Sep 23, 2011

Transferring my Blogger.com blog and custom domain to GoDaddy for hosting and dns management

I've just transfer my custom domain over to GoDaddy to do my DNS and domain management there.  Since I no longer had a hosting plan with HostGator, only a domain management plan, it seems they would not allow me to add custom A records to my domain, which is critical to getting Blogger to work with a custom domain.

So I signed up at GoDaddy and initiated the domain transfer. It wasn't too painful. Clicking on some confirmation emails, entering some keys that were emailed to me to verify that I owned the email account associated with the domain, unlocking my domain at HostGator, talk to HostGator chat support and getting them to send me an authorization code to approve the transfer.  Then I just had to wait a day or two until I received an email from HostGator saying the domain was ready to be transferred and asking me to click a button to approve it.

Once I got the domain into the GoDaddy system, I went to the Domain Manager, selected my domain and hit the Namersevers button. I told it I wanted to "park" my domain and use all of the default GoDaddy nameservers.  

Then I went to DNS Manager and clicked on Edit Zones under my domain name. Here is where you enter your custom A records. Just hit the Quick Add button in the "A (host)" section and add these records...

yourdomain.com    216.239.32.21
yourdomain.com    216.239.34.21
yourdomain.com    216.239.36.21
yourdomain.com    216.239.38.21 

Then go down to the CName (Alias) section and add the following record...

www   ghs.google.com

In my case, I already had a www record there that was setup by default. I'm not positive but I thought that might cause I problem so I deleted the other WWW record.  Might cause problems if you had the same subdomain pointing to two different destinations.

So then you just go back into your Blogger settings, switch your publishing destination to be your *.blogspot.com address for a moment, save settings, switch back to custom domain (advanced settings) and enter in your full domain name - www.jasonhartman.net.    Then you can also check the box that says to redirect the naked domain to the full domain name with WWW.    My blog is now working fine, with and without WWW in the address.

I initially had some problems because I went into GoDaddy first before I started the actual domain transfer and set some Offsite DNS settings and indicated that this domain soon would be transferred to GoDaddy. But it seems that it didn't transfer in correctly, because the Domain Manager showed my domain name twice - one of them said (Pending Transfer).  So I just deleted that one and started off with the new clean domain and all the default settings for DNS stuff.

I think this issue also lead to some other early problems trying to get my email account and email forwarding accounts working.  After I would create an email account, the status of the account would change to "Pending setup: validating MX record" and never seemed to leave that status, even if it was just a forwarding account to bounce my mail to another server.  But once I got rid of the bad domain, parked the new domain and reset all of the nameservers to the defaults, I could create email accounts and email forwarders with no problems.