* This doesn't get rid of the yoursite.blogspot.com address - just adds a domain.
It's only $10 per year and gives you a basic Google Apps account, providing up to 50 email addresses, unlimited aliases for them and a Google Web Hosting account.
The following steps are a little involved, but Google walks you through some intuitive steps and they're pretty easy to follow. Consider this a reference guide to get an idea of what you'll need to know, and incase you're confused by anything.
Whenever registering a domain, use reputable source. (Google, GoDaddy, etc) While methods have changed in the last while to make it harder, sometimes when you "check available" for a site, they'll automatically buy your domain and then tell you "Oh no, your site's already in use, but we can arrange to get it for you for $$$."
HOWEVER, according to a US ruling, (which presides over all internet domain registry) the privacy service is technically the legal domain owner, not you. This has been an issue in the past for example if a privacy service goes bankrupt. I don't mean to scare you away, just ensuring you're aware of where things stand.
Here's the final confirmation. Before going any further, do a couple things:
- MAKE SURE YOU SPELLED YOUR DOMAIN RIGHT.
- Look away from the computer for a few seconds.
- MAKE SURE YOU SPELLED YOUR DOMAIN RIGHT.
Whenever you login to Google to make any changes to your domain, this is the account you'll have to use, NOT the one you use to login to Blogspot. You now have 2 Google accounts - one to administer your domain, email, etc and your original one that you continue to use to work on your blog.
Because the entire Google platform is connected, this gets a little irritating, having to login/out and only use one service at a time.
This is your domain dashboard:
In the upper right, click "Setup" to go to a wizard that's going to walk you through the configuration steps.
For our uses, the default options usually work just fine.
(It's teaching you to fish)
By default, it assigns a temporary strong password.
I believe that if you get into advanced settings, you can add a custom look to your site's webmail pages.
For example, if you choose "Service Settings" then "Email", you'll be taken to the following screen.
See where it says "Catch-all address"? If you enable this, then anytime an email is sent to your domain, if that user doesn't exist, the email is instead sent to the Forward address. In other words, if I emailed email@example.com and you hadn't setup a user called "blahblah", then the email would be sent to the Forward email you enter.
Some people like this feature, but really it's just asking for spam because now the bots don't need real addresses.
Now, continuing with the Setup steps...
Whether you do these steps or not, users can still login to Gmail, and under Settings, enable POP/SMTP/IMAP, etc.
POP - You download all mail off the server, but can choose to leave copies on there. (Great for primary computer)
IMAP - You're remotely accessing the email server and only downloading what you view. (Great for mobile devices and secondary computers)
Basically it's texts, tutorials, links to other sections, etc. If you'd like a greater understanding of some of the things you now have access to, read through it.
However you also gain a Google Sites account, allowing you to make your own fill-in-the-blank website with Google. It's basic, and not really for the HTML savvy, but it's better than nothing, and free is free.
And of course, the up sell, incase Video or extra security and other features are something that interests you. So, you're offered the Business/Education upgrade.
Next up, you're going to want to make a slight adjustment to the DNS settings.
Just click "Domain Settings" then "Domain Names"
Look where it says "Change redirect" and click it.
Make sure it says "www" in the text box.
Without that, if someone typed in wargamingtradecraft.com and left off the "www", they wouldn't get your page.
A quick note about email with your new domain - you don't have to set it up. If you like, continue using your firstname.lastname@example.org or other address. But wouldn't you prefer to use email@example.com ?
Also, if you want, you can continue using your existing email address, and just forward your new address to your old one.
You setup your new address as your primary address, and try to start getting people to use it instead, update links on your site, etc. It's still a good idea to forward your old address to your new one, (With a vacation note turned on telling people your new address) so you don't miss anything. It's more work, but I figure it's better in the long run to change over.
Each of your email addresses can have as many of what's called an "alias" (or as Google refers to it, a "nickname") as you want.
These are essentially other addresses that a user receives email on, but they all go to a single email account.
Just click "Organizations & Users", choose a user and under "Nicknames" you can add as many aliases as you want. (As long as it doesn't exist as or on another user)
Another benefit of aliases is that if your email program or webmail allows you to create rules or filters (which most do) the "To Address" is a sortable field. That way you can still sort email for different uses.
Incoming Mail Server: pop.gmail.com
Outgoing Mail Server smtp.gmail.com
Mobile Mail Server: imap.gmail.com
Password: Whatever your matched luggage combo is
Go into the extra settings
For Outgoing Server (SMTP) you need to enable "Requires Authentication".
For ease, you can usually choose that it'll be the same as your incoming mail server.
The outgoing server (SMTP) port must be 587 with TLS enabled.
If you're accessing from a phone or computer other than your primary, the incoming mobile (IMAP) port must be 993 with SSL enabled.
Don't forget to enter the verification code from the confirmation email.
Then decide what you want Gmail to do with the email after it's forwarded.
So, I open every page, and switch from "Compose" to "Edit HTML". Then, copy and paste it all into notepad and to a Replace to update all links to my new domain.
I'm going to show you what we call "DNS
Look where it says "Advanced DNS settings" and clicky.
You're going to see a few lists that don't make much sense - DON'T TOUCH THEM.
You're looking for the section "Host Records"
This lists all the "links" for your domain. For example, if you type "mail.yourdomain.com" it links you to your email login.
DO NOT mess with any of the entries that are already there. Just worry about adding new.
There's two types of entries you might want to add: (examples lower)
- URL Redirect
- Sends the user to the website entered.
- URL Frame.
- Sends the user to the website entered BUT leaves the link in the address bar.
- Not all websites will operate within a frame, forcing you to use a redirect instead. Test it.
This allows search engines to index the page.
Instead, with a FRAME, the address bar doesn't change, appearing like a subdomain of your page.
Questions and Answers
With posts of this size, I'm bound to miss stuff. Here's what people have asked, or things that it occurs to me I want to add:
- What about links people have created to my old webpages?
- Your original blogspot address still exists, meaning all old and new posts can still be found at yourdomain.blogspot.com
- Can I apply different permissions to users I add?
- Yes. You can have both admins and basic users.