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Friday, April 15, 2016

Blogger Magic - Reading A Dig Log

Whether you're setting up or troubleshooting a custom domain, knowing how to read a Dig log is a useful skill.

There are hundreds of registrars, serving the Internet community, each with their own dashboard. Blog owners, setting up their domains for their Blogger blogs, must deal with the syntax and terminology used by each different dashboard.

A Dig log lets the blog owner identify the DNS addresses for the domain, using a consistent display.

By identifying the DNS addresses used in a given domain, a blog owner or an experienced forum helper can diagnose many custom domain DNS related problems.

Here is an example of Dig log use, showing an excerpted Dig log, in a typical forum topic. For more detail, see my earlier post, Diagnosing Problems With Custom Domains: Dig.

I have a domain (www.rockchickenz.com) - and want to link my blog (rockchickenz.blogspot.com).

  • Start by verifying URLs involved.
  • Continue with Dig Web Interface.
  • A full screen print of the Dig log.
  • The relevant portion of the Dig log, from the screen print.
  • The relevant portion of the Dig log, as text.
  • The advice provided, to the blog owner.
  • Alternate / complementary tools used.

Start by verifying URLs involved.

Whenever possible, make a screen print, and a text copy, of the Blogger dashboard Publishing wizard, at Settings - Basic. Knowing the status of the blog and domain - and the exact URLs involved - can go a long way to diagnosing many custom domain publishing problems.

Continue with a Dig Web Interface log.

The best tool for generating a Dig log is Dig Web Interface. Alternate / complementary tools are listed below.

I use DWI, for this purpose, by preference. DWI lets you:

  • Package the URLs in the Dig target, in the reference URL.
  • Include multiple target URLs, in one reference URL.
  • Both capabilities are very useful, in diagnosing Blogger custom domain publishing problems.


Start from the Dig Web Interface page.




Add the domain root and "www" alias, under "Hostnames or IP addresses:".

I select Type: "A", and Nameservers: "Authoritative", for my actual diagnoses.

Click "Dig".



The Dig Log reference URL, for "rockchickenz.com", generated from DWI. Target URLs are "rockchickenz.com" and "www.rockchickenz.com".

http://www.digwebinterface.com/?hostnames=rockchickenz.com%0D%0Awww.rockchickenz.com&type=A&ns=resolver&useresolver=8.8.4.4&nameservers=

A full screen print of the Dig log.

This is the complete Dig log, resulting from the Dig Log URL (above), and containing the relevant portion (below).


This is the Dig log, for "rockchickenz.com".



The relevant portion of the Dig log, from the screen print.

This is the important portion of the screen print (above), and showing the text (below).


This is the relevant portion of the Dig log, for "rockchickenz.com".



Note the TTL value of "14399" - which is a typical Dig log display for TTL set as "14400" (14400 seconds or 4 hours), in the registrar's zone editor. TTL is a setting which is used to adjust name server performance.

Unless you are experienced with DNS setup (and probably don't need to read this advice), you should use the default TTL provided by the registrar, for your domain. Your registrar wants to provide a stable domain for you - and the TTL value affects domain stability.

The relevant portion of the Dig log, as text.

These are the important details from the screen print (above), with colour highlights corresponding to domain specific details (below).

rockchickenz.com@8.8.4.4 (Default):
rockchickenz.com. 14399 IN A 78.137.164.51

www.rockchickenz.com@8.8.4.4 (Default):
www.rockchickenz.com. 14399 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.
ghs.google.com. 21392 IN CNAME ghs.l.google.com.
ghs.l.google.com. 92 IN A 64.233.183.121

The latter is typically seen, with a blog owner having received bogus advice - and reporting an inconsistently accessible blog.

The advice provided, to the blog owner.

The typical advice, provided to the blog owner, would include domain specific details - accompanied by a link to Setting Up DNS Addresses For Custom Domains.

First, generic advice:

Remove the addresses highlighted in red - and add the addresses highlighted in green - and keep the addresses highlighted in yellow.

Then, specific advice:

This is what you have:

rockchickenz.com. 14400 IN A 78.137.164.51
www.rockchickenz.com. 14400 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.

This is what you need:

rockchickenz.com. 14400 IN A 216.239.32.21
rockchickenz.com. 14400 IN A 216.239.34.21
rockchickenz.com. 14400 IN A 216.239.36.21
rockchickenz.com. 14400 IN A 216.239.38.21

www.rockchickenz.com. 14400 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.

The advice references a typical ASymmetrical DNS custom domain setup - the address set used in 99% of all custom domain setups. Note here, the specified TTL of "14400" (4 hours).

Using the above advice, the blog owner can then, if necessary, research the syntax used by the registrar's dashboard (aka "zone editor") - and make the necessary changes.

Alternate / complementary tools used.

Alternate tools, which can be used to generate a Dig log, are the Kloth.Net Dig DNS Lookup, and the Who.Is DNS display. Neither alternate is as compact and complete - but they can be used to verify results.

Complementary tools include the Global DNS Propagation Checker, the intoDNS domain DNS health checker, the Rex Swain HTTP Viewer, and the Whois Lookup.

In some cases, my 12 link affinity / differential connectivity test may be useful.

For more information.

See WikiPedia: dig (command).



One of the most useful tools, for diagnosing #Blogger custom domain problems, is a Dig Log. Learning how to read a Dig Log is a useful skill, for any blog owner wishing to publish a blog to a custom domain.

Dude, hit me with a comment!