When it comes to starting a blog, many people think either Blogger or WordPress.com. If you go for Blogger, your blog will be like this example: http://mobiliercopii.blogspot.com/ – something dot blogspot dot com. Similarly, WordPress blogs have names like http://bestofcats.wordpress.com/
Both blogging platforms are free, so one can try the excitement of blogging without having to spend any money. This is probably the cheapest hobby ever: free! Is it really? Well, after blogging for a while, you start seeing people linking to you, you make friends online, they link to your blog, then you participate in various contests or blog carnivals and again, people link to you. In fact, they don’t link to you, they link to Blogger. So, you start realizing that instead of giving away all this authority, you could own it. However, in order to benefit from that, you need to purchase your domain name. That’s about $11 per year for a .com domain name, so it’s still not too bad. Then you discover you need to buy hosting for your website. This adds a few USD per month, plus you need to be able to move your content from the free blogger blog to the self-hosted WordPress or whatever other CMS software you go for.
Blogger seized the opportunity and made a very smart move, allowing people to host their own domain names for free on blogger, without having to export any content and without needing to give up the blogger dashboard they’ve already been used to. This was the case of a friend of mine: she writes a very good blog where she reviews cosmetics, make-up products and other fashion goodies she buys: Adyna’s beauty & shopping blog. She had it on a Blogger name, then she decided to “move in a new house” and get her own domain name.
Hosting your custom domain name on blogger requires the following steps:
1. Find and buy a name. I use Godaddy.com for most of my domain names, but I have no idea if they are better than others. I like them because they have many discount coupon codes and because I have more than one domain name, so it all adds up when it comes to yearly renewals. If you wish to host your custom domain with Blogger, maybe it’s a good idea to buy the domain name from Blogger itself. In this case, you don’t need to read further, they will take care of setting it up for you.
2. Update the DNS servers
DNS stands for Domain Name system. Without entering too many technical details, it’s something that makes your website get displayed on the internet. In order to point your DNS servers to Blogger, you need to create a CNAME record for your domain name, associating it with ghs.google.com. Creating a CNAME record may differ from registrar to registrar, so you might want to check this with the company you bought your domain name from.
I’ll show you how to create a CNAME record with GoDaddy:
- Log in your GoDaddy account
- Click on View Domain Manager
- Click on the domain name you want to create the CNAME for. This is what you’ll see:
- With the default DNS servers set (NS21.DOMAINCONTROL.COM and NS22.DOMAINCONTROL.COM), you’ll see under the DNS Manager tab that you have a link saying Launch. Click on it.
Attention: if during your domain name purchasing process you set up the DNS servers to point to something else than the default GoDaddy ones, you won’t see the DNS Manager launch link. If this is your case, you just need to set nameservers to default, then follow the steps in this tutorial.
In this screen click on the second “Quick Add” button (which I marked with a red 1 on the image). A small table will open. In the first box, type www. In the second box, type ghs.google.com. The third box should show 1 Hour by default. If it doesn’t, choose 1 Hour from the drop down menu.
Attention: before doing this, check if you already have www somewhere in the CNAME table. If you do, GoDaddy won’t allow you to save a second entry for it, so you’ll have to edit the existing one. Editing it is simple: you just click on the text you want to change and you’ll be able to do it. Click on the @ and replace it with ghs.google.com.
- In the A (Host) section of the table, you need to create A NAME records for your domain:
You’ll need to click on Quick Add and add four entries. In the first box of each entry, you need to type yourdomainname.com (whatever your domain name is), then in the second box, each of the following IP addresses:
- Delete any other entry you might have in this section.
- Click on the black Save Zone File button at the top of the screen. You’ll notice that your domain name has been replaced with an @ in all entries. It’s fine.
Now your DNS setup should be complete, but beware that changes need up to 48 hours to propagate, therefore you might need to wait for this time before your new setup becomes active.
3. Update your blog’s settings in Blogger:
- In your blogger dashboard, go to Settings → Publishing
- You will see a link that says Switch to Custom Domain. Click on it.
- If you don’t have a domain name and you want to buy it from Blogger, enter your domain name in the box after http:// and click on Check Availability, then follow instructions.
- If you already have a domain name, click on Switch to advanced settings.
- Enter your domain name in the box after http://, like this www.yourdomainname.com. It won’t work without www.
- Enter the Word verification and click on Save settings.
- Check again the box which contains your domain name. Under it, you’ll see a line saying “Redirect yourdomainname.com to www.domainname.com. Tick the little square in front of this line, enter the Word verification again and click on Save settings.
Your custom domain name is now hosted on Blogger and the non-www version of the name is automatically redirected to the www. version.