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WWW vs. HTTP: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 7, 2023
www is a prefix for web addresses, while http is a protocol for transferring data over the web.

Key Differences

"www" is an abbreviation of "World Wide Web," which is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the internet. On the other hand, "http" stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, a foundation of any data exchange on the Web and a client-server protocol.
//www.example.com) and signifies that the browser should communicate over HTTP with the server.
While "www" hints at the fact that the information will be obtained from the interconnected system known as the World Wide Web, "http" specifies the protocol used to facilitate data transfer and communication between the client and server.
One might observe that "www" is often seen in web addresses but isn't mandatory to access most websites. "http," however, is necessary for a browser to understand how it should communicate with the server to retrieve the desired webpage.
It's notable that "www" primarily serves as a traditional norm without having technical implications on website accessibility today. In contrast, "http" underpins the web's functioning by defining how messages are formatted and transmitted.

Comparison Chart


Abbreviation for World Wide Web.
Stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol.

Usage in a URL

Typically used as a prefix to domain names.
Used to specify the protocol in a URL.

Technical Requirement

Not necessary for accessing most websites.
Necessary to direct browser-server communication.

Impact on Accessibility

Primarily a traditional norm, not affecting website access.
A foundational protocol affecting web page retrieval.

Relation to Internet

A system of interlinked documents accessed via the internet.
A protocol for transferring hypertext documents on the web.

WWW and HTTP Definitions


Www refers to the World Wide Web, a global information system.
Www.google.com is one of the most visited websites globally.


Http is a protocol for transferring hypertext documents across the internet.
Http://example.com directs the browser to access the site using the HTTP protocol.


Www is a prefix often used in URLs to indicate a web address.
Www.example.com is a common placeholder used in demonstrating domain usage.


Http can be considered less secure compared to its secure variant https.
Http://mysite.com does not encrypt data transfer, unlike https://mysite.com.


Www precedes the domain name in a web address.
You can visit the OpenAI website at www.openai.com.


Http is used at the beginning of URLs to define the communication method.
Http://www.google.com will access Google’s site using the HTTP protocol.


Www is sometimes omitted in modern web addresses without affecting access.
Both www.twitter.com and twitter.com will take you to Twitter’s website.


Http facilitates the retrieval of hypertext documents from the server.
Http://openai.com is a URL that uses HTTP to communicate with OpenAI's servers.


Www is not a protocol and does not impact the method of data transfer.
Using www.wikipedia.org or wikipedia.org usually leads to the same website.


Http defines how messages are formed and transmitted on the web.
Http://webpage.com informs the browser to use HTTP to request and receive data.


Alternative case form of WWWwhen used as a high-level qualifier in a website address


A protocol used to request and transmit files, especially webpages and webpage components, over the internet or other computer network.


Computer network consisting of a collection of internet sites that offer text and graphics and sound and animation resources through the hypertext transfer protocol


A protocol (utilizing TCP) to transfer hypertext requests and information between servers and browsers


What is the relationship between www and internet?

The www is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the internet.

What is the purpose of http?

HTTP, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol, is used to facilitate data transfer on the web.

What comes after www in a URL?

After www, the domain name of the website follows, e.g., www.example.com.

Why is http:// used in a URL?

"http://" is used to instruct the browser to communicate using the HTTP protocol.

Can I set up my website without using www?

Yes, a website can be set up and accessed without using the www prefix.

Can an http website be secure?

No, http does not provide security for data transfer; https should be used for secure communications.

Can http ensure a secure data transfer?

No, http itself is not secure; https is used for secure data transfer.

Is http only used for web browsing?

Primarily yes, http is largely used for transmitting hypermedia documents in web browsing.

Does www have a technical impact on web browsers?

No, www is largely a conventional prefix and does not impact how browsers retrieve web pages.

What role does http play in web development?

HTTP plays a vital role in web development by defining how messages are formatted and transmitted on the web.

Why do some organizations prefer using www in their web address?

Some organizations prefer using www for tradition, branding, or for handling subdomains and cookies in a specific way.

How does http work in a browser?

HTTP works by enabling communication between client (browser) and server using request-response cycles.

Can a website be accessed without typing www?

Yes, many websites can be accessed without typing www, depending on their configuration.

Is http visible in all URLs?

No, some browsers hide http in the address bar, but it’s used in the background.

Why was www initially used in web addresses?

"www" was used to identify addresses that belonged to the World Wide Web.

Does using www affect website SEO?

Using www or non-www does not inherently affect SEO, but consistency and proper redirection are crucial.

Is www necessary in a web address?

No, www is often not necessary to access a website.

What is the difference between http and https?

HTTPS includes a security layer (SSL/TLS) that HTTP lacks, encrypting data transfer.

What does www stand for?

"www" stands for World Wide Web.

Can a website be accessible via both http and https?

Yes, a website can be configured to be accessible via both http and https, though https is recommended for security.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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