WWW prefix (from Wikipedia)Edit
Many domain names used for the World Wide Web begin with www because of the long-standing practice of naming Internet hosts (servers) according to the services they provide. The hostname for a web server is often www, in the same way that it may be ftp for an FTP server, and news or nntp for a USENET news server. These host names appear as Domain Name System (DNS) subdomain names, as in www.example.com. The use of 'www' as a subdomain name is not required by any technical or policy standard; indeed, the first ever web server was called nxoc01.cern.ch, and many web sites exist without it. Many established websites still use 'www', or they invent other subdomain names such as 'www2', 'secure', etc. Many such web servers are set up such that both the domain root (e.g., example.com) and the www subdomain (e.g., www.example.com) refer to the same site; others require one form or the other, or they may map to different web sites.
The use of a subdomain name is useful for load balancing incoming web traffic by creating a CNAME record that points to a cluster of web servers. Since, currently, only a subdomain can be cname'ed the same result cannot be achieved by using the bare domain root.
When a user submits an incomplete website address to a web browser in its address bar input field, some web browsers automatically try adding the prefix "www" to the beginning of it and possibly ".com", ".org" and ".net" at the end, depending on what might be missing. For example, entering 'microsoft' may be transformed to http://www.microsoft.com/ and 'openoffice' to http://www.openoffice.org. This feature started appearing in early versions of Mozilla Firefox, when it still had the working title 'Firebird' in early 2003, from a much more ancient practice in browsers such as Lynx. It is reported that Microsoft was granted a US patent for the same idea in 2008, but only for mobile devices.
The scheme specifiers (http:// or https://) in URIs refer to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol and to HTTP Secure respectively and so define the communication protocol to be used for the request and response. The HTTP protocol is fundamental to the operation of the World Wide Web; the added encryption layer in HTTPS is essential when confidential information such as passwords or banking information are to be exchanged over the public Internet. Web browsers usually prepend the scheme to URLs too, if omitted.
In English, www is pronounced by individually pronouncing the name of characters (double-u double-u double-u). Although some technical users pronounce it dub-dub-dub this is not widespread. The English writer Douglas Adams once quipped in The Independent on Sunday (1999): "The World Wide Web is the only thing I know of whose shortened form takes three times longer to say than what it's short for," with Stephen Fry later pronouncing it in his "Podgrammes" series of podcasts as "wuh wuh wuh." In Mandarin Chinese, World Wide Web is commonly translated via a phono-semantic matching to wàn wéi wǎng (万维网), which satisfies www and literally means "myriad dimensional net", a translation that very appropriately reflects the design concept and proliferation of the World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee's web-space states that World Wide Web is officially spelled as three separate words, each capitalized, with no intervening hyphens.