Sunday, April 15, 2012

After Setting Up Your Custom Domain DNS Addresses, Always Verify Your Work

So many problems with custom domain publishing start with incorrectly setup DNS addresses. Sometimes the problems start with misunderstanding about the rigid requirements of DNS addresses, other times misunderstanding about how to use the Domain Manager tools provided - and sometimes the registrar gets involved, and causes problems.

Many times, I'll offer advice in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, and the reply will indicate the confusion.
Here's a screenshot of my settings - I can't see a problem!
or
I just got my registrar to setup the DNS addresses, as you gave me. Surely, they are right?
But we diagnose the problem, and find that the addresses are still wrong.

In business, we learn of the importance of using well known, standard testing procedures. People setting up a custom domain would do well to learn this concept, also.

I have a diverse assortment of online tools, which I use for diagnosing custom domain publishing problems. Here are three (as always, in alphabetical order), which I use to examine and verify DNS addresses.
  • Kloth Dig.
  • Name.com Dig / Who.Is Lookup.
  • WebMaster Toolkit Dig.
Each tool complements the other two - none of them are a replacement for the other two.

Kloth Dig
  • Lets you copy and paste the output, easily.
  • Lets you Dig the domain root, or any specific aliases.
  • Lets you select what host to perform the Dig.

Name.com Dig / Who.Is Lookup
  • Lets you check results promptly, not waiting for TTL to expire.
  • Lets you reference the result using an included URL.
  • Lets you do a Who Is lookup, to complement the Dig.

WebMaster Toolkit Dig
  • Lets you copy and paste the output, easily.
  • Lets you Dig the domain root, or any specific aliases.
  • Lets you reference the result using an included URL.

Prompt Verification Is Essential.
When you make changes to the DNS addresses, you will want to check your results, promptly - waiting for DNS cache to expire, varying according to TTL, causes confusion. The Name.com Dig accesses the domain master server, so you can generally see results promptly. To cross check the Name.com Dig, you can use the Kloth Dig - and reference the domain master server, explicitly.

All Domain Hosts Must Be Verified.
When you make changes to a Non Root Virtual Host, you'll need to Dig the results. Both Kloth and WebMaster Toolkit let you specify the host name, to target in the Dig, so you can target any host - not just the domain root and "www" aliases.

Ability To Copy And Paste Results Is Useful.
It is useful to copy and paste the results from any Dig transaction. Both Kloth and WebMaster Toolkit Digs provide results that are not table bound, and can be easily copied and pasted.

Ability To Reference The Result In The URL Is Useful.
It is useful to save a one click link to check Dig results, to avoid having to repeatedly paste or type a domain URL to be checked. Both Name.com and WebMaster Toolkit provide results that can be checked by clicking on a link, which you can bookmark.

A WhoIs Lookup Is Useful
Many times, the domain status, examined using a WhoIs lookup, provides an essential clue. Both when a domain purchase is unsuccessful, and when a domain registration has expired, a Name.com Who.Is Lookup will lead to the problem diagnosis.

Each of these tools provide vital details and features, that the others do not provide. And each of these tools, used properly, can help somebody to avoid posting in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, frantically asking for help.

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2 comments:

Clommot Fatan said...

I`ve successfully switching to a new custom domain about 5 moth ago but the problem of duplicate url in search engine is still exist, I mean both my blogspot and new domain are still in search result. So ShouldI delete the blogspot from google web master tool? please give some good advise. thanks.

Chuck Croll said...

Clommot,

I'd like to discuss this with you - do you have an open discussion in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?? It's much easier to use a Google Forum for such activity.