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Troubleshooting Custom Domain Issues

If you are trying to make your custom domain published blog work, see my guide Troubleshooting Your Custom Domain Problems.

If you want to know how to setup a custom domain properly, from the beginning - and avoid the need for Troubleshooting - read Setting Up DNS Addresses For Custom Domains. Avoid the most basic mistakes made - read The Simplicity Of A Custom Domain Setup.

If you just setup your custom domain - and want to minimise the effects of the URL change upon your search engine relationships - read Managing The Migration.

If you're just browsing, then read on - but get a good cup of coffee first. And welcome, to Nitecruzr Dot Net.

Troubleshooting Your Custom Domain Problems

Of the many accessories and features in Blogger, Custom Domain Publishing is possibly the most problematic.

Looking at the Labels index in this blog, I see the Custom Domains label on 363 posts (as of 2015/06/15) - which makes it one of the most heavily labeled single topics here. There are several challenges with diagnosing and resolving a custom domain problem.
  • It has various different causes.
  • It leads to many different symptoms, which can easily be confused for other problems.
  • Its symptoms can be chronic or intermittent- and may be immediate, or may take months to exhibit themselves.
  • It may require resolution by any blog guest, by the blog owner, by Blogger Support, and / or by a third party such as the domain registrar.



As you read this article, click on some of the many links in the text, and read the linked articles.

Please think of this article as the first chapter in a very large book - right now, a book with 363 chapters.


How To Use This Guide

These are the known custom domain publishing diagnoses. Here's a brief, one line summary of the problems, which are discussed, in some detail, farther below. Click on any one, if it looks promising, to jump to the detail discussion.



Domain Purchase Unsuccessful
  • The domain will not be setup. The blog may, or may not, be published to the domain.
  • This will follow use of "Buy a domain".
  • The primary symptoms will vary. We see both "404 Not Found", and "Another blog is already hosted at this address", fairly common for this problem.
  • This will be an issue for newly purchased domains.
  • It will be diagnosed by use of the WhoIs log showing "xxxxxxx.xxx appears to be available", and verified by examination of the Google Checkout logs, and bank account ledger entries.
  • The blog owner generally has to correct a problem with his bank account, then repeat the purchase of the domain.


Only Name Registration Purchased, No DNS Hosting
  • The domain will not be setup, nor the blog published to the domain.
  • This will follow domain registration, purchased from a third party registrar.
  • The primary symptom will be the query "What are the DNS servers for Google?", "I need 2 IP addresses for my domain!", or "I can only change NameServer1, NameServer2 in my domain setup!".
  • This will be an issue for newly purchased domains.
  • It will be diagnosed by the stated symptom, with the blogger confirming the diagnosis by checking the registrar's invoice to see what services were paid for.
  • The blogger will have to arrange for DNS hosting - free or paid - but choose the right DNS hosting service. A free third party DNS hosting service may be useful, in this case.


Domain Addresses Not Defined
  • The blog will not be successfully published to the domain.
  • This will follow domain registration using "Buy a domain".
  • The primary symptom will be "Another blog is already hosted at this address", in the Settings - Basic - Publishing display.
  • This will occur for new custom domains.
  • It will be diagnosed using an excerpted Dig log, for both domain URLs.
  • Here, the blogger will be advised to contact Google Apps Support, for any domain purchase issues.


Domain Ownership Not Verified


Non Google DNS server Part Of Configuration


Domain Addresses Not Properly Chosen


Domain Previously Registered, And Used In Blogger
  • A Blogger blog was successfully published to the domain, at one time - by a different person. It is now not successfully published.
  • This may follow domain registration, purchased from a third party registrar, or using "Buy a domain".
  • The primary symptom will be "Another blog ...", when attempting to publish / re publish the blog to the domain.
  • It will be diagnosed using an excerpted Dig log, for the BlogSpot, and both domain, URLs.
  • It will be resolved using the Custom Domain Reset form - and much patience by the current domain owner.


Domain Registration Expired


Blog Published To Domain, Using Mixed Case URL
  • The blog will be successfully published to the domain, but will not be visible from either BlogSpot or domain URLs.
  • This may follow domain registration, purchased from a third party registrar, or using "Buy a domain".
  • The primary symptom will be a "404 Not Found", when attempting to view the blog using either the BlogSpot or domain URLs.
  • This will, typically, occur for new custom domains, immediately after the end of the 3 Day Transition Period.
  • It will be diagnosed using a RexSwain HTTP Trace set, starting from the BlogSpot URL.
  • It is typically resolved by publishing the blog back to BlogSpot, then re publishing to the correct URL, using all lower case letters.


Blog Published To Domain Root, But Asymmetrical DNS Used
  • The blog will not be successfully published to the domain.
  • This may follow domain registration, purchased from a third party registrar, or using "Buy a domain" - though "Buy a domain" will be far more commonly seen.
  • The primary symptom will be a "404 Not Found", when attempting to view the blog using either the BlogSpot or domain URLs - or the warning "Blogs may not be hosted at naked domains." or "Another blog or Google Site is already using this address.", when trying to publish or re publish the blog to the domain.
  • This will, typically, occur for new custom domains.
  • It will be diagnosed using a RexSwain HTTP Trace set, starting from the BlogSpot URL, and confirmed with a screen print of the Publishing wizard display, taken as the blog owner sees the error message in question.
  • It is typically resolved by publishing to the "www" alias.


Domain Redirected To Google Ad Services, Sites, or Start Page URL


Blog Published Partially, To The Custom Domain URL


Internal Blogger Database Corruption


The Blog And Domain Are In Transition
  • The domain will be setup - but will not redirect. The blog will be published to the domain URL.
  • This will follow use of "Buy a domain".
  • The primary symptom will be seen only by the owner (when properly logged in to Blogger). When clicking on the "View Blog" dashboard button / link, the owner will see an "In Transition" display.
  • This will be a temporary issue, for newly purchased domains, successful purchased.
  • It will be diagnosed using an excerpted Dig log, for the BlogSpot, and both domain, URLs.
  • It will go away, when Transition expires, 72 to 96 hours after successful domain purchase and registration. The blog, and the domain, will then redirect properly.
  • While you wait for Transition to expire, spend time reading what you will want to do, when Transition is complete.


All Issues May Not Be Yet Discussed Here
You could, occasionally, have a problem which is not diagnosed in this Guide - and in that case, please ask for help, politely, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.

Before asking for help, you can help the helpers if you have tried some affinity diagnostics or maybe some differential diagnostics - and if you are aware that not all problems may be exclusively caused by Blogger. And have some idea how many possibilities exist, for problems.

And if it's not too late, read Blogger Magic - How To Setup A Custom Domain, and Setting Up DNS Addresses For Custom Domains, before you start.

"Delete permanently" Means Delete, Permanently

For a long time, blog owners have been requiring the ability to delete their blogs.

In the beginning, people would delete a blog - whether intentionally or mistakenly - then change their mind, or realise their mistake.
I did not really want to delete my blog.
And the inevitable question.
How do I get my very important blog back? Surely, it's in your computer somewhere??
But this question was not always answered, with encouragement.

Too often, Blogger Support would be forced to give the bad news.
You deleted it, and it's gone.

Blogger added the "Deleted blogs" dashboard list.

Eventually, Blogger Support tired of providing negative answers - and Blogger Engineers added the "Deleted blogs" display, to the dashboard.

A blog, deleted by the owner, and listed under "Deleted blogs", can be recovered by the owner, when desired - up to 90 days from deletion. Unfortunately, the dashboard "Deleted blogs" list was not the final solution.

Some blog owners did not want a deleted blog listed, under "Deleted blogs".

Some people would delete a blog - then sometime later, learn that the blog was not really deleted.
I deleted my blog - but now I see it listed, under "Deleted blogs". How do I delete my blog, so it does not exist?
And the answer.
Wait 90 days - and it will be removed.
But that answer did not always satisfy.
I can't wait 90 days - I want it deleted, now!
And for that requirement, there was no answer.

Blogger recently added the "Remove permanently" option.

Recently, Blogger added the "Delete permanently" option, to the dashboard "Deleted blogs" list. Now, a deleted blog can be removed immediately, at the discretion of the blog owner.

  • A blog, when deleted, goes offline - and is moved to the "Deleted blogs" list.
  • If the owner wants the blog restored, he can use "Restore blog".
  • If the owner wants the blog gone, he can use "Delete permanently".

And, as noted in Blogger Help: Back up, import, or delete your blog

  • When you delete a blog: you have a short period of time to restore it if you change your mind.
  • When you permanently delete a blog: all of your blog information, posts, and pages will be deleted, and you won’t be able to restore them.

And one additional advice.
Note: After a blog is permanently deleted, the blog’s URL cannot be used again.

The "Delete permanently" option can't be reversed.

The option "Delete permanently" has final and immediate results.

  • The blog is removed from "Deleted blogs".
  • The blog contents cannot be restored.
  • The URL can never be re used.

In the words of the philosopher,
He's dead, Jim.
End of story.

Let's examine the deletion sequence.

Here's my dashboard home page - showing my test blog, awaiting deletion. Compare this display, with my test blog, deleted.


Here's my test blog - "Delete Blog Test".




Go to the dashboard Settings - Other page, and click on "Delete blog".




There is the "Delete blog" wizard - and a chance to "Download Blog".




So, click on "Delete This Blog".




And, it's deleted. But what does that really mean?



Here's my dashboard home page - showing my test blog, deleted. Compare this display, with my test blog, awaiting deletion.


Now, we see "Deleted blogs" has 1 entry.




And there is my test blog listed, with two choices - "Permanently delete" or "Undelete".




Unfortunately, "Undelete" won't work, for me.



We do get an on screen warning, before permanent deletion.


We do get a warning, before deletion. "Deleting Nitecruzr Delete Blog Test is permanent and you won't be able to undo it"





A #Blogger blog, once deleted, can be restored within 90 days - if "Delete permanently" is not used. Once "Delete permanently" is used, the blog and all content is gone - and the URL can never be used, again.

The Mysterious "Destination" / "Points To" Label

Some blog owners buy domains, for publishing a Blogger blog, and ask about how to address the domain.
What address do I use for "Points to"?
Other owners may ask a similar question, referencing "Destination" or maybe "Target".

There is no real difference, between all 3 labels. "Destination", "Target", and "Points to" all refer to the same DNS address value.

To compound the confusion, 4 different addresses are required, when addressing a Blogger custom domain root.

Defining the DNS servers used by the domain root ("naked domain") requires 4 address records - and the labels used, in the zone editor, will vary from registrar to registrar.

We know of 3 different labels, used by Blogger custom domain instructions.

The referential Blogger document How do I use a custom domain name for my blog? uses 3 labels to identify the 4 name servers, which are provided by Google. Blogger uses the triplet label "Destination, Target, or Points to" as their example.

Google provides 4 name servers, to give us multiple redundancy.

Google provides four mutually redundant individual servers, each responding to a specific IP address - for custom domain clients to address the domain root, in a round robin sequence.

There are 4 name servers provided by Blogger, to address a custom domain root.



Each domain root name server entry uses 2 important label values ("Name, Label, or Host" - and "Destination, Target, or Points to").

Each label may have 1 of 3 values, depending upon the zone editor provided by the registrar.

Here is the Dig Log, for the domain root. Look at the 2, 4, 6, and 8, in the 4 address entries.

mydomain.com. 3600 IN A 216.239.32.21
mydomain.com. 3600 IN A 216.239.34.21
mydomain.com. 3600 IN A 216.239.36.21
mydomain.com. 3600 IN A 216.239.38.21

In the GoDaddy zone editor, you'll see these entries depicted as

  Host   Points to           TTL
  @      216.239.32.21    1 Hour
  @      216.239.34.21    1 Hour
  @      216.239.36.21    1 Hour
  @      216.239.38.21    1 Hour

The GoDaddy zone editor uses the labels "Host" and "Points to".

Similar labels ("Name", "Label" and "Destination", "Target") are used by various other registrars, in their own zone editor.

A Zone Editor display, showing the base DNS addresses, for GoDaddy.

Here is the display, used by GoDaddy, for "nitecruzr.co.uk".


Here is the zone editor display, as provided by GoDaddy.

Do you see the 4 address records, beneath "Points to"?



The labels in the address records differ, from registrar to registrar. The "Name, Label, or Host" address values (here, shown as "@") will differ, from registrar to registrar - but the "Destination, Target, or Points to" address values will not differ. A properly addressed domain will have the same 4 "Destination, Target, or Points to" address values, as every other properly addressed domain.

mydomain.com. 3600 IN A 216.239.3n.21

Each address will have one of four values for n: 2, 4, 6, or 8.

Complementing "Destination, Target, or Points to", we have another label set.

Complementing the 3 "Destination, Target, or Points to" label address values, for addressing the 4 name servers provided by Google, we have a similar set of 3 "Name, Label, or Host" label address values.

Addressing "Name, Label, or Host" is somewhat simpler - as all 4 entries are identical to each other, for any domain root address entry.

The Blogger instructions, like the GoDaddy zone editor, use "@", when addressing the domain root. The zone editor value used, however, may differ from registrar to registrar.

Any blog owner, wishing to have a working custom domain, needs to understand how to setup a domain for the registrar involved.

The end result.

Both the "Name, Label, or Host" - and the "Destination, Target, or Points to" - label triplets are only examples. Other unidentified registrars may use other labels.

Considering the Blogger instructions, and the terminology required, Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue will not soon run out of blog owners, requesting assistance for making their custom domains work.



Some #Blogger blog owners, in the process of setting up their blogs using custom domain publishing, find that labels "Name", "Label", or "Host" - and "Destination", "Points to", or "Target" - are only examples, in the Blogger Help document.

There is no attempt at standardisation, used by the thousands of different Internet registrars, in their dashboards (aka "zone editors").




https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/blogger/kMDo0O1xtDM

Reader Zoom Level Affects Screen Space Needed

I have suggested that properly sizing the Jump Break and Title sections of each post is an important decision, when publishing a post in your blog.

Publishing this blog, using carefully sized post title and jump break sections, allows me to consistently publish posts, with maximum detail visible in main page view - and with the "Read more" link visible.

Potential readers may read a post in this blog - instead of returning to a SERP, and reading another blog. This affects a key reader retention metric, the "bounce rate".

All of that considered, sizing of the introductory post sections won't always produce predictable results.

Reader zoom level is a semi random factor, which makes blog section sizing less predictable than one would wish, when trying to increase reader retention.

I size my posts using "100%" zoom, in the Chrome browser. This may, or may not, produce the same effect, for readers using Edge / Internet Explorer, Firefox, or any other browser. And the differing browser will not be the only varying factor.

All of these details can affect zoom level, screen space requirements, and reader retention - for any different blog. Here it is helpful for the blog owner to know about the typical reader.

  • Display screen size.
  • Reader age.
  • Multi tasking activity.
  • Tech interest level.

Display screen size will affect how the blog sections look, to each reader.

Browser choice is not the only variation, that can affect screen space and blog section display sizes.

Reader display screen size used is a detail, that I cannot control. The computer on which I compose most posts has a 6" high screen. A second computer, that I use from time to time, has an 8" high screen. The second computer, even at a 125% zoom level, still displays more post content in one screen page.


This post (in main page view) displayed, at 100% zoom, on an 6" vertical display.



Let's compare this post, displayed at several zoom levels.

Here's this post, in the individual post page display - without Jump Break. See how it looks, zoomed in various font sizes. Note that here I use a maximised browser window, though some readers will resize the browser window to fit the blog content.


This post (in Preview mode) displayed, at 100% zoom, on an 6" vertical display.




This post (in Preview mode) displayed, at 100% zoom, on an 10" vertical display.




This post (in Preview mode) displayed, at 75% zoom level.



Smaller zoom is more likely to be used by people with better eyesight - using better resolution and more expensive computers, and smaller browser windows.


This post (in Preview mode) displayed, at 125% zoom level.



Larger zoom is more likely to be used by people with marginally worse eyesight. This will frequently involve older people.

Older readers will be more likely to use higher zoom levels.

Reader age is another detail which each blog author may consider, in blog design.

Blogs which attract older readers should be designed for displays which use higher zoom levels - or use larger fonts, to begin. Older readers, with marginal eyesight, will be more likely to surf the web with their browsers zoomed higher.

Multi tasking encourages smaller browser windows - and lower zoom levels.

Younger readers, who like to multi task, will probably use low zoom - and size the browser window smaller, so they can have multiple windows, simultaneously visible in large computer displays. Older readers will be more likely to focus on one task at a time - and will maximise the browser window, with higher zoom.

Blog subject may produce readers of differing age and tech interest.

Each blog, depending upon its content, may be more or less likely to interest readers of a given age and / or and tech interest level. People of different tech interest levels may also be more or less likely to use computers with higher resolution, and may multi task using smaller browser windows.

The bottom line.

Each blog owner will have to consider the various issues mentioned above - for each post published - and decide what screen sizes and zoom levels might be preferred by the target reader audience.

Only a blog owner can decide what reader audience may be more interested in each individual post - and may benefit from a specific zoom level. And this affects the proper sizing of the jump break and title section of each post.



Several details of a #Blogger blog audience affect what post title and jump break section will be more appropriate, for each individual blog. These details, in turn, can affect bounce rate / retention rate.

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