Thursday, May 03, 2012

Confusion Over Custom Domains Using AdSense For Domains DNS Servers

I've been warning people for years about the lack of detail provided by Google, in their instructions about setting up a custom domain, with the domain registration purchased directly from a registrar
.... you only need to get the domain name; you don't have to pay extra for hosting service.
That was an observation, that I made, 5 years ago.

The Google provided instructions were recently changed - unfortunately, not to satisfy every new domain owner's need for detail. Recently, we're seeing new evidence of confusion - which appears to start with Google instructions, again.

As I have written repeatedly, when you setup a private domain, to use in publishing a Blogger blog, Google does not provide DNS hosting for your private domain. Recently, I learned about the AdSense for Domains DNS servers.
  • ns1.googleghs.com
  • ns2.googleghs.com
  • ns3.googleghs.com
  • ns4.googleghs.com
Apparently, some people have been able to use the AFD DNS servers to provide DNS hosting for their private domains.

This week, we're seeing reports in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken from some unhappy blog owners.
Beginning last night, every time I try to view my blog, "www.mydomain.com", I get the msg "Server not found". Why is this happening?
Starting with a Who.Is lookup of "mydomain.com" (in this example), we see:
http://who.is/whois/mydomain.com/

REGISTRY WHOIS FOR MYDOMAIN.COM

Registrar: MY REGISTRAR, INC
Whois Server: whois.myregistrar.com
Referral URL: http://www.myregistrar.com/
Status: clientTransferProhibited

Expiration Date: 2014-03-21
Creation Date: 2012-03-21
Last Update Date: 2012-04-07

Name Servers:
    ns1.googleghs.com
    ns2.googleghs.com
    ns3.googleghs.com
    ns4.googleghs.com
And there we see, as mentioned above:
ns1.googleghs.com
ns2.googleghs.com
ns3.googleghs.com
ns4.googleghs.com

In this example, "mydomain.com" was, apparently, setup originally to use "ns1.googleghs.com" (x 4) for domain DNS addressing. Apparently, until this week, the addressing worked - and Google was willing to host DNS addressing for some private domains.

Now, it doesn't.

Looking at the content of AdSense Help: Pointing your domains to Google's servers, we see the warning
Hosted domains has gone away. AdSense stopped supporting Hosted domains on April 18, 2012.
Apparently, "gone away" means that the AFD DNS servers "ns1.googleghs.com" (x 4) are now offline.

Opening a Command Window in Windows, we get confirmation
C:\>ping ns1.googleghs.com

Pinging ns1.googleghs.com [216.239.32.18] with 32 bytes of data:

Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.

Ping statistics for 216.239.32.18:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% loss)
So, there you have it - "ns1.googleghs.com" (x 4) is apparently offline. Once again, there is no free lunch. Read - and heed - the fine print.

If your domain was using those servers to serve DNS addresses, you're going to have to go back to your registrar, and ask them for their DNS servers. If this involves changing your "Name Registration" service to "DNS Hosting", you're going to have to bear the cost.

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