If you are wanting a custom domain name for your website or blog and are using Blogger it is very simple (and cheap) to use a 'vanity URL'. Geekalicious is hosted on Blogger and I bought the domain name www.geekalicious.co.uk to give it a more professional and memorable feel.
Here is a comprehensive guide which shows you exactly how to buy your custom domain name from 123-reg.co.uk and how to set up the redirection. Please click the images to enlarge them.
Buy Your Domain Name
To buy your domain name from 123-reg.co.uk navigate to their home page and search for your preferred URL. This will create a menu of domain names that are available and will also feature the ones that are not available.
Using the drop-down menus onsite select the domain name(s) you want to purchase and the time frame you would like to own that domain name for then head to the checkout screen. Create an account with 123-reg if you are a new customer (or log into your existing account) and use your preferred payment method to pay for domain name(s).
Setting Up The Domain Name
Once you have purchased your domain name log into your control panel, select your domain name from the drop down menu and hit the Manage button. This will take you to the overview page for your domain name where you can see the date you purchased your domain name, the expiry date and edit auto-renewal payment methods. Scroll down slightly to the "Advanced domain settings" section and click on the "Manage DNS" link.
Switch to the Advanced DNS tab and enter the exact commands in the image below (click to enlarge) using the Hostname section and the drop-down menus. Click Add after each input to save.
EDITED TO ADD
w.e.f. March 2013 : an additional line is needed. Add in the information below.
Hostname : 4LRXPHK7RRAW
Type : CNAME
Destination : gv-JBV4LVLWX6EUEN.dv.googlehosted.com.
(note: you need to include the dot at the end of that destination code)
- The www 22.214.171.124 command refers to the domain hosting package that 123.reg are providing
- The CNAME command specifies that the domain name is an alias of another
- The www 126.96.36.199 and the three other similar commands refer to the hosting packaging that Blogger are providing
Setting Up Blogger With Your Domain Name
Open your Blogger dashboard and navigate to Settings > Basic then scroll down to Publishing. Click "add a custom domain" and then "switch to advanced settings". Enter your domain name into the box and SAVE. Your domain name will be displayed with an edit button next to it. The original blog name will be shown underneath with redirects displayed next to it. Hit the edit button and tick the box that says "redirect yourdomainname.com to www.yourdominname.com" (this ensures that when the www. is missed off in the address bar the website/blog is still displayed).
That's it! You've done it!
Your redirection may take up to 48 hours to register but I have experienced it happening a lot quicker recently - sometimes almost immediately.
Web ForwardingAs mentioned in the Hints and Tips section below, it is a good idea to buy as many forms of the domain as possible. To utilise these you can forward them all to the main address by using the web forwarding facility. The example I am using here is for my personal blog Typecast. This is called a "301" redirect and informs search engines (such as Google) that the indexed page is your main (permanent) web address. You can use a "302" redirect (temporary) if you intend to change the settings again in the near future.
From the 123-reg control panel click on the link "Web Forwarding" in the Domain Basics section.
Find the web address you want to forward and click "Add"
Ensure you are using the "permanent forwarding" tab and complete the information as required. Click "Confirm" when you have finished.
If you have any questions please let me know in the comments.
Hints and Tips
- Imagine a custom domain name or vanity URL as a beautiful blanket placed over a tatty duvet. Everything is the same underneath but it looks nicer.
- Your archive (all your old blog posts) will be updated with the new domain name.
- Links in to the new domain - or internal links - will be automatically redirected but it is good practice to fix update as many as you can. Start with your own internal links and then politely request that friends update their blog roll or any links they have pointing to your blog.
- Subscribers that receive updates from services that use your RSS feed (e.g. by email or Google Reader) will continue to receive those updates as your feed remains unchanged using this method.
- Your Page Rank will reset to n/a or 0 (zero). Fix your links (see above) and continue to blog, linking in and out naturally, and your Page Rank will upgrade at the next update.
- Consider everywhere you promote your blog and where you may be mentioned or ranked. All these will need to be informed of your new URL.
- If you have used the rel="canonical" command to prevent Blogger changing the extention (.com) part of your blogspot address to represent the country of the reader (e.g. .co.uk for the UK, .fr for France) you will have to remove this command from your template.
- You will receive an email reminder when your domain name is due for renewal but it is good practice to try and remember yourself. If you do not renew the domain name on the renewal date it will be made available for another buyer. Some buyers have alerts set up to purchase domain names that have not been renewed and will attempt to sell them back to you at a much higher price. If you did not renew your domain name your blog would revert back to the original name, e.g. geekaliciousUK.blogspot.com
- If you have the budget and the domains are available it is sometimes a good idea to purchase as many forms of your domain as possible, i.e. co.uk, .com, .org. You can redirect all of these into the main URL using the instructions above and visitors are directed to the main website no matter what version of the top level domain they type.
Additional note. This post has not been provided by or sponsored by 123-reg.co.uk but after using a few hosting management services I find that they have the most user-friendly control panel for beginners.