WWW - can I delete it?

Google is recognising and indexing some pages with “www” which I don’t want. Can I eliminate WWW in Cloudflare DNS panel?

Sure. Why not? If you don’t need it or want it, why keep it?

You could redirect it instead if you think some visitors might use the www name.

thanks for your reply. FYI I opened 20 random sites which used www. and deleted these 4 characters and pressed ‘enter’. 18 out of the 20 still opened albeit after automatically putting the www. back. Then I chose sites which did NOT use www. and added it - none opened.
Please confirm this 1 thing: if I didn’t want the www. I should never have created a CName? Is it now as simple as deleting these?

Yes and yes.

Once you delete the CNAME anyone who tries to visit www.example.com will see:

This site can’t be reached

www.example.com’s DNS address could not be found. Diagnosing the problem.

DNS_PROBE_POSSIBLE

I get it, thanks

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