On the internet, and everything has its own unique items to identify a specific website, service, or any other thing. For regular users, remembering and checking each and everything every time is not something easy and as a solution for this, web addresses came to life. Even though the browsers show only the domain name of the specific website by default, users can check some additional information by clicking on the URL bar and most of the domains starts with “www” and then comes the domain name(Ex:- www.facebook.com).
But do you even know there are some websites that are functioning while using some uncommon www1, www2, or www with any other random number, and what do these numbers really mean? Do these numbers really indicate any special information?
Before jumping into that topic, first, you must have a clear idea about what is this www? Many people think that www is the thing that we called the internet but in reality, it doesn’t. Internet is a network created and developed around the world between the 1960 -1970 time period while “www” which stands for World Wide Web was introduced somewhere around 1990.
WWW is just a regular subdomain just like “mail.example.com” and in most cases, these subdomains were used to specify a service given by that specific server. When making your own websites, you can choose between either your domain name with www or just the naked URL. You can think of www as a collection of data or information that have been stored on the computer around the whole world and users can refer to this data or information by using a web browser.
Choosing www subdomain instead of just using the naked domain is beneficial for the companies or service providers that get lots of traffic daily into their websites. When using naked domains and setting a DNS record that tells the browser which IP address should be reached to visit the website we want, it can only use a record called “A” record specifying an IP address.
Using subdomains, it can either use A record or CNAME record which can redirect the users into another domain or subdomain. Like it was mentioned earlier, this only matters when there is high traffic. When using just A records and if the server gets overloaded, you need to point your website into another IP address manually. But when having a CNAME record, if one server is down it automatically redirects to a backup server automatically without damaging the site functionality.
Now to the main question, why there are www1 in front of some web addresses such as “www1.citibank.com.au“. Basically, in most cases, they are just backup servers uses for load balancing or if something goes wrong with the main server, then the whole traffic can be redirected to this backup server without destroying the whole network. But this isn’t the perfect way because by using the www subdomain it can be redirected automatically without using this kind of backup server. Always remember that www is just an optional thing and now you know why some websites have www1 or www2 in front of the web URL also it doesn’t contain any superuser things with it.
There are some benefits that come with www for regular users as well because unlikely in those days, there are more than 15,000 top-level domains and some of those are using weird names like .movie, .delivery, .earth and the list goes on like that. If a cafe launches their own website as “cafe.delivery” and when the things come to advertising, this may drive people into confusion because this doesn’t sound like a website and it’s more like a FB page name or Instagram name.
But when the website name comes like “www.cafe.delivery” this gives a clear idea that it’s not anything else and it’s their website. You can check the full list of top-level domains from here if you want. (data.iana.org/TLD/tlds-alpha-by-domain.txt)
But before entering any of your private details into unknown site, make sure the site you about to enter is a secured place or else it can cause serious troubles.