Friday, February 12, 2010

Setting up a custom domain on Blogger - for domains bought through Google before 2015

This article is about domain administration for personal website addressed purchased through Blogger before 2015. 

Blogger and custom domains

Purchasing a custom domain from Blogger was pretty easy until they disabled the feature following some security issues, in 2013-ish.

Then it became impossible - you had to buy your domain name and DNS hosting elsewhere and then set it for your blog, yourself.

And it looks like it's going to become easy again, once Google Domains is fully implemented world-wide.

Important note:

The information in this article applies to custom domains that were purchased through Blogger before 2015.    (The feature was disabled for a good part of 2014, perhaps even all of it - so maybe that date can be earlier)

If you purchase a domain through Blogger from 2015 onwards - you will have a whole different experience.   I'll write a separate article for you when I know more about the process myself.

The effect of having a custom domain, aka a personal website address

Using a custom domain  means that you need to take a little more responsibility for the way your blog relates to the rest of the internet - and this is especially important if you may want to use the URL for something other than your blog in the future.

This isn't hard, and there is lots of support available on the Blogger-Help-Forums if you get stuck - just remember to tell the helpers there what has happened, and the web-address of your blog and your custom-domain.

Your domain-administration invitation

After you have purchased a custom domain (eg through Google (who use either the GoDaddy or eNom domain registrars), the Google account that did the purchase receives two emails.   One has an invoice, the other has some vital details, including:
  • How to get in to the Domain Manager, and 
  • How to get your you Google Apps domain.
Even if you feel nervous about managing our own domain, it is very important to set up at least one administrator account, and make sure that you will receive any emails that are sent to that account in future.

What's the minimum you need to do

If you have purchased a custom domain for your blog through Blogger, you need to do three things:
  1. Keep the email(s) telling you how to access the Domain Manager very carefully.  You may need this information in the future, if you change the way you want to use the domain, or for troubleshooting.
  2. UPDATE AS AT JUNE 2013:   I've kept the text below, because it's likely that it will be correct again in future.   But for now the procedure listed in the rest of this bullet point doesn't work.   Instead, follow the routine listed here:!searchin/apps/blogger/apps/msNceT1dEEQ/9j4Y_ZiLCFQJ
    Go into the Google Apps domain tool (the email in step 1 has a ink to use), and set up at least one account with administrator rights,  and make sure that you remember the password for it.   (This isn't an account that you'll be using very often).
  3. Go to Domain Settings > General and specify a secondary email for the administrator account  (just in case you ever do forget the password)UPDATE:  now, you do this during the domain purchase, so it's not necessary here.
  4. Unless you plan to use Google Apps email for the domain-administrator account often, then log in to Google-apps-mail for the admin account and set the forwarding address to an address that you do check regularly.   This is necessary because Google and the registrar (GoDaddy or eNom) may send important technical messages to the administrator account.

    Note:  Google Apps email looks a bit like Gmail, but it's not the same thing (today, anyway ;-)    You need to go to (for business), and then sign-in by entering your domain name (the one your purchased) and choosing "go to email".

During the domain set-up process, you may be asked if you want to activate in Google Sites.   Unless you want to manage the domain in Google Sites (unlikely, since you're reading this article about Blogger), the answer is NO.

What else can you do

As well as the domain-management essentials, there are a number of optional features that you may want to use - either when you first set up your custom domain, or perhaps a lot later when you want to use it in a more sophisitcated way.   The following notes are a very general taste of what's available - see Google Apps itself for the full range of options.

User accounts and services

If you have purchased a custom domain for your blog through Blogger, you can create up to 10 email addresses for free (more if you're using a paid version of Google Apps).

You can choose which other Google-apps services are available for these accounts (choose from Gmail, Google Calendar,  Docs, Sites, Talk - and many many others).  By default, these are all ON, but you may have reasons for wanting to disable them.


These are collections of  users, which you can set up here.  Each group has its own email address.


You are given the option to automatically renew your URL every year while you were creating the account:  if you've changed your main, you can change the option selected in the Domain Administration too.

Look and feel

Under Domain Settings > Appearance, you can set Google Apps to use your logo when your domain-users are accessing other services (Gmail, Calendar, Sites etc) on your domain.   I don't do this if a domain is just for my own use, but it can be helpful to remind people exactly which gmail (etc) they're using.


Under Advanced tools > Authentication, you can require verification (via a code sent to the user's mobile phone) when someone logs in from a new or unrecognised computer.

... and more

There are other options under the domain manager.   Some of them won't be relevant to people who are using a custom domain just for a one-person blog, but some of them could be handy.

Related Articles

Automatically renewing your Custom Domain

Linking Blogs and Websites.

Using a custom domain for something other than your blogger blog

Using a "foreign" custom domain for your blog

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