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I was looking up a new website a friend of mine just built, and when I typed in "youwho.com", it took like 3 minutes to return the page to me. When I typed "www.youwho.com" it resolved instantly.

Why would this happen?

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    Could be DNS. if the main domain name (youwho.com) hasn't been assigned an A record, then the browser could take a while to try and look that up, then fall back to trying www.youwho.com instead. – Marc B Aug 31 '11 at 19:26
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Depending on the browser, the browser could be doing DNS caching (Chrome does a lot of this) in an effort to speed things up.

Other things that might be involved would be the nearness of any DNS caches to you. For example, if your ISP happened to have the www version of the domain cached, but the non-www version was not in their cache, it would return much faster than if the DNS lookup had to get all the way to the authoritative DNS servers.

It's also possible that there are other factors, such as app startup time, if you first hit the site with the straight domain name, and then with the www version. Various caches along the route could have also been impacting the response in this case as well, including your browser's cache if the page html was written in such a way as to cause blocking (ie. putting javascript file links at the top instead of the bottom)

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