A Simply Silly WordPress URL

I’m not sure why I noticed this protest sticker. It’s stuck to a lamp post on Patrick Street, Cork but maybe it was the typo in the URL that triggered my subconscious. One thing I can be certain of is that WordPress.org is not taking sides in any conflict of any sort! GPL software can be used by anyone just so long as they stick to the agreement with which they accepted the software.

Silly Stupid Typo

As expected, palestinesolidarityproject.wordpress.com points at an old blog of theirs as they have now moved to their own server at palestinesolidarityproject.org.

Glossing over the .org mistake for a minute, why do people still put the “www.” in front of long-winded urls? It gets stripped by WordPress.com anyway. Why not put “http://” there instead? Makes more sense to me. Three cheers for the no-www movement!

So, have you seen any glaring typos on posters, fliers, stickers or blogs that made you look twice? Today’s link post doesn’t count. I did that on purpose to make a point. Sure. 🙂

Author: Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Google+ and Twitter.

54 thoughts on “A Simply Silly WordPress URL”

  1. “Glossing over the .org mistake for a minute, why do people still put the “www.” in front of long-winded urls? ”

    I know of several hungarian sites where you will find nothing if you leave out the www.
    Silly, but true.

  2. “Why not put “http://” there instead?”

    Simple: www. takes up less space in print (or screen space or wherever else you display it). Plus, www. lets them know it is a website without it looking “complicated” to people. Remember, grandparents and idiots and other people who might need things simplified use the internet too. Many people will actually type http:// into their browsers. I say make a movement for no http:// and for the use of www.!

  3. “[W]hy do people still put the “www.” in front of long-winded urls?”

    Because Joe Non-techie still thinks “www.” means “website”. Leave it off and they’ll try to type it into their email program or something.

    I’m the tech guy for my company. Just last week I was walking various people through getting onto a new subdomain on our website (a file repository). WITHOUT EXCEPTION, when I told them to go to “files.ourcompanysite.com” they typed “www.files.ourcompanysite.com”.

    We’re geeks. It’s obvious to us. It is NOT obvious to non-geeks. One of the people in the story above is relatively tech-savvy. He can install software on his own, set up an email account, and so forth — no problem. He _still_ added the “www”.

  4. Ah, the ‘www.’ on a sub domain strikes again, Blogspotters do the same. Although, having said that, I do think your average domain address looks more symmetrical with the www.

  5. My banks website throws a “page not found” when you leave out the www. I dont know if that down to an issue with security certificates or something…

  6. Chris – I know the feeling. I went to a UK photography site recently and when I left out the www. bit all I got was a permission denied message.

    Stephen – unfortunately I’ve seen the same. Friends who work in IT still automatically put in the www prefix, even when I don’t say it myself. It’s weird.

    What bugs me about wordpress.com urls with the www prefix is that the blogs redirect to the no-www url so it would be hoped that people would realise that, “Oh! that isn’t needed!” But they don’t get it. I’m changing my email domain to email.ocaoimh.ie 🙂

  7. re: no-www: On shared hosting where you don’t have access to modify the apache config for your vhost, just use mod_rewrite:
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.example.com$ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://example.com/$1 [R=301,L]

    That’ll usually also ensure higher ranking on sites, since they’re not finding “duplicated content”.

    re: domain typos:
    Sometime then don;t even need a typo to be the pun of the joe:
    Pen Island resorts: PenisLand.com
    Experts Exchance: ExpertSexChange.com

  8. Maybe Palestinians are too busy being oppressed to worry about http and http://www...

    Anyway, I know of several sites where I have to add the www to a subdomain. One of them is my municipality’s information website. The same for one of my banks.

    Maybe people actually name the folders of their subdomains ‘www.subdomain’?

  9. Coco,

    Speaking as a Palestinian geek, while being oppressed certainly isn’t as much as it used to be, it is not an excuse for making amateur mistakes. From a communications perspective it is this kind of amateurish, almost cartoonish behavior that assists the perception that Palestinians don’t know what they are doing.

    From a more global perspective I think it is too easy to chuck mistakes like these into the geek/not-geek dichotomy. Easy and lazy. Learning to use computers properly, as well as computer terminology, is a sign of literacy and education. As an organization dealing with the wider world it is incumbent that the organization educates itself and ensures that it remains literate in a technical world.

  10. “Because Joe Non-techie still thinks “www.” means “website”….We’re geeks. It’s obvious to us [that www is deprecated]. It is NOT obvious to non-geeks. “

    Excellent insight, Stephen R! See, with us non-geeks, it’s a semantic thing. . . .

    So I’m still on the fence regarding pro- or anti- WWW.

  11. I saw a poster in the lobby of my college dorm yesterday advertising a career panal. Yes, panal. It said it twice. And this was no hand-written poster…

    yeah it’s a boring sticker and they could have made it better by removing the ‘www’ or adding a ‘.’ after …solidarity for clarity 😛

    :: efrain

  13. There was an interview with the guy who essentially invented the Web as the push we know it (the main guy… I forget his name). When the interviewer asked him if there was anything he would change if he could go back and start again, he said, “get rid of the ‘www’ — it’s confusing and unnecessary.”

    That being said — Since we DO have it, I’m on the fence about eliminating it. People DO recognize it as indicating the Web, and it’s a lot cleaner and simpler than http://, so in a way I like the idea of advertising a website as http://www.example.com instead of http://example.com.

    People _instantly_ recognize text beginning with “www.” as being a web site address. Not so much the “http://”

    Go with what people understand. Heck, I know a guy who took six months to stop typing the web address he wanted into the Google search. Heh… Two pages every time he wanted to go to a web site — the Google search, and then clicking the URL that inevitably came up on the top of the Google search.

  14. “From a more global perspective I think it is too easy to chuck mistakes like these into the geek/not-geek dichotomy. Easy and lazy. Learning to use computers properly, as well as computer terminology, is a sign of literacy and education”

    Eh. Some people say an ability to quote Proust is “a sign of literacy and education”. When it comes to software, I agree with the Steve Jobs philosophy: If you need a manual, the software designer did something wrong.

    This is a hard concept for many geeks to grasp: a lot of folks out there don’t even realize that there are browsers other than Internet Explorer — AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Heck, a lot of people wouldn’t even recognize the work “browser” — to them IE _is_ “the Internet”.

    Personally I think the only thing that really needs to be done regarding “www” is that site designers need to be educated to _make a decision_ and pick WITH or WITHOUT. Then set up their server so that requests to one auto-redirects to the other (e.g. http://www.example.com 301s to example.com, or vice-versa). There are way to many sites out there, including Major ones like Fedex.com, that have “www” issues.

    (At fedex.com, if you don’t type the “www.” you’ll still get the website, but you’ll get an SSL warning when you try to login.)

  15. I access web sites and FTP sites of small companies to get copy/audio/scripts for my work.

    Some folks don’t have their web content properly allocated under the “www” directories, so if you leave it OFF – you don’t get their site.

    I’m not totally web savvy – but I think I explained that right.

  16. Websites that require “www” aren’t configured correctly and they get what they deserve if they lose visitors. 😛
    I totally hate dealing with the www, however, have been forced to put it on my business cards and on our tv program just because people just plain don’t get it otherwise.

    Great find, by the way 🙂

  17. I hate to reiterate but the tech guys are right, a lot of non-tech savvy people think you MUST put the www in for the address to work. I’ve worked with people of all ages in all kinds of settings from offices to retail and it’s almost universal among certain groups of people. If I had to guess, I’d say that that mentality won’t start to really go away until the children who have always had the internet in their lives become adults.

  18. Glossing over the .org mistake for a minute, why do people still put the “www.” in front of long-winded urls?

    Where I am, the government sites require the ‘www’ subdomain, otherwise the servers simply return 404s. I guess it’s because the servers think ‘edu.sg’ or ‘gov.sg’ are second-level domains themselves unless I prepend the ‘www’ subdomain.

  19. Hmmm… I am sort of a fence-sitter in the no-www/yes-www movement. For my own domains I prefer using the www. prefix because it makes the URL immediately recognizable as a URL (I don’t usually use the http://) to everybody, geek and non-geek alike. However for sub-domains I leave out the www. Somehow that just feels right 🙂

  20. I subscribed to this post earlier but now I’m getting subscription emails for every post and the unsubscribe link only loads your front page. Could you please unsubscribe me? Thanks

  21. Valerie – sorry about that. It’s a bug in the “subscribe to comments” plugin. There’s an unsubscribe link on each email you received, but I think I’ll have a go at fixing it.

  22. while we’re on the subject of www or http, let me say that modern browsers take the omission of www and/or http to be obvious. so if i type “google.com” it goes to the said website, automagically understanding it IS a website on the world wide web that IS accessed by Hyper-Text-Transfer-Protocol.

    i motion to just drop BOTH www and http, unless the evolution of the internet calls for some weird prefix or other.

  23. Donncha, I’m with you on the no-www. My Uni doesn’t even have a routable IP for the non-www version of their DNS name. It irks me even more that a good few of their subdomains *also* require a www! I die a little inside when I see http://www.foo.bar.example.com. I only ever leave on the www version if I’m doing a website for someone else and they specifically ask me to.

  24. I use the www on my first blog and don’t on the second one. The first one has a permanent redirect for non-www to www and the other one has it the other way around. I make make the switcheroo on the first blog later on, but I’m curious what it’ll do to my kabillion backlinks. (yeah, right).

  25. Typos:

    I often see webadresses in the yellow pages that have spaces in them
    Another common mistake is to leave out the dot between www and the actual address

    ebay.co.uk keeps sending me a payment reminder, where the enclosed URL points to ebay.uk, which does not exist. When trying to alert ebay about that typo, one gets only an unfriendly message.

  26. Ooops! I’m afraid I’m one of the www offenders, just out of habit I guess. I think back in the early days, like early ’90s, it was required and I just haven’t broken the habit … or maybe I was wrong even then. anyway, lesson learned.

  27. I say ditch both the www and http://

    www does tell Microsoft Word and various other programs that you are typing a web address, but http:// is gibberish to most people and all geeks have had trouble with it over the phone, hence the big in joke in the name of http://slashdot.org (give that one to your granny over the phone).

    Anything with an @ is an email address. How elegant is that?

    Any domain name without a http:// in any browser I’ve used defaults to http:// so… to hell with it.

    I’m as fond of boycotting things as the next person (BTW Donncha didn’t mention that this concept originated in Ireland so the Corkonians are following a grand tradition) but most computers would stop working if there were no Israeli components. Jaffa oranges, however, is quite doable. I always buy Spanish oranges which have less far to travel and are from within the EU. In a few years the boys in Cork will be able to grow their own.

    Meanwhile, I see the Greenpeace fascists are demanding that the Irish pass a law to ban conventional lightbulbs


    I voted to bury this on Digg. Getting up people’s noses is the wrong way to bring about change. Surely shooting people who use the wrong lightbulbs would be the more traditional Irish solution?

  28. One of my sites is dashdotslash.org .. That’s even hard to type without thinking about it 🙂

    BTW – I don’t agree with the sentiment of the sticker. I have a lot of sympathy for both Israel and Palestine. They’re so interconnected that boycotting one State will hurt the other.

  29. You’d think that people wouldn’t be bothered by 4 extra characters on a really long URL, but it does seem to bother them! Makes me glad my URL is nice and small.

    I can’t really say if I’m pro-www or anti-www, because I like to use the www on a primary site, and not use the www on any subdomain.

    Still, all in all, they don’t have any of those stuff stuck up around Glasnevin and Dunboyne 😀

  30. In some non-english parts of the world, www is much easier to identify than http, which looks like a word. I’d assume that is the case with the oppressed, poor Palestinians that the advertiser wanted to reach. Poor, oppressed terrorists that they are.

  31. I have used wordpress for about a year and have stayed with it due to its simplicity. Over the year I have had data wiped out because WordPress’s plugin releases are not quality checked to ensure there is no adverse effect to users. The photo you used is offensive as I am a big supporter of Israel and have been to Israel on many occassions. Furthermore it has made me re-think my use of WordPress and it has made me to consider using another blogging platform. Finally in my opinion you could have used a less offensive photo and one that was not politically sensitive to illustrate your point. Anyone who supports the Palestinians, especially Hamas, does not need my patronage or talents.

  32. It’s interesting though. I noticed when I go to google.com/adsense I get a certificate error. So to save myself from having to click on the stupid certificate message, I just add www. But any other times I just leave out the www. It saves some typing.

  33. I always type http://www.blah.com, because sometimes if I only type www it doesn’t work (many subdomains for example), and if I only type http:// then sometimes I get these weird parked domain pages…I’m not exactly sure of the reason.

    Either way, its safer to type both. But eventually they should just stop typing anything in front. Like, assume http.

  34. “Just to be clear, that sticker was probably put up by an Irish person so amateurish behaviour is very widespread and not restricted to one nationality”

    Y’know, that kind of thing makes my Irish blood boil. Fortunately, that just serves to burn off the alcohol. 😉

    Brad —

    “The photo you used is offensive…. [I]t has made me re-think my use of WordPress….”

    You’re rethinking your use of WordPress because somebody you don’t like uses WordPress????

    Just a guess, but Hamas probably uses Microsoft Word, too. I’m just sayin’.

  35. If it wasn’t for your post showing up in the dashboard, I would have still been blissfully aware of the http://no-www.org website… thankfully I had nothing to do at work (the one that pays the bills), so I’m now a Class B as well! Thanks!

  36. I think www. it ok as it serves as a visual clue. How ever I normally redirect away from it. Particly if you have a “unnormal” TLD like .ie there is nothing to make it clear it is a domain name.

Leave a Reply