Oct 8, 2011

Question: Can I use my own domain name with my Blogger site? Will hosting still be free?

Coming across a blog that is using a blogspot.com address, like yourblog.blogspot.com, tells us one of two things: that the owner doesn't know that giving the site a custom domain name is easy and inexpensive, or that they don't take their blog seriously. How serious could it be if they won't spend just $10 on a domain in order to customize the first, most important aspect of your site, your URL.

(yes, we've kept blogspot.com on this blog, but that is INTENTIONAL!)

Using Google's Blogger service you are able to quickly and easily customize your blog to use either an existing domain or one that you can purchase through the site. This isn't a service charge as you could buy the domain elsewhere and still use it, and unlike the other blog services (like Wordpress) the ability to do this doesn't cost you extra.

If you don't own a domain

Google is not the cheapest registrar for buying your domain, however, the difference in costs is less than $5 and the difference in simplicity is worth much more than that if you're not technically inclined. Google also provides complete DNS management, customized email addresses using their Gmail service and other services they provide through their Google Apps. The other services that Google provides will come in handy in the next articles.

The steps for getting a custom domain set up for your blog start at the "Settings" tab and clicking on the "Publishing" sub-navigation item. Click on the "Custom Domain" link and the screen will switch to the domain purchasing screen. At this point you have the option of either purchasing a new domain name or you can click on "switch to advanced settings" in order to point a domain purchased elsewhere to your blog.



After purchasing your domain you'll see a message below that Blogger will automatically redirect readers who might be going to your freebie name to your website under the new domain name.

If you already own a domain

So you've decided to go the harder way, eh? Don't worry, it's not that difficult. The nice thing is that Google has already written instructions for you to follow for some of the most common domain registrars.


You'll need to set up the DNS entries with the registrar first THEN do the settings in the Blogger system. It might take 24-48 hrs for your DNS changes to propagate, or it might be immediate... such is the Internet.

Adding your blog to an existing domain

Lots of companies use their domain for their corporate website but then want to have a blog that is affiliated with their company. For a corporate blog the logical URL for you to set up is "blog.yourcompany.com". This is easily accomplished by adding a CNAME record to your DNS through your registrar that looks like:

blog -/- CNAME -/- ghs.google.com.

Once you've added this line to your DNS registry follow the same directions as above.

The nice thing about changing the URL of your blog to a custom domain is that, instead of looking like a cheap, disposable blog, the site now begins to look like time and effort have been invested in the site.