The www prefix is the naming convention to identify that the address refers to a website. You would have to use other prefixes like FTP, mail or NNTP (Usenet news server) to access different services. They could also denote different servers for the convenience of webpage admins.
Www with a number added is a slightly old-school domain naming technique that is still used by some websites. Developers use it to identify and name subdomains or hostnames that belong to different servers. For example, subsections of a hypothetical website called www.website.com might be www2.website.com, www3.website.com, etc.
Website operators apply this technique for load balancing. If a server with a www domain is experiencing overload, crash, or technical maintenance, you can be redirected to a different server named www2, www3, www4, etc. The redirect can take place automatically. There are more modern and advanced techniques available to balance the internet workload, but these addresses still occur.
It’s an unusual domain element that we rarely encounter. Should it be any cause for concern?
Don’t panic if a number suddenly appeared after www. You can be redirected back to www in case a server is available again. Numbered www websites do not pose any threat as such.
However, you must always make sure the remaining part of the domain is the one you need. Always doublecheck whether the domain is genuine if you have any suspicions. Avoid opening links coming from sources you don’t fully trust or whose original name is altered.
NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature could come in handy in this situation. Threat Protection’s security enhancements include a blacklist of malware-ridden sites, and will stop you in your tracks before you accidentally stumble onto a dodgy website.
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