A website may seem un-natural to you if it lacks the www. before your website name and as such you may want to add this to your default domain that you have acquired for your website or blog. In other words you may be seeking to transform for example: MyWebsite.com to www.MyWebsite.com. This may seem straightforward and easy but many users have come to realize that on attempting this there website ends up breaking or loading to a blank page and trust me this is not a happy feeling, so follow us as we show you how to successfully add www. to your WordPress blog and tackle potential issues that may arise in the process.
When should I add the www. to my domain?
You may add this at any time however the sooner you make the adjustment the smoother the transition. So if your blog is new that would be the ideal time, if its been around for a while things may take a little more time to transition and there might be some hiccups but it is not impossible.
Lets get started!
1. Login to the dashboard of your WordPress website.
2. Go to settings and then general.
3. Locate the following fields:
WordPress Address (URL): http://mywebsite.com
Site Address (URL): http://mywebsite.com
The mywebsite.com will be your websites or domain name and is used as an example here, your website may also include additional text after the // or the .com and indicates where WordPress is installed and your site Address URL. So be sure to copy the texts in both fields from the general setting as presented and paste them into a text or document editor e.g. Microsoft Word and save it for later you will most likely need it to replace the information if necessary (Very Import).
4. Replace the texts as shown bellow by adding www. for both fields after the //,note everything else should remain the same that includes if you have additional text on your address as some users might have:
WordPress Address (URL): http://www.mywebsite.com
Site Address (URL):http://www.mywebsite.com
5. Commit the changes by selecting: save changes.
6. You will be redirected to the WordPress log in control panel for Admin login once again and thats it, you can now visit your live website to see that the www. has been added to your domain name.
Set your www. domain as the preferred website.
You should add your website to Google Webmaster tools if you have not already done so and change your preferential domain to www.mywebsite.com. What this simply means is that you are telling Google that you would like your website to be treated as www.mywebsite.com instead of mywebsite.com and to forward all search results and references made to mywebsite.com will be treated as www.mywebsite.com.
To do this simply:
1. Log into Google webmaster tools.
2. Select your website by clicking on it, if you have never added your website before you may kill two birds with one stone by adding your blog to webmaster tools and create your XML Site Map and submitting it.
3. Click on the gear looking icon in the upper right hand section of the screen and select site settings.
4. Under preferred domain select: Display URL as www.mywebsite.com and that should be it.
Do not be alarmed if you see both www.mywebsite.com and mywebsite.com showing up in webmaster tools especially if you had added the original there before simply leave the extra domain alone and focus on the one with www., those who are adding there website for the first time especially after newly setting up there WordPress website and adding the newly adjusted www. domain will not have this issue.
Test your website.
You will need to test your website after attempting the above to see if all is well and that the transition went smoothly:
1. Attempt to access the website using original domain without the www. and then with the www., the domains should all redirect to the www.mywebsite.com and in this case all is well.
2. Attempt to access your website once again using another computer or a different web browser on the same computer. If there is an issue skip to the trouble shooting section below, if not continue.
3. Check if your WordPress blog is redirecting correctly using the 301 redirect that sends both www. and non www. URL’s to the the new www.mywebsite.com address by using this simple too: Redirect check SEO tool.
if everything is OK the website should return only one 200 (OK) response indicating there is no duplicate content, if there is more than one there is a duplicate issue on your website and the problem must be addressed. read on for the potential solutions.
Help!!!! When I Added the www. or do the above test there were Issues.
If you are here it means there is an issue and you are cursing the day you decided to add the www. to your website as you website is broken or not behaving correctly. My advise is to remain calm and take a breather and approach the problem logically, trust me when I say problem solving requires calm and peace of mind.Further more we have your back on this one.
Solution 1: My website breaks just after adding the www. to My Website.
This problem is most likely caused by you making an error in adding the www. to your domain, simply log back into your dashboard of your blog if it’s accessible. Go to setting and then general and replace the original WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) with the original address you had save in the earlier part of this guide to a Microsoft Word or text file.
Solution 2: If your blogs website dashboard is not accessible at all follow these steps:
1. Locate the welcome Email that Hostgator.com gave you when you first bought your domain and started to setup your blog or website.
2. Use the link to go to your control panel provided in the Email, it should be a link with hostgator.com in the name. Copy and paste the password code provided in the email,note this is not the same as your /wp-admin login.
3. Once you are logged in scroll down to the Database category and select phpmyadmin.
4. In the new window that opens select: Wp_option in the left panel.
5. Locate option_id 1 that is named siteurl and select edit, you should realize that this has has been changed based on your choice in the start of this guide. Reset the site URL to the default from the backup you made earlier to the Microsoft word document or simply type the original website URL before you modified it. Be sure to save and continue.
6. Locate option_id 36 or 37 that is called home that should be on page two of the current page (Select page two at the bottom of the current page) and change this to the original home URL from the Microsoft word file again or type your original website home address. Be sure to save the changes and exit.
7. You should now be able to access your blog or website on the original domain before the changes and login.
Solution 3: My website was working fine with the www. added and then it suddenly loads to a blank screen.
If everything was working OK and there was no duplicate content and then all of a sudden users of your website cannot access your homepage and any part of your website or just select pages then you may have an even more sever issue.
1. Try re-entering control panel and resetting your WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) to the default and then setting them back to the modified www. domain. Observe if the problem is fixed or if it simply temporarily get things back to normal and then you are back to the blank screen. You may have to wait a while to see the results so take a break and come back.
2. If the problem persists the issue might be a plugin that causing the issue in this case temporarily disable your plugins one by one until you find the culprit that breaks the your website instantly, as you disable plugins refresh your website in a new browser to see the effects in real time. I recommend that you target and disable these plugins first:
W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache
These plugins are very popular and can improve the load time of your website, they can also be the reason why the www. version of your domain is breaking, make sure only one is running if you have both and disable it especially if the one running is W3 total cache as this was the one causing my issue that was fixed once it was disabled it.
If the blank pages issue is solved and duplicate content warning disappears from Redirect check SEO tool when the W3 Total Cache is disabled congrats you have found the culprit. Simply attempt to dump the cache that has been accumulated by the plugin in the upper most point of the screen under performance and try reloading the plugin.If it still breaking the website enable the plugin once again and look for any errors at the activation screen such as:
Advanced super cache or Advance cache is not a part of W3 Total cache and should be removed- warning.
If you are seeing something like this, select remove and like me this should correct the issue and your domain should work with the www. added and not load to a blank page.
It is my hope that if other are having this and other major issues with adding www. to their domain name they can solve the problems through our guide and make the process a walk in the park. Readers if you are having this issue or a similar one let us know your situation and if our guide helped or share what you did differently.Trust me you might save a fellow blogger or website owners life so to speak. Looking forward to your comments, its great when you finally solve a big problem and share the love.
As usual if you are having issues feel free to post the details and I will lend a hand.