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November 12, 2005 12:03 AM

Broken: 'www' abbreviation

Karma Kanic forwards a comment he spotted on craigslist:

The abbreviation 'www' is used as shorthand for 'world wide web'. 'www' has nine syllables. 'world wide web' has three.


keyword 'shorthand'. as in, www is a lot faster to write/type. not really broken, but interesting to consider.

Posted by: gmangw at November 12, 2005 12:22 AM

It's proper pronounciation, "Dubadubadub" has only five syllables. Still longer than "World Wide Web", but more fun to say.

Posted by: Mark at November 12, 2005 12:39 AM

I believe the quote is credited to the late Douglas Adams (of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" fame) from his posthumous "Salmon of Doubt" book:

"And now we have the World Wide Web, the only thing I can think of whose shortened form takes three times longer to say than what it's short for."

Posted by: Darrell at November 12, 2005 02:37 AM

Am I the only one that hates when people say "Dubya Dubya insertwebsitehere dot com." They miss the "w dot"

Posted by: Lukesed at November 12, 2005 07:55 AM

The abbrieviation takes 3/14 the time to type, so it's not that broken, but interesting to thinkg about anyway

Posted by: ;; at November 12, 2005 08:49 AM

well they are getting rid of it anyhow, so does it matter one way or another?

Posted by: Victor Z at November 12, 2005 09:51 AM

Although 3/14 may be correct, it would have been quicker to just round it up to 1/5 of the time. That would have saved you 1/4 of the time.

Posted by: Square Root at November 12, 2005 09:57 AM

This one's giving me a headache.

Posted by: ambrocked at November 12, 2005 10:03 AM


3 syllables

Posted by: DaveC426913 at November 12, 2005 10:23 AM

Yep. That's what we say at my company - dubdubdub. I usually shorten it even further to zero - don't say it at all! URL's almost always work without the www. Ex. Go to

Posted by: Bob L at November 12, 2005 11:53 AM

I use "sextuple-u."

Posted by: fluffy at November 12, 2005 04:31 PM

Congrats on being only 10 years past when that comment was first made

Posted by: david at November 12, 2005 05:51 PM

The phrase 'www' is not broken, as it is intended to save time when typing, not speaking.

In general, the 'www' subdomain is broken, as it serves no useful purpose, and is usually unnecessary. When it is required by a website, it is redundant, as it simply restates the use of HTTP on Port 80, which is assumed by browsers in the first place.

Basically, the need to indicate the use of actual letters is not broken, but the use of those letters should never be necessary in the first place.

[Read more at:]

Posted by: Joey at November 12, 2005 06:49 PM

Poissonally, I say "wuh-wuh-wuh" instead of "dub-dub-dub", based on the "A Fish Called Wanda" line: "oh, it's got a 'wuh' for "Wendy"!"

Posted by: Maggie at November 13, 2005 12:09 AM

I swear I've typed in websites directly and I'd get a 404, but when I would put the www. into it, then the site would come up. I wish I could think of an example of this right now, but I cant :(

Posted by: noname at November 13, 2005 08:12 AM

Well, some websites require a www, some require no www, and some don't care. All the more reason to remove it.

Posted by: Fuzzy at November 13, 2005 09:15 AM

I pronounce 'www' as 'trip-dub'.

Posted by: ligpatin at November 13, 2005 03:12 PM

Instead of typing WWW. nameofwebsite .COM, try nameofwebsite ctrl + enter. It saves 7 keystrokes.

Posted by: wwwwwwwwwwww at November 13, 2005 09:23 PM

This broken thing is being addressed. Check out I just updated my site to silently redirect users to instead of them having to use www all the time.

Everybody else should do it too! No more w's!

Posted by: Nathan Kitchen at November 14, 2005 07:37 AM

>>In general, the 'www' subdomain is broken, as it serves no useful purpose, and is usually unnecessary. When it is required by a website, it is redundant, as it simply restates the use of HTTP on Port 80, which is assumed by browsers in the first place.

It was useful back when "the Internet" didn't mean "the web." Your business might have several different services, all attached to the same domain name. So you'd name your servers "" for your FTP server, "" for your Usenet server, etc, "" for outgoing email, etc. You used to frequently see domains that didn't even have webservers attached to them, they were used merely for email or FTP or some other service. Of course, even in those days, a smart admin would redirect any port 80 requests to the correct subdomain anyway.

What's really broken is sites that *require* www and don't work if you don't type it. What's super broken is sites that don't return an error page when you try without www, but instead send you to the Apache "welcome to Apache" or "welcome to IIS" page.

Of course, "www" is still stupid because the protocol is named "http," and so it should be "," but that's neither here nor there.

Posted by: James Schend at November 14, 2005 12:12 PM

While the topic of the WWW being unnecessary as a domain is another topic. The issue brought up was the 'www.' used in an online posting. Hence, since this was WRITTEN and NOT SPOKEN, this is not broken. 'WWW' as written is a shortcut. How one SAYS this verbally is a different issue. Personally, if verbally communicating a website to someone, I dont even mention the WWW. Writing it or typing the complete will usually trigger a 'hotlink' to further help the audience.

Posted by: Steve at November 14, 2005 03:11 PM

Just an interesting side note - in Italian, the word for V is "vu", W is doppia-vu (double-V, which makes more sense than double-U, by the way...). Anyway, they way they pronounce www is "vu-vu-vu", ("VVV"), much shorter than the more correct "doppia-vu doppia-vu doppia-vu".


Posted by: Rudy at November 14, 2005 04:30 PM

umm... to oversimplfy a tad...

www."foo".com and "foo".com are actually two different addresses at the same domain. is "generally" configured to shoot to but doesn't actually have to be. (Usually a lazy host won't "activate" it)

You can configure them to be two different addresses. (if not this; that) So if it's not set to forward, you either get a different page (if one exists) or you get a 404 error (if none exists).

Think of the old days when you could get a name like "".

Ain't broken, just rarely used.

Posted by: g guy at November 14, 2005 06:56 PM

In Sweden we do as the Italians. We pronounce "W" as "V" instead when it comes to URLs to make things easier.

www is really redundant and has no use anymore.

Posted by: N at November 15, 2005 04:33 AM

Or, you can just say "'dub 'dub 'dub".

Posted by: Gabriel at November 19, 2005 09:56 PM

Ctrl-Enter is an Internet Explorer hotkey and does not function similarly in [some] other browsers.

And "World Wide Web," technically, is three and a half syllables. "ld" represents an occluded syllable, a "@ld" sort of half-syllable.

Yeah, I'm nuts.

Posted by: Brian at November 22, 2005 10:38 AM


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Posted by: nom at January 30, 2006 03:10 PM

how about 3-dub? it's smooth

Posted by: jedwardcooper at March 14, 2006 10:47 AM

St. is an abreviation. It is pronounced "street".

Dr. is an abreviation. It is pronounced "doctor".

Mrs. is an abreviation. It is pronounced "missus".

WWW is an abreviation. It is pronounced "world wide web".

Posted by: oobadooba at April 17, 2006 03:07 PM

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