McGill's central websites, published using the Web Management System (WMS), can be accessed using both www.mcgill.ca URLs and mcgill.ca URLs without the www. Which is the correct version? In fact, both are correct.
Why are there two versions of the URLs?
In the past, McGill web publishers wanted to adopt a more modern convention and asked if we could drop the www and publish McGill websites as mcgill.ca only. This was managed as a redirect for several years. The plan was to move McGill's WMS websites to the non-www domain permanently.
However, because the IT Services Web Services Group is planning to implement a future Content Delivery Network (CDN) — something that will ensure that WMS web pages load quickly and uniformly for people all over the world — we've had to rethink our approach. The future CDN will require the use of www and so our canonical URL will be www.mcgill.ca. But because many people still prefer to publish shorter URLs, mcgill.ca will continue to redirect to the actual www.mcgill.ca URLs.
When is it appropriate to use one or the other?
Because it may serve as a marketing requirement, mcgill.ca can be used in any content such as documentation, communications, or promotional materials. However, when linking to a McGill website from another website, it is preferable to use www.mcgill.ca. The difference between loading times for the real URL or the redirected URL will be imperceptible to site visitors. For Site Administrators, Site Managers, and Site Editors, the Link Checker will include any mcgill.ca links in reports. While these links will still resolve, you will have the choice to update them to www.mcgill.ca if you so desire.