Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between WWW and PUBLIC_HTML


When new to building websites, many people can find it confusing that there are two places where you can store the contents of your site. There’s WWW and PUBLIC_HTML. The main difference between the two is in which one is actual. In most cases, the PUBLIC_HTML is an actual folder that resides on your host. Although WWW can also be a physical folder, it is often just a link that points to the PUBLIC_HTML folder.

Despite having these two locations, there is actually no difference if you put your files in the WWW folder or the PUBLIC_HTML folder as they would basically go to the same folder and would show up in both. Any change you make in one would also appear in the other one as they are one and the same.

In the early days of the internet, there was no standard way of doing things. This led to different implementations. WWW at first seemed to be the more intuitive location for public files. Because of the existence of two folders that store the same files, making the independent from each other can lead to a variety of problems. For example you have a site that was stored in WWW and uses WWW in the paths to other files, moving them to the PUBLIC_HTML folder would necessitate changing all the paths in the links, which can be quite tedious if you have a lot of pages. The current implementation makes it irrelevant what folder you use in your path as the same files would be found in both folders.

The coexistence of WWW and PUBLIC_HTML is just a remnant of how things were done in the past. Using one or the other has no pros or cons. As long as it works, there is no reason to change what you are currently using.


1.PUBLIC_HTML is often the actual folder while WWW is just a link
2.PUBLIC_HTML and WWW are where you store the files for your site
3.PUBLIC_HTML and WWW points to basically the same location

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