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Blogger Magic - How To Setup A Custom Domain

A blog, published to a custom domain, is like magic. It involves smoke and mirrors - and a bit of redirection.

And, it helps to follow directions.

Setting up, and publishing, a custom domain is not difficult - as long as you understand the requirements.

  1. Buy the domain, from a competent, full service registrar.
  2. Get the DNS addresses right.
  3. Publish the blog, to the domain.
  4. Manage the migration process.

Buy the domain, from a competent, full service registrar.

A properly setup custom domain starts with a carefully chosen registrar - and properly purchased DNS Hosting service.

If you are a resident of one of the countries that is serviced by Google Domains, you can purchase a domain from them. If not, you will need a third party registrar. If you can use eNom or GoDaddy, that would be a good second choice.

Having a working DNS starts with proper domain setup, by the registrar, on their DNS servers.

Get the DNS addresses right.

Once the registrar has setup the domain, your job is to use the registrar dashboard (aka the "zone editor"), and add the DNS addresses, to point to Blogger. Understand and observe zone editor syntax, required by the registrar.

There are many things in life that can be free - but custom domain publishing won't be one. Learn about the purchase of proper service.

If you have just purchased the domain that you are setting up, check your email for a message from ICANN, and provide a verifiable administrative email address. This appears to be a special vulnerability with Google Domains purchased domains.

99% of the people reading this will use one DNS address model. Proper DNS addresses are essential, to a stable and working custom domain.

Understand and observe DNS latency. Most registrars will use 1/2 to 1 hour latency - but some will use 3, 4, or even 24 hours.

The latency, or TTL, is set by each registrar, to help them maintain and operate their servers as best possible. If you are not otherwise experienced, use the standard registrar TTL value.

To make a stable domain more likely, wait twice the latency period, after you verify proper DNS addresses, before continuing with the second step.

Publish the blog, to the domain.

Use the Blogger dashboard Publishing wizard, at Settings - Basic, and publish the blog, to the domain. The URL published will be determined by the DNS addresses already added.

With most new domains, you will be required to verify domain ownership. This will require a second use of the zone editor - and proper use of instructions, provided by the Publishing wizard.

Be observant, if you repeatedly see the "Third-party domain settings" display - even after you have carefully followed the instructions.

Once the blog is published properly, redirect the domain root to the published URL. Blogger Help would make you believe that this is an optional step - but they are wrong.

Manage the migration process.

With the domain properly published, and addresses uniformly propagated around the Internet, let your readers know about your shiny new blog address. Don't worry if some don't get the word, immediately - the BlogSpot URL will continue to work, as long as you own the blog.

Besides your readers, you should be mindful of the search engines, and of non Google services. With the blog still indexed under the BlogSpot URL, you'll get some traffic - but until the domain is indexed, you'll get less traffic than you should.

Not all non Google services will follow the BlogSpot to domain redirection - and some may have to be updated, carefuly. If you use AdSense on the blog, you will have to apply for an AdSense account upgrade. The upgrade goes best with the new domain operational - but after you have verified your legal mailing address, with the blog published to BlogSpot.

The migration process is the most complicated part of the project - and it's the least predictable too. But if you remain aware of the possibilities, and plan the effort, it will go by pretty fast - and some weeks later, you'll be busy with the blog, and the domain - and migration will simply be a memory.


"Read the Directions"--good advice, but they are sometimes difficult to interpret. I have WP installed on the domain; will it matter if those files are present when I point the domain to the BlogSpot blog?
Chuck Croll said…
Hi Deanne,

Thanks for the comment. Writing directions in all languages and to suit all tech levels just is not possible, unfortunately. We just do what we can.

Where are those files being hosted? If you point the domain to the Blogger blog properly, those files will cease to be visible - without some tweaking. What is the relevance of those files, to the re published blog?
No relevance. I pointed the files hours ago, still not showing. Although, I have not received any verification requests. Under 3rd party domain settings, the error message reads "We have not been able to verify your authority to this domain. Error 12" The domain, "" was originally registered so that my identity was not readily visible. Could that be the problem. Perhaps I should just get a new domain. :-/ Boy, am I out of date w/regards to blogs and AdSense.
Chuck Croll said…
Alright, Deanne,

We have a bit to discuss. You'll do better to post in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, so we can get yo sorted.
Thanks for your help through all this, Chuck! I ended up buying another domain and GoDaddy walked me through the process. All is working :-). Now, to try and get those ads up :-/.

I appreciate your time. Have a wonderful week.
Chuck Croll said…
That's great news, Deanne. Thanks for the update!

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