October 24, 2007

A better way to set up your custom domain?

When Jason pointed out an article by Blog Bloke which claims to be the best way to set up your Blogger custom domain, I popped over to take a look at the differences. Indeed Blog Bloke's solution is a very good method to use: this ensures both your www and non-www url both point to your blog quite easily, whereas my preferred method requires a little more customization to perform the same function. Both methods have their advantages and drawbacks, as I shall explain here.

As Blog Bloke points out, many Bloggers who have set up their custom domain do not redirect visitors to their non-www address (eg: http://myblog.com) to their www address (eg: http://www.myblog.com), instead leaving their "parked" page in place, which can be quite frustrating for visitors who forget to add that www in the address bar, not to mention off-putting!

Both Blog Bloke and I agree that it is useful to have redirection in place for your non-www url, though our solutions are slightly different.

Amanda's Custom Domain Method

I use GoDaddy as my domain provider, and my method for setting up your domain with GoDaddy requires three steps:

  1. Set up your custom domain by changing the CNAME records and the settings in your Blogger dashboard.
  2. Activate your free hosting account
  3. Upload a redirect page, which redirects visitors to your www blog url.

While this may seem like a lot to do in order to ensure all visitors to your URL actually get to your blog, I do have good reason for doing things this way. When you set up a redirect page at your non-www url, you can explain that your blog is located at www.myblog.com to ensure bookmarks are correctly formed. Most importantly, when you activate your free GoDaddy hosting, you can utilize this space to host images, scripts and files on your own domain.

Blog Bloke's Custom Domain Method

Blog Bloke's method ensures you only need to set up your custom domain. He advises that you don't change the CNAME records, and instead utilize the "A" records and domain forwarding to ensure your custom domain name points to your Blog*Spot URL. This is a much simpler and cleaner method, and ensures that your non-www automatically redirects visitors to your www domain.

However, this method means you cannot create an informative redirection page, and makes the use of your hosting space a little more complicated as you would need to set up sub-domains in order to make your hosted files accessible. Nonetheless it is a good method, and from what I have read this does work effectively.

Which method should you use?

This depends entirely on your own preferences, but here is some advice to help you decide for yourself:

  • If you want a quick and easy method, go for Blog Bloke's method. For this, you don't need to set up your hosting account or create and upload a redirect page to ensure all visitors get to your blog.
  • If you want to provide info about your URL, and make good use of the free hosting space available to you, you may wish to consider my method instead. Fair enough, it does take a little longer to set up, and requires a little more effort, so it may not be the ideal solution for everyone.

Why not let me know which method you prefer to use by leaving your comments below?

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