Canonicalization remains to be one of the most challenging issues for bloggers aiming for good organic traffic from search engines. Now a days, search engine algorithms are claimed to be smart enough to handle the duplicate content of blogs but still it is wiser to be safe than sorry.

URL canonicalization deals with redirecting www to non-www URLs or vice versa. Popular blogging platforms like WordPress has seen several plugins which claim to handle URL canonicalization for the webmasters using the 301 permanent redirect. According to itezer, most of these plugins are not helping much to make URL canonicalization effects come away from our blogs, since one version include the functionality of Apache-based redirection, 404 monitoring, and many more.

Redirecting www with Apache

If you see the URL structuring of our blog, it always come sans www. Even if you deliberately all www, it gets redirected to the non-www version. This is done by redirecting the URL with Apache. We use .htaccess file in the root directory of the website/blog. This applies even if the blogs are in the sub-directory.

Here is the code to redirect www to non-www

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.(.*) [NC] RewriteRule ^(.*) http://%1/$1 [R=301,L]

When you include the domain name, please use the following code

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^ [NC] RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [L,R=301]

Here is the code to redirect non-www URLs to www

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain\.com
RewriteRule ^{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

Redirecting www with nginx

For nginx, add the following code to the top of the page. Separate it from the server {} section for the preferred canonical name that you want. Therefore, add the following code when you want to redirect www to non-www:

server {
listen 80;
rewrite ^/(.*)$1 permanent;

What about the code to redirect non-www to www? Here it is

server {
listen 80;
rewrite ^/(.*)$1 permanent;

I hope this guide helps you to handle URL canonicalization and hence the duplicate content issue in a much better way. Do share your views below.



Raju is the founder-editor of Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. Mail Raju PP. Follow rajupp

  • Alma

    Thank you. It worked great to redirect my website!

  • Alex

    Great resource, thank you!

  • fersumac


    I want to redirect a page that is: / tiendaOnline / catalog / index.php

    to: / index.php

    as I use the redirect 301,

    I have not clear