An Important Update

Dear Followers Of This Blog ...

If you did not use a Blogger / Google account when you Followed this blog, years ago, you are probably not Following now . During the past...

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Custom Domain Setup, And The Blogger Instructions

Custom domain setups continue to confuse blog owners - and lead sometimes to frustration, expressed in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
When I am trying to set up a custom domain for my new blog, I'm not getting the 2nd CNAME Record, but the settings get saved.
In some cases, the domain may be operational - and other times, the domain will be broken, and no corrective instruction is provided.

The details in the instructions, Blogger Help: How do I use a custom domain name for my blog?, are misleading - and have resulted in broken domains.

The Blogger instructions are confusing.


5. Go to your domain registrar's website and locate the DNS (Domain Name System) settings in the control panel.

Not a lot of details, there.




10. Before you move onto the final step, wait about an hour for your DNS settings to activate. If you attempt the final step before your settings are activated, we'll let you know with a warning message.

All registrars don't use "3600" second TTL.



That's 2 examples of possible problems.

Publishing a blog to a custom domain is so much easier - and produces more reliable results - if you follow basic principles.

  • Learn to use your registrar's zone editor.
  • Learn to read a Dig log.
  • Setup the DNS addresses, for your domain.
  • If necessary, add domain ownership verification.

Learn to use your registrar's zone editor.

The registrar dashboard / zone editor is the portion of the registrar's website, that is created to let you, the domain owner, setup your own domain.

The zone editor is unique, for every different registrar - just as every website is different. One of the signs of uniqueness is hinted, by Blogger.

Each CNAME is composed of two parts - Name, Label or Host and Destination, Target or Points to.

These two (only two) terms here refer to the most essential details, in the zone editor, that make your domain operational. The two details have no consistent names - so we use examples.

The first CNAME is the same for everyone, Name being "www" and Destination "ghs.google.com."

That one sentence is the most essential, for all domains. It looks so simple - but it's so easy to get it wrong. Not every blog owner will see "Name" and "Destination" in the zone editor display. This leads to many imaginative - and wrong - alternatives.

Each registrar labels their zone editor, as they see fit. I've seen other terms used, in addition to the 6 implied. Both "Name, Label or Host" and "Destination, Target or Points to" are merely three examples, for each of these two essential elements.

These details are only hinted, by the Blogger instructions.

  1. Go to your domain registrar's website and locate the DNS (Domain Name System) settings in the control panel.
  2. Now it's time to enter the CNAMEs. Where it says Name, Label or Host simply enter "www" and list ghs.google.com as the Destination, Target or Points to.

Learning how to look, in the zone editor, is much more reliable than being told what to look for.

Learn to read a Dig log.

Compared to the confusion behind the registrar's zone editor, a Dig log is simplicity.

There are three basic DNS configurations, which produce a reliable domain for publishing a Blogger blog. 99.99% of all blog owners will use only one of the three.

ourdomain.com. 3600 IN A 216.239.32.21
ourdomain.com. 3600 IN A 216.239.34.21
ourdomain.com. 3600 IN A 216.239.36.21
ourdomain.com. 3600 IN A 216.239.38.21
www.ourdomain.com. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.

This is the asymmetrical DNS address configuration. Excepting one known variation, the asymmetrical configuration - with no options - is most reliable.

Setup the DNS addresses, for your domain.

As long as you have access to the zone editor, and understand the above issues - "Learn to use your registrar's zone editor" and "Learn to read a Dig log" - the rest will fall into place.

Unfortunately, not everybody has zone editor access. Similar to Blogger dashboard access, registrar dashboard access is not always a done deal.

Even having zone editor access, the Blogger instructions can mislead.

  1. Optional: You can also enter A-records, which links your naked domain (example.com) to an actual site (www.example.com). If you skip this step, visitors who leave off the "www" will see an error page.
  2. Optional continued: After completing Step 8, enter your domain name in the format example.com, and list the I.P. addresses shown below in the "A" section. You'll need to create four separate A-records which point to four different Google IPs.

Many problems, reported in the forums, indicate that using the domain root properly is (should be indicated as) a necessity.


Once again, the domain root, configured properly, should not be suggested as an option.

  1. Before you move onto the final step, wait about an hour for your DNS settings to activate. If you attempt the final step before your settings are activated, we'll let you know with a warning message.

All registrars don't use one hour TTL.

Be careful of the TTL setting. Unless you know better, stick with the registrar's TTL setting - and try to understand the effects of TTL latency.

If necessary, add domain ownership verification.

Returning to the Blogger instructions, we see

The second CNAME is particular to your blog and your Google Account, and is therefore different for each person.

Not every blog owner will see the second CNAME - whether or not the domain is properly setup.

The Blogger dashboard Publishing wizard only displays the "Error 12", and the second CNAME, under specific conditions. In some cases, the blog will be published to the domain - and the second CNAME will not be provided.

You may not see the instructions for the second "CNAME", until your base addresses are right. If you need the second "CNAME", the "Error 12" display will provide details - when the base addresses redirect properly. If the blog publishes, a second "CNAME" is not necessary.

That is my suggestion. Get the addresses right, before you start - then publish to the domain URL.

If the blog publishes to the domain, and the addresses are wrong, the domain will be broken - or unreliable.

The bottom line.

It's good to have instructions, they suggest the need for proper domain setup technique. Just don't be surprised if following them blindly gives you a broken domain - and an offline blog.

If you are lucky, the blog will appear offline immediately after using the Publishing wizard - and you will know that there is a problem to be fixed. Other times, you (or some readers) might not realise a problem until months or years later.

In the latter case, we'll see you, one day, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
I published my blog to my private domain, last month - and the blog pageviews have been in the crapper, ever since!



The instructions supplied by #Blogger, for setting up a custom domain published blog, can be misleading. Blindly observed, they can lead to an immediately offline blog - or to a blog that is online for some, and intermittently offline for others.

https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/blogger/Jv0fT5cws3U

Dude, hit me with a comment!