Thursday, November 27, 2008

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

Some bloggers, who want to publish their blog to a Google Custom Domain, elect to not purchase the domain using the "Buy A Domain" wizard, still decide to accept their domain DNS configuration from a third party - the domain registrar. Many registrars advise use of URL forwarding, and this is known to cause problems with Blogger.

DaVe L, in Google Blogger Help - Publishing Trouble: 404 Error/Register.com domain issue, writes
Since this past sunday, my blog www.shortandsweetnyc.com has been getting that 404 error when I enter the URL. I registered the domain name through register.com and have called them several times to try to figure out what the issue was. They have been telling me that everything is fine on their end and it looks like the problem is on blogger.com's end.


And here we have yet a third incident involving Register.Com, in a single week.

An HTTP access trace shows us:

Sending request:

GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: shortandsweetnyc.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.18) Gecko/20081029 Firefox/2.0.0.18
Connection: close

• Finding host IP address...
• Host IP address = 216.21.239.197
• Finding TCP protocol...
• Binding to local socket...
• Connecting to host...
• Sending request...
• Waiting for response...
Receiving Header:
HTTP/1.1·302·Found(CR)(LF)
Date:·Fri,·28·Nov·2008·02:51:45·GMT(CR)(LF)
Server:·Apache/1.3.27·(Unix)(CR)(LF)
Location:·http://shortandsweet-nyc.blogspot.com(CR)(LF)

Sending request:

GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: shortandsweet-nyc.blogspot.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.18) Gecko/20081029 Firefox/2.0.0.18
Connection: close

• Finding host IP address...
• Host IP address = 72.14.207.191
• Finding TCP protocol...
• Binding to local socket...
• Connecting to host...
• Sending request...
• Waiting for response...
Receiving Header:
HTTP/1.1·301·Moved·Permanently(CR)(LF)
Location:·http://www.shortandsweetnyc.com/(CR)(LF)

Sending request:

GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: www.shortandsweetnyc.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.18) Gecko/20081029 Firefox/2.0.0.18
Connection: close

• Finding host IP address...
• Host IP address = 209.85.171.121
• Finding TCP protocol...
• Binding to local socket...
• Connecting to host...
• Sending request...
• Waiting for response...
Receiving Header:
HTTP/1.1·404·Not·Found(CR)(LF)


And, an excerpted Dig log shows us the current DNS configuration:

shortandsweetnyc.com. 14400 IN A 216.21.239.197
www.shortandsweetnyc.com. 14400 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.
---
ghs.google.com. 105624 IN CNAME ghs.l.google.com.
ghs.l.google.com. 300 IN A 66.249.91.121

futuresite.register.com (216.21.239.197)
216.21.224.0 - 216.21.239.255
Register.com, Inc

Here, we see two problems.
  • The well known "Server Not Found Error 404".
  • A DNS configuration using URL forwarding, apparently using the Register.Com parked server ("futuresite").


See the above redirect sequence?

GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: shortandsweetnyc.com

HTTP/1.1·302·Found(CR)(LF)
Date:·Fri,·28·Nov·2008·02:51:45·GMT(CR)(LF)
Server:·Apache/1.3.27·(Unix)(CR)(LF)
Location:·http://shortandsweet-nyc.blogspot.com(CR)(LF)

GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: shortandsweet-nyc.blogspot.com

HTTP/1.1·301·Moved·Permanently(CR)(LF)
Location:·http://www.shortandsweetnyc.com/(CR)(LF)

GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: www.shortandsweetnyc.com

Receiving Header:
HTTP/1.1·404·Not·Found(CR)(LF)

Isn't a more direct sequence possible? It is, using an asymmetrical "A" / "CNAME" referral DNS configuration.

nitecruzr.net. 3600 IN A 64.233.179.121
nitecruzr.net. 3600 IN A 72.14.207.121
www.nitecruzr.net. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.
---
ghs.google.com. 102141 IN CNAME ghs.l.google.com.
ghs.l.google.com. 300 IN A 66.249.91.121

which gives us a simpler redirect sequence

GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: nitecruzr.net

HTTP/1.1·302·Moved·Temporarily(CR)(LF)
Location:·http://www.nitecruzr.net(CR)(LF)

GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: www.nitecruzr.net

HTTP/1.1·200·OK(CR)(LF)

Now, we still have the problem of the "Server Not Found Error 404" to deal with here, but once that is out of the way, wouldn't the latter HTTP sequence be better for your readers? URL forwarding is simply another spurious solution.

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1 comment:

Aaron said...

I would have loved to buy the domain through Google but already have an established domain.. unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to transfer the domain in.. I will definitely be keeping it in mind for my next domain purchase, however! :)