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Friday, 8 November 2013

Custom Domain setup on Blogger with GoDaddy


Organisations need a simple and memorable web address, a website name that visitors will remember when they want to find you on the internet.  And one that represents you well.  e.g Twitter.com, www.HP.com

Choosing a domain names in a sentence means - short, easy to spell, memorable, descriptive, just letters and have a .Com extension. Unfortunately most of short names are now not available. (More on these points in a future post..).

The purpose of domain names incidentally is to represent in Human readable terms the underlying  internet protocols e.g 216.239.32.21  which is by the way an IP for Blogger you will see later.

The purpose of this post is however to describe how Blogger users can put any other web address in front of their blogspot address. So instead of www.blodger.blogspot.co.uk  you may prefer Blodger.com or www.blodger.com. To get another web address or domain you obviously need to think of one, and then normally pay for one from an hosting service/registrar such a GoDaddy. See registrar list here or here for others.

Before we start on the detail, just a quick overview of domain names which may help later on. Domain names consists of a number of parts, technically called labels, that are delimited by dots, such as www.blodger.com

.Com is the top level domain

blodger is the subdomain of the top level domain
www is a subdomain of blodger.com

The top level domains which include  com, net and org for example are the highest level of domain names on the Internet. Top level domains also include country types such as co.uk and more new ones are continually being added see here and here

The second level domain names are generally used as the main descriptor google.com, or gov.co.uk

The third level domain name is used to describe essentially the types , i.e www for world wide web, FTP or mail . It is not needed.

This full name is often called the address or URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

A CNAME is an entry within the domain system which will allow you to point the domain at a particular site.
You can have multiple CNAMEs for your domain name. As above if you just type in blodger.com in address bar of web browser it will get to the site. Most domain names have an WWW CNAME entry, and hence within the domain administration you can insert an address to go to if someone types in www.blodger.com, ie. take it to blogger. you can also put something in if someone only types ww.blodger.com, (i.e put in the same things as WWW. You can also redirect to another site completely. And indeed Blogger at this time ask for you to put in two CNAME entries (more below)


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So these are the steps required to get your Blogger site (or any other) fronted by another domain name using GoDaddy. GoDaddy have now got a special tool to allow you to automatically configure your DNS . Use this Tool Here.  To do to it manually follow the following instructions.

Ensure you have valid domain set up via a registrar such as GoDaddy.

Enter Blogger administrator and for the blog that you want to front with a new domain name, go to Settings - Basic menu to add a Custom domain. Click on the Add custom domain link


And type in your custom domain



If at this stage you press on the Save button Blogger will present a message "We have not been able to verify your authority to this domain. Error 12. 




In here we can see the two CNAMES that we will need to enter in GoDaddy
Leave page open and/or take a note or copy to notepad.
[N.B. The second CNAME entry incidentally is a  Blogger security measure]

Next login into your GoDaddy account(in a separate browser tab), and then view My Account



Click the Launch button on the Domains line as below


On the Domains tab click on the DNS menu item to bring up the DNS manager link and click that.



On the new screen click on Edit zone for the domain name that you intend to use


The first entries we need to change for Blogger are the A Host records. Here we will add 4 I.P. address's by simply clicking on the Quick Add button. This brings up a line with two text boxes in. In the first we will enter the @ symbol and in the second the IP address 216.239.32.21. After this click the Quick Add button again and do the same thing except change the IP address to 216.239.34.21. (Note is it 34 not 32). The we add two more IP's 216.239.36.21. and 216.239.38.21.


 



Next we need to insert the CNAME record. As above the expectation is that a WWW entry will already exist but will probably have an @ symbol instead of a domain. If it does then we need to edit the record by clicking on the pencil icon next to the text box. When the text box is available to enter text, then enter ghs.google.com. If the WWW record does not exist then use Quick Add to add WWW in the HOST text box, and  ghs.google.com in the points to box. Leave the default TTL setting. 



As you know from above, Blogger now also insists that you need to set up a second CNAME for security purposes. The second CNAME will be like the followng example Host: hqzzzn56a3ri, which points to for example gv-oc7x5vzzzqxirt.dv.googlehosted.com

When you have these details then add as per next diagram 



Once you have entered  this then click on the Save button in the top right hand corner - see below. A prompt will ask you to OK this


 After hitting Ok you will see warning about how long it takes



Note that there may be time gap between the operations. 

Next go back to Blogger administrator and again go to Settings - Basic menu to add a Custom domain. If the page that you previously used is still up then try saving again otherwise Click on the Add custom domain link again take the same steps as above. This time you will also note a redirect to blodger check box appears. Check this and Save 




Next go into any browser and type in your new domain name. It should (eventually) redirect straight to your Blogger blog. 


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Backup your Blogger site


Although Blogger is probably one of the most reliable hosting systems it is wise to regularly backup your posts and templates. If you make modifications to either your layout or template there will be many times when you want to go back and start again. You may accidentally delete one of your posts for example. 

If you have time then then the ideal is to backup before you make any update and then store the posts and templates in two places. 

You can store them by downloading to your computer and then copying to another location (preferably offsite using Google Drive, Dropbox, Box or other cloud repository.

Another option is to backup then restore to another backup Blogger site.

To backup your template you enter Designer view and click on Template link on the left command column. In the top right hand corner of Blogger screen you can see the Backup/Restore button. Click on this.





This brings up the Template Backup/Restore dialogue.  (as it warns "Before editing your template, you may want to save a copy of it." ).




You should then find a file in your my documents /downloads folder called template-193030303 .. xml or something similar. Rename this to your blogname and add a date .  e.g blodgertemplate12Oct2013.xml

Youy can export and save your blog posts (and pages) by going into Designer view and clicking on Settings link on the left command column. Then going to the Other link



This brings up the screen above, where you can click on the Export link. This then bring up the Save As dialogue box were you can choose where to save your posts.

If you want to restore an old template or restore old posts you go via the same links as above but for restoring a template you click on the Restore rather than Backup link, and for posts it is Import rather than Export.

I prefer to delete everything from a blog site to be restored to. If old posts exist then they will just be added to.









 

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