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Custom Domain Purchase, And Zone Editor Access

We periodically see signs of naivete, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, about registrar dashboard access.
How do I add addresses to my domain?
How do I move my domain, to Square Space (Tumblr, WordPress)?
How do I terminate my automatic yearly domain registration?
Too many blog owners treat their registrar accounts as other blog owners treat their Blogger accounts.

When it becomes time to access the registrar's dashboard (or zone editor) too many blog owners are unprepared. Having not bothered to access the zone editor previously, they have no idea how to start - and since they now have a real need to change registration options, change DNS, migrate the domain, ... they panic. And after panicking, they blame Blogger for not telling them, long ago, to setup and maintain the registrar dashboard access account.

In some cases, neither Blogger or Google had anything to do with a domain purchase. Identifying domains purchased directly from a registrar, some time in the past, can be the first challenge, when dealing with a panicked domain owner.

There are 3 different ways that a domain may have been purchased.
  1. Directly from a registrar.
  2. From a registrar through Blogger / Google, using "Buy a domain ..." (Blogger) or a Google equivalent.
  3. From Google, using Google Domains.

Registrar direct purchase
The process of buying a domain directly from a registrar - with registrar provided dashboard / zone editor access - is the method most used currently. It is also the method which presents us with the most challenge.
  • All registrars do not provide the right options / services, for hosting a Blogger custom domain.
  • Some registrars have helpful tech staff, who provide bogus advice, and ignore Blogger instruction.
  • When help with correcting a bogus setup is needed, we cannot provide as complete advice, because we are not familiar with all registrar dashboards.
One of the benefits of custom domain publishing is that a Blogger custom domain is capable of working with almost every registrar in the world - and this becomes its biggest weakness.

If this will be your first domain, I recommend Google Domains - if you live in the USA. Registrar direct is a good choice, for experienced domain owners - but not for novices.

Theoretically, a Blogger custom domain is capable of working with any non Google website, in a domain cluster. Not all Google competitor services are this versatile; some services require the use of specific registrars or name servers.

Universal registrar compatibility is an advantage for Blogger - and a disadvantage too. That aside, when it comes time to renew or migrate a domain, purchased directly from a registrar, the blog owner has only to contact the registrar directly. Neither Blogger Help, Blogger, or Google is involved with registrar direct purchases.

Buy a domain
The most popular purchase method, which is no longer available. is "Buy a domain for your blog" (aka "Buy a domain") - or a Google equivalent, used by some blog owners. "Buy a domain" was a popular Blogger dashboard option, for several years. It offered an attractive package price of $10 USD for the domain, with several options that would be extra cost when buying registrar direct.

Besides the popular purchase price, "Buy a domain" provided automatic setup of the 4 x "A" + "CNAME" configuration, aka "asymmetrical" DNS configuration - with registrar dashboard / zone editor not involved. When it worked properly, domains purchased were turnkey operations. You could buy a domain now, have the blog online in 15 minutes, and have the search engines start indexing in 2 - 3 days.

"Buy a domain" did have several drawbacks, though.
  • The online purchase process required two parallel processes - bank payment and DNS configuration. The two processes did not always work together.
  • The purchase could be made from a limited number of countries, because the electronic international banking process did not support all countries.
  • Registrar access, for "Buy a domain" purchases, was provided through the Control Panel / Google Apps dashboard. Setting up Control Panel access, using the Google Admin login, and the Google Apps domain account, was not a simple task.

Google Domains
Now, we have a third purchase method - Google Domains. A Google Domains purchase only involves the domain registration, with DNS setup done by the blog owner, using a clean and lean dashboard / zone editor. This makes the electronic banking more reliable, both domestically and internationally. Instead of using Control Panel / Google Apps, Google Domains uses the standard Google "One account" login, and the Google account that most blog owners will use for Blogger / GMail / YouTube etc.

Google Domains is a vast improvement over both registrar direct and "Buy a domain" purchases, even though it requires DNS setup by the blog owner - though right now, for USA residents only. The Google Domains dashboard / zone editor is easier to use than either of the dashboards provided by eNom and GoDaddy, the "Buy a domain" registrars. And both the flaky eNom DNS service, and the bogus GoDaddy DNS setup advice, will become things of the past.

With Google Domains using a standard Google "One account" login, neither the registrar login, nor Google Control Panel / Google Apps, will be involved to access the Google Domains dashboard / zone editor.


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