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While you’re surfing the web, and particularly while you are shopping, do you ever come across website addresses that have a www1 or a www2 or any other number in them? If so, you are not alone. What does this strange number in the www mean?

First off, it is important to go back to the basics and remember what the WWW means. The WWW in internet addresses stand for World Wide Web and is an indication that this address exists on the web. At times a number will follow the WWW in a URL (such as www1 or www3) and this indicates that the data is being gathered from a server other than the main one that usually serves the www address.

Maybe you’re wondering why a website would need more than one server. There are several good reasons for this. Most large websites, especially dynamic websites, often need more than one server to handle all of the requests coming at them as just one server would quickly become overwhelmed and slow down to a crawl. The numbers that follow the WWW in the address URL often indicate additional servers on a server farm that are essentially all computers containing the same information. These servers are used in coordination with each other to perform load balancing. At times a user’s location will determine which server is used. At other times some servers are taken offline to allow for updates and maintenance.

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