Friday, November 21, 2008

Custom Domains And URL Forwarding - A Definitive Reason Why It's A Bad Idea

Many bloggers, who want to publish their blog to a Google Custom Domain, elect to not purchase the domain using the "Buy A Domain" wizard. Some folks decide to do so because they want a domain in a TLD that's not provided by the wizard, others just like to do it themselves. And sometimes, "doing it themselves" is where the trouble starts.

KJ, in Google Blogger Help - Something Is Broken: DNS Redirect Errors, asks
I've had some of the same problems as others who have posted, with the blog not showing, error messages, etc...
I've tried to go through and correct the areas that I thought haderrors, but the more I read the more confused I become.
Would someone be able to assist me to see if I have everything set up properly?


Here's what we saw, when we checked out the blog in question.


This isn't going to encourage prospective readers to read your blog.



And, checking out the DNS configuration, we saw:

mydomain.com. 3600 IN A 64.202.189.170
www.mydomain.com. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.

What is "64.202.189.170"?

pwfwd-v01.prod.mesa1.secureserver.net (64.202.189.170)
64.202.160.0 - 64.202.191.255
GoDaddy.com, Inc.

Not a Google server, obviously!

Here, we see yet another example of URL forwarding, and one that's apparently being detected by Blogger as off-site content. Forwarding URLs is a favourite trick of hackers, porn merchants, and spammers, to redirect traffic, from a BlogSpot based spam blog farm, to an off BlogSpot web site containing hacking and porn. So Blogger added a redirect warning interstitial advice, which is what your readers now see.

If you keep your web site on a Google server (using "A" and "CNAME" referrals which go directly to Google servers), you shouldn't get the interstitial.

Either

mydomain.com. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.
www.mydomain.com. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.

or

mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.32.21
mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.34.21
mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.36.21
mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.38.21
www.mydomain.com. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.


Much better for everybody.

(Update 11/27): Besides causing problems with Blogger issuing redirect advice warnings, URL forwarding causes needless complexity in blog access. URL forwarding is simply another spurious solution.

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2 comments:

Kamil said...

great information there. Very informative blog

KayJay said...

Dear Chuck,

You are a doll and a lifesaver (not the flavored kind). I hope Google is paying you Oodles of money! And I feel like such a celebrity to be listed on your blog! LOL

So here’s what I did per your instructions.
I removed the forwarding.
I removed the A – host with the ISP number
And I made two CNAME’s to read:
mydomain.com. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.
&
www.mydomain.com. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.

Works like a charm!


Here’s my reply to the on going saga with GoDaddy:

Technically your rep was correct in that the information with GoDaddy was correctly pointing to my site. That being the case I and another tech noted that it just was Not working out the way it was suppose to. So my tech ran an analysis and came up with some suggestions on how to make it work properly. I emailed those suggestion, and asked for help implementing them. I was emailed a response telling me just to clear my cookies, so I called. I really couldn't seem to connect with your rep in having him just look over the information and make the necessary changes, cause he just couldn't get over the fact that the site was directing to where it should, and it had to be Googles problem. So as un-script oriented and un-techie as I am, I went into my GoDaddy account and implemented the changes as best as I could guess. I figured if I really messed something up it really didn't matter cause it wasn't working anyway! Well guess what! My tech's recommendations worked perfectly! I know there are like a million programs and you can't keep track of all the particulars, but one would think, that with some of the bigger accounts that your company would have a better understanding of what does and what doesn't work for redirecting sites to them. Or at the very least have some understanding, when alternate information is all laid out for them, that "Oh, I see what their trying to do. We can help walk you through those changes" Just my two-cents from a novice who was able to do what your computer guru couldn't. KJ

Ok, probably a little harsh there at the end, but after a week of disappointment and frustration over what look liked an Easy procedure, I was about ready to can the whole project.

So, Chuck…Thank You SO much!!!!!

Love to send you some cookies for Christmas. You know the good kind like chocolate chip, not the weird kind where you’re wondering why they took all that time to make those hideous conglomerations you wouldn’t dare to taste.
Could be on to something here. You could have a really awesome Christmas with everyone sending you goodies, you might even get some Money! Or just cookies coming out your ears!

Thanks Again! KJ