One that needs help addressing user behaviour.

Well that seems fairly clear…

I had to stop looking after that, my question generated far more responses that I’d expected and the consensus was obvious pretty damn fast.

One person described it as a cPanel-based business, but I disagree. I use the cPanel web hosting control panel at Prussia.Net, and by default it sets up websites to work both with and without the “www”.

Another said he was about to go on a rant about but they’ve finally fixed it. As has Australia Post at

Are there any particularly annoying examples of this phenomenon?

Links for 11 March 2009 through 18 March 2009

Stilgherrian’s links for 11 March 2009 through 18 March 2009, posted after considerable delay in some cases: