Monday, February 25, 2008

The "Buy A Domain For Your Blog" Wizard

Now that Google Custom Domains are becoming more polished, and people can see their usefulness, many bloggers who are less technically savvy are wanting one. Having more web presence than the plain old "myblog.blogspot.com" is probably the dream of many.

To encourage this, Blogger recently added the "Buy A Domain For Your Blog" wizard. Like all Blogger wizards, it has its advantages and its disadvantages.

Note: In the examples below, I'm using the "ping" command to diagnose my example domain, mydomain.com. You may check your specific domain, similarly.

To use the wizard, simply go to the dashboard, and to Settings - Basic, and click on "Add a custom domain". Here, you can purchase the domain (when available) of your choice, and simply tell Blogger (and the "partner" registrar) that you want your blog published to "www.mydomain.com" ("mydomain.com" being the domain of your choice).

The wizard completed, and your credit card debited, you'll have your blog now responding to "www.mydomain.com", with "myblog.blogspot.com" redirected to "www.mydomain.com". And "mydomain.com" will go to a Google Apps server (and then to "www.mydomain.com").
C:\>ping mydomain.com

Pinging mydomain.com [72.14.207.121] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 72.14.207.121: bytes=32 time=243ms TTL=245
Reply from 72.14.207.121: bytes=32 time=229ms TTL=245
Reply from 72.14.207.121: bytes=32 time=228ms TTL=245
Reply from 72.14.207.121: bytes=32 time=232ms TTL=245

Ping statistics for 72.14.207.121:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 228ms, Maximum = 243ms, Average = 233ms

C:\>ping www.mydomain.com

Pinging ghs.l.google.com [64.233.179.121] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 64.233.179.121: bytes=32 time=214ms TTL=244
Reply from 64.233.179.121: bytes=32 time=199ms TTL=244
Reply from 64.233.179.121: bytes=32 time=225ms TTL=244
Reply from 64.233.179.121: bytes=32 time=219ms TTL=244

Ping statistics for 64.233.179.121:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 199ms, Maximum = 225ms, Average = 214ms

This reflects a pair of DNS records for mydomain. The primary domain directed to a trio of Google Apps servers.
mydomain.com. 3600 IN A 64.233.179.121
mydomain.com. 3600 IN A 66.249.81.121
mydomain.com. 3600 IN A 72.14.207.121
and the "www" alias directed to Google
www.mydomain.com. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com
and your blog "myblog.blogspot.com" is now published to "www.mydomain.com". All of this in one transaction, and everything directed properly. Nice.

But note that you will experience a 72 hour period, after setting the domain up, when there will be some vagaries.

For a more detailed description of the above process, see my chronicle Using The "Buy A Domain For Your Blog" Wizard.

If you get the well known "Another blog ..." error, you can deal with that using Google Apps.

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7 comments:

marleyinoc said...

What do you think the drawbacks are? I kinda like the idea but probably would want to eventually get storage space and other bells and whistles and wonder whether if that would complicate things down the road. Probably not and I haven't looked into it, but the domain name has briefly flitted across my thoughts from time to time...

Chuck said...

Custom Domains are great, once you get past the technical complexities and limitations, that vary by DNS host.

Storage space shouldn't be an issue - there is no space limitation on blogs.

This wizard - "Buy A Domain For Your Blog" - needs work though. I need to write about that next.

marleyinoc said...

Thanks for the quick reply. It's the technical complexities and limitations that I should probably worry about :)

If I go with a custom domain I'll make sure they hand CNAME the way you suggest in your dns-host-is-crucial... post.

Thanks again!

Bag said...

Interesting. I have found since I used the CNAME that I no longer recieve my EMails. Is there a record I should be clearing to allow those to end up where they should?

Chuck said...

Hey Bag,

If you had a domain that used to work, with email delivery, then you didn't just use "Advanced Settings" or "Buy a domain", did you?

If you've had the domain for a while, you probably have settings that need to work besides the "CNAME". How about you post in GBH - Something Is Broken and we will see what the problem is.

matte said...

Hi! A quick one...
once i have my domain, is it possible to change its name without signing a new contract?
Thanks in advance, much appreciated.
Matteo

Chuck said...

Matteo,

All of the registrars that I have checked indicate that a domain, once purchased, is not refundable.

It's $10 USD - you can't even buy a Greasy Mac meal for more than 2 people for that. Live a little, and buy the 2 domains.