What Does WWW1, WWW2, WWW(n) Mean [Hostnames and Subdomains]

Always when i visit webpages, i am very curious to know about how secure the webpage is by observing the http(s) but after that, then another thing jets in. Getting to know which hostnames and subdomains are available based on that specific web page. This is where we all start noticing the likes of www2 or name.website.com or something of that sort.

So, today, i will discuss with you a little bit more about hostnames and subdomains in  a lay man’s language. Once you get to the domain or sub-domain you can then have one or more computers hosting that domain or sub-domain. Each of these computers has a machine name and where there is only one the machine name of www is usually used. Where a machine name is left off of the front of the domain or subdomain name the default machine name of www is usually assumed so that the person will still reach the right computer to access the site.

What Does WWW1, WWW2, WWW(n) Mean [Hostnames and Subdomains]

What Does WWW1, WWW2, WWW(n) Mean [Hostnames and Subdomains]

WWW2 and WWW3 are hostnames or subdomains, typically used to identify a series of closely related websites within a domain, such as www.gotechug.com, www2.gotechug.com, and www3.gotechug.com; the series may be continued with additional numbers: WWW4, WWW5, WWW6 and many others. Traditionally, such websites are mirrors used for server load balancing. In some cases, the specific hostname may be obscured, creating the appearance that the user is viewing the “www” subdomain, even if they are actually viewing a mirror site.

This techqinue is used for load balancing when you have multiple web servers because you can’t set up multiple web servers on the same domain name and name them all www since there would be no way to tell which server to access.

When a site uses more than one computer for hosting then each computer needs to be given a different machine name and hence www1, www2 etc.

Lets get down deep into, for example: If my first website is www.thatsite.com, the top level domain is .com, my domain name is thatsite, the machine name (which can be omitted) is www and it uses HyperText Transfer Protocol to access it. While I do have several sub-domains within my domain I do not have one called www and if I did then you would be able to access it at www.www.thatsite.com.

The WWW prefix (short for World Wide Web) that precedes URL addresses is an indication that the Web address exists on the vast network of the World Wide Web. So, when a url’s www is followed by any number then it tells this is not the direct information coming through that server but that information is retrieved by a server through another server.

Websites, especially those that handle large amounts of traffic often need more than one server to accommodate the many requests they receive as one server often cannot handle the multitude of requests.

An example of this system is Google, which uses multiple servers to handle all its traffic. Sometimes the user’s physical location determines which server receives the routed requests, and sometimes the different servers are used when one or more of the servers need to be taken offline in order to be updated with current information.


  • Isaac Neuwelt

    I have noticed such prefixes. Its worth knowing, thank you for the good article.

    • GoTechUg

      Hi Isaac,
      It’s always with great pleasure to have your feedback.
      Glad that this helped in someway.
      I’ll be always curious to read your future comments here.
      Cheers
      Hamza…..