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Monday, September 24, 2012

The New "CNAME" Needs To Be Added, And Used, Promptly

One oddity, observed by a few blog owners, is that even after adding the "CNAME" to verify domain ownership, not every blog owner is able to see theirs successfully verified.
I added both "CNAME"s - and I'm still getting "Error 12" when I try to publish.
There are several "common sense" rules, that not everybody observes.
  1. The new "CNAME" can't use the example values.
  2. The new "CNAME" has to be a "CNAME". Don't let your registrar add a "TXT" instead.
  3. The new "CNAME" has to be specific to the URL in question. Enter your published URL precisely, into "Advanced settings".
  4. The new "CNAME" has to be added with attention to domain manager address entry convention.
Even with these rules observed, there are still a small handful of unsuccessful blog owners, seeing "Error 12" - or "Error 32".

One of the possible reasons for these last few hold outs, I believe, relates to timing.

Let's consider the "CNAME" setup process.
  1. Get the "Name" / "Label" / "Host" and "Destination" / "Target" / "Points To" values, for your unique blog / domain.
  2. Add the new "CNAME" to your domain.
  3. Publish the blog to the domain URL.


In the "settings instructions" document, How do I use a custom domain name for my blog?, we are instructed to
wait about an hour for your DNS settings to activate
In various other instructions, you will typically see
Wait for up to a day, for settings to be updated
or similar miscellaneous waiting instructions.

Besides the waiting factor, there's a "negative waiting" factor. Several blog owners have observed that the "Name" / "Label" / "Host" and "Destination" / "Target" / "Points To" values, for their unique blog / domain, seems to change, from day to day. This tells me that the ownership verification "certificate" (which is what the "Name" / "Label" / "Host" and "Destination" / "Target" / "Points To" values provide), like most security certificates, has a limited use period.

If you get the certificate in Step #1 above, you have to use the certificate in Step #3 reasonably promptly after doing so. If the certificate for your domain expires within a 24 hour period, then you have, at most, 24 hours between Steps #1 and #3. In other words, you get 24 hours to re publish your domain - after you add the new "CNAME" - and that's including the period that you
wait about an hour for your DNS settings to activate
It's alternatively possible that the expiry is based on an arbitrary time of day - not 24 hours after being issued.

Whatever the nature of the expiry (absolute and arbitrary - or relative to time of issuance) the existence of an expiry time is normal, for a well designed security certificate. By giving the certificate a temporary lifetime, it becomes less useful to would be hijackers and similar miscreants.

So, you may not really benefit from waiting a day to re publish your domain - unless you like seeing "Error 12" (possibly "Error 32"), repeatedly, when you try to publish. Personally, I would wait an hour at the most, after Step #2, before trying Step #3. I would then retry Step #3 hourly, until successful. If you have more patience than I, fine.

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