Why own domainFirst, why some people want their own domain like myblog.com instead of myblog.blogspot.com. People have compared using blogspot for their blog to having a free Yahoo! or Google email address. They say having an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org command more respect than having an email address like email@example.com. For me, I may quote the difference between having your business office at a proper office address rather than your own home.
Also, you have more control over your site. You own the site, not Blogger. Blogger can't take the site away from you. However, to be fair to Blogger, Blogger doesn't take away your blog (even blogs which have been neglected by the creators with no post or no update for umpteen years, much to the chagrin of those who wants those particular URL), except for what they identify as spamblogs.
HowIt is pretty simple. The first step is to register a domain (.com, .net, .org, .us, .co.uk, etc). A place which has gained a reputation for cheap domain registration is godaddy.com. There are many others.
The next step is create a CNAME record for your domain with the DNS (Domain Name System) with the registrar. (I will explain what DNS is all about below so it does not interfere with the flow of the instructions here) The instruction on how to do it you can get from the registrar. For example, if you register the domain with godaddy, the instructions are given here: Creating Your CNAME Record: GoDaddy.com. For your convenience, I reproduce here the instruction so you have an idea of what is involved so that you can see it is not something very complicated:
1. Log in to your account at www.godaddy.com.
2. Open the Domains tab and select My Domain Names. You'll be directed to the Manage Domains page.
3. Click the domain that you'd like to use with Google Apps for Your Domain.
4. Click the Total DNS Control And MX Records in the box entitled Total DNS Control.
5. Click Add New CNAME Record. If you've already created a CNAME record for your website's address with Google Apps, click Edit next to the existing CNAME record.
6. Step 1: Enter the part of your website's address that you picked in your Google Apps control panel. For example, if you picked urban.mydomain.com as your address, enter urban for step one.
Step 2: Enter ghs.google.com as the host name.
Step 3: Leave as default selection.
7. Click Continue, and then click Add. If you're editing an existing CNAME record, click Continue and Update.
Congratulations! Your CNAME record is now configured to point to Google. Keep in mind that changes to DNS record settings may take up to 48 hours.
Now that you have the CNAME record, you log into the new Blogger Dashboard, select the blog, click the SETTINGS > PUBLISHING tabs, then click "Custom Domain" (see screenshot below. Click to enlarge:)
You will be then taken to a page where you enter the URL of your new domain (see screenshot below:)
When you are done, just click "Save Settings". Then all you have to do is to wait a couple of days for your blog to be viewable at your new URL. Reason for the delay is given below.
Why I will not be changing to custom domain names for my blogsYes, there are people who do not respect a person who has an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes, there are people who will not do business with someone who maintain an office at his own home. However, I believe that respect is earned, not bought. The respect that a blog command should depend on its content, not whether its URL is xxxx.com or xxxx.blogspot.com. Further, I do not want the bother of having to renew my yearly subscription for the domain name. If something happen to me and I cannot be around to renew the subscription, my blog will still be on the Web. If you use a custom domain, you will have to ensure by hook or by crook the subscription is renewed whenever it is due. I don't want that problem.
Anyway, there are a great diversity of people, preferences, opinions, requirements, etc. To each his own.
DNS (Domain Name System)The Internet consist of a multitude of devices like computers, printers, Internet fax machines, etc. connected in a massive network sharing information with each other using a language called Internet Protocol (IP). Each of these devices have a unique IP address which is a number like 126.96.36.199. An IP address can be equated with a house address or telephone number in the physical world. However, numbers are hard to remember compared to an URL like http://blogger-tricks.blogspot.com. So, to make life simpler for folks like you and me, there are DNS servers that store information associating each URL to a unique IP address. So, rather than typing the series of numbers associated with my blog, all you have to do is to type in blogger-tricks.blogspot.com into the address bar at the top of a browser and the DNS server will translate this into that unique number that bring you to the server that store the files for this blog.
Now the reason for the delay between adding the CNAME record for your domain with the DNS (Domain Name System) with the registrar and the time the blog at the new URL gets online. Your registrar will have to give the relevant information to a DNS server, which will then inform all the other servers in the Internet, and this take time.
UPDATE 12 January 2007: There have been some complaints about the difficulites using custom domain for the new Blogger blogs. See threads
and a few more. Looks like it is better to hold off using custom channel until the dust clears.
UPDATE 18 January 2007: There have been many problems regarding custom domain and getting a domain from Godaddy. For a first hand account of how Chuck goes about it, have a look at his post: Google Custom Domain: Case Study # 1
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