I have a website which has URL of kind https://www.example.com (Please notice HTTPS and www). It is the only correct URL of the website and I also have SSL certificate for www URL only.

I have added my website in Google webmaster and is able to view results on Google search. The problem is that I can see both https://www.exmaple.com results and also https://example.com results. I want users to see only https://www.example.com results (i.e. with www in URL).

I have checked on net and found some solutions which is not working in my case:

  1. Having 301 redirect to www URL - Not able to do that as I have SSL certificate for www URL and before I can make a redirect the user will have to trust the untrusted certificate, the same problem that https://amazon.com have
  2. I am not able to set preferred domain on google webmaster as well, as it is not giving me an option to do so, it says Restricted to root level domains only.

Having canonical links on my webpage would be an difficult thing to do in my case.

Please suggest some solution.

Edit: I am not able to see preferred domain option for my site.

enter image description here

  • Have you verified ownership of your domains in WT? May 1, 2012 at 10:03
  • Do you use addon domains from cPanel? Or are you using a CNAME or an A record to route to your app? Have you incorporated HSTS on the correct domain (its client side 307 redirect)? Are you able to contact your host/ssl provider to get a better ssl that allows both WWW and non-WWW? Sometimes they will do this for free if you need it for the RSA-256 sunset anyways. For future reference, be sure to always get a modern ssl that is able to roll www and non, with SNI or non, at 256bit.
    – dhaupin
    Feb 23, 2015 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


If you look into the Site Configuration section of Google webmaster tools and click on Settings you can choose how your domain appears in search results.

enter image description here

Regarding the error message 'Restricted to root level domains only' Google's Johnathan Mueller appears to concede that it's a bug in this thread on the Google product forum (2010) but there doesn't appear to be word on a fix.

Check that your domains are still verified as this may be the source of the error, outside of that there doesn't appear to be much you can do to solve the problem with webmaster tools.

As an alternative you could implement code like this:-

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.mydomain\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.mydomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

In your .htaccess file. This forces any visitor to your site to use only one version of the url, essentially this says 'if the domain is NOT www.mydomain.com, then redirect to www.mydomain.com'.

Then try implementing the the canonical microformat (if you can) to let Google know which your preferred url for the content is.

Thing is the old urls will still remain visible in the search engine unless you manually remove them, but with the htaccess code any visitors, including bots, will end up in the right place going forward.

  • Please see edit section, I am not able to change preferred domain.
    – Ankit
    May 1, 2012 at 9:28
  • I can not implement 301 redirect, for the reason I mentioned in my question itself.
    – Ankit
    May 2, 2012 at 3:50
  • @Ankit well, I think you'll probably have to buy another certificate, or try the other suggestions mentioned. May 2, 2012 at 17:53

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