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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Configuring a Free Domain Name with your blog

38 comments
(Note : The following post is meant to guide a total n00b (someone like me) through the process of registering and configuring a free domain name. So I would be laying special emphasis on addressing the What-s and How-s of the issue. The Why-s may not be addressed satisfactorily due to reasons of brevity.)

As it would be evident from the url above, I recently registered with a Domain name provider that provides free domain names (1). By doing this the address of my blog which earlier read http://shubhspace.blogspot.com is now http://www.shubhspace.co.cc. My reason for doing this was simple - To understand and learn Domain Management concepts. It also made my address shorter and hence, hopefully, easier to remember (So that people who liked my blog would be able to acces it easily).
So with these issues sorted out, let us get down to getting you your own free Domain name and associating it with your online property [your existing blog/website].

In order to follow the instructions given in this post, you will need 3 things: -

1. A domain name (obtained from co.cc)

2. Your website or blog (My blog on blogger)

3. A DNS server [provided for free by Every DNS]

Let us now see how each of these must be setup for a smooth, error-free performance.

1. A domain name

Your domain name is the identity of your online property. Think of your Domain name as the name plate of your house. You may live in some apartment, but until and unless you put up a name plate on the front door, your identity would be ambiguous at best. So the first step to gaining an identity online is to get yourself a Domain name [your name plate]. Now if you Google the term ‘Free Domain Names’, you will be bombarded with a plethora of sites offering you a wide variety of domain names ranging from co.nr to .tk to .biz.ly. But before you go ahead and register with one of those, let me point it out to you that they are merely url re-direction service. Using another Apartment analogy, think of a url re-direction service as your friend knocking on the doors of your next door neighbour. Being the next door neighbour, you are obviously known to them and so they point out your house to the visitors. But if you’re a popular guy, who is visited often by different people all the time, this ringing on the neighbour’s door is not going to make you very popular with your neighbour. In other words, if you use a url re-direction service, your site will not be popular with search engines (read, GOOGLE).
So when you register with a free Domain registrar, make sure that they also offer you a DNS service (discussed later). AFAIK, only two free domain registrars offer the DNS service - .uni.cc and .co.cc. Of these two, I prefer the .co.cc registrars, simply because .co.cc is shorter and also sounds like a paid domain name (read, sounds professional). Your domain name would appear as www.example.co.cc, where example could b replaced by a name of your choice.
The first step to registering a domain name is to see if it is available or has someone already taken it. That you may do in the box provided.

If it is available, then you shall get a message congratulating you and asking you to register.

Registering for the Domain name is a complete no-brainer. Just fill up the simple information that you are asked to fill up and then your domain name would be registered. You may have to activate your domain name through the link sent by them to the email id that you entered. Once activated you will officially have your own private identity on the Internet – your own domain name to flaunt.

Note: While registering, with .co.cc, you need only to give your email id correctly. The other information may be made up just for the sake of registering. It is advisable NOT to give out your real name, address or telephone or fax number.

2.
Your website or blog

It is the most important aspect of all. Your blog or website is like your house in the Internet, whereas your domain name is like the name plate. A name plate attains significance only when you have a house. The site or blog could be located on a free hosting service [like a rented apartment] or it could be hosted on a paid-for hosting server [an apartment taken on lease]. You could also setup your own server to host your site [an apartment of which you have full ownership]. In this tutorial we shall be using my blog as the house which is need of its own unique name plate ;-). My blog is hosted on Blogger, which provides this service for free [a rented apartment kind]. So all blogs hosted here will have an address which would read like blogname.blogspot.com. In technical jargon it would mean that your blog address is sub-domain of the .blogspot.com domain
(2). Setting up a blog on blogger is a complete no-brainer. So just register for a blogger account here. Once you have registered on blogger, login and you will reach your blog dashboard. On the dashboard click the link that says Settings

Once the new page appears, click on the link titled Publishing

Then click on the Custom domain link on that page.

Since we shall be using a free domain name, ignore everything else and click on the link that says Already own a domain?Switch to advanced settings

Once the page opens up, you shall see a section titled Your domain. Enter the domain name we had earlier registered into that space. Do not forget to add the www in the address.

Once this is done simply click on the button that says Save settings.

Thus you have now fixed the name plate on your front door.

3. A DNS server

So, now you have your own blog (house) and a personal domain name (name plate). But if the name plate is fixed to the door of your apartment on the fourth floor, then how is someone to know that you are residing on the fourth floor. Simple, all you have to do is attach a list on the ground floor stating the names of each resident and floor on which they reside. So any visitor to your house would know where to reach you.
This task is performed on the Internet by the Domain Names System (DNS) server. It associates the domain name to the hosting site
(3). So in order to associate the Domain name with the hosting site you will have to make use of DNS server. If you opt for a paid domain name, like .com or .co.in or .info, the domain registrars would have provided you with their own DNS Nameservers. However .co.cc being a free domain registrar, does not provide their own Nameservers, but instead allows you to enter the addresses of external DNS Nameserver. A paid-for Nameserver could cost you a small fortune to setup. However, there are a number of DNS service providers that offer you the use of their Nameservers for free.
One such free DNS service provider that I am using is EveryDNS. Registering for their service is also very simple. Once registered, login into your account. On the left column you shall see a section titled Add new domain. Type in the domain name you had earlier registered at co.cc and click on the basic button. Please note that in this box you should not add www to the address, just type in as I have shown you in the picture.

Once this is done, you will see an entry on the same column under the heading Primary domains - click on it.

One the page opens up, you shall see the section Current Records and under this you would see certain entries. Delete those. Go down to the Add a record section.
In that section this is what you must enter the following values (in bold)

Fully qualified Domain Name = www
Record Type = CNAME (select it from the drop down menu)
Record Value = ghs.google.com
(These values are applicable only for blogger blogs)



Once this is done simply click on the Add Record button. Under the heading current records, you will have an entry under the heading Current Records that looks like this (I have blanked out the information that is not applicable)

With this your just one step away from getting your own private domain name completely setup for your site.
Log back in to your domain account in .co.cc. All this while, although you had registered your domain name you had not configured it. So when you click on My domains, it would appear in Red, asking you to ‘Please Set Up’. Click on the Edit button.

You would now be asked to select between two options - Manage DNS and URL Forwarding Records. Select the Manage DNS option. Pay no attention to the statement that says - It can be difficult, because if you have reached this stage after having followed all the steps described earlier, it means that you have already passed through the difficult part (and you didn’t even know that, How cool is that!!!).

When you select that option click on the [+ Add more Name Servers] link twice. This way you will have two more sections to fill in. The Name Servers used by EveryDNS are as follows

ns1.everydns.net
ns2.everydns.net
ns3.everydns.net
ns4.everydns.net



Enter the data accordingly and click on the Setup Domain button.Next you shall be taken to a page that would look something like this.

Once this is completed your job is done. Log out. Sit back and wait for around 48 hours for your own domain name to be attached to your Blog. At the end of 48 hours, when you type in your domain name and your blog opens, pat yourself on your back for a job well done.
If you have any doubt please feel free to ask me throught the comments section.

Footnote

(1) It is actually called a Second-level Domain name that they provide for free.----[Go Back up]

(2) Blogspot.com is in turn, a sub-domain of the .com TLD----[Go Back up]

(3)A DNS server resolves a domain name into the corresponding IP/CNAME address of the server on which the site is hosted and forwards the request to that server.----[Go Back up]


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38 comments:

  1. Thank u very much

    I followed what u have said and i got my job done.

    Thanx a lot !!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am glad you found it useful

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have a question. What if I want my blog to be domain.co.cc instead of www.domain.co.cc? I tried creating a CNAME but they do not allow CNAMEs for root domains.
    Help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Kundan,
    First the not-so-good NEWS
    Unless you buy the domain name through blogger, you can only assign a subdomain to your blog hosted on blogger (ex www.example.com, blog.example.com)
    so your blogger hosted blog will always be a subdomain - www.example.co.cc

    Now the good NEWS
    Although my blog is hosted on blogger, you can still access it by typing in just shubhspace.co.cc (try it out). You can do this for free.
    Take a look at this post

    Make site accessible without the www
    http://www.shubhspace.co.cc/2008/03/visit-site-without-adding-www.html

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks and I did read through your other article a few days ago. ^^

    The problem is solved now. You can take a look at the newly created blog at http://blog.saizoco.cc if you want to

    I thought that I can only CNAME "www" for blogger and not anything else. Under that impression, I created another .co.cc domain because I needed both my domains, with and without www, to point to my website. (http://saizo.co.cc) Blogger will then be only part of my website where I post updates and changes done to the website.

    Turns out that I only needed to CNAME blog/etc to blogger while keeping the rest intact.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Mecah. Thanks for the article. Now i've successfully configured my domain with my blog.
    It's www.blogrio.co.cc
    Keep writting good article! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Rio,
    I am glad that you were able to get your work done.

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey Dude,

    -> I have hosted my blog at freehostia.com, the name is viajena.freehostia.com.
    -> I registered a free domain name at co.cc called viajena.co.cc
    -> and dns at everydns

    Here's the configuration:

    *www.viajena.co.cc*

    Service Type : *Name server (DNS) *
    Name server : * ns1.everydns.net
    ns2.everydns.net
    ns3.everydns.net
    ns4.everydns.net*


    *www.everydns.net

    **Current Records:*
    *Host* www.viajena.co.cc

    *Type* A

    *Value* 69.80.229.131







    Let me know if there is something wrong.

    Thanks,

    Roland

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Roland,

    If 69.80.229.131 is the shared IP assigned to you, then it looks fine to me.

    You might want to add another A-record for the same domain name but this time for viajena.co.cc without the www in everydns account

    May take around 24 hours for the records to propogate and site to be accessible

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Mecah,

    Thank you for your response.

    Although I followed what you have said I still got this error.

    Internal Server Error
    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    Please contact the server administrator, support@freehostia.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.


    I'm not that techie when comes to this... please help!!!


    Regards,

    Roland

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Roland,

    Your domain name www.viajena.co.cc and viajena.co.cc appears to be working fine :)

    When I enter the url I am greeted with a message
    Welcome to Viajena!

    Domain records take upto 24-48 hours to propogate and site to be properly accessible. Your problem appears to have been solved.

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Mecah,

    After exploring my account in freehostia.com using the cPanel I discover that I can actually host my co.cc domain name in there. After adding the domain I then updated the DNS to point to freehostia.com dns.

    Meaning - I really can escape the everydns account part.

    Thank you for your responses. Never have come up with the idea.

    Regards,

    Roland

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Roland,
    It is not considered to be a good practice to club hosting and DNS together.

    For example, you are denied accesss to your control panel for some reason by freehostia or someone gets to know your freehostia password and tries to mess up with your site by posting unpleasent stuff.

    If you have seperate DNS (ie like EveryDNS) then you can simply delete the A-record in everydns or point it to a new host. the old site will become inaccessible till you make things good again

    AFAIK freehostia allows only 2 Nameservers - dns1.freehostia.com and dns2.freehostia.com

    Using a combination of EveryDNS and EditDNS I am being served by a total of 9 Name servers. When it comes to Name servers more the better

    anyway, if you are just a csaual blogger and don't mind the occassional inaccessibilty the 2 Name servers of freehostia should suffice

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have done all the settings for google apps its working fine. But when I made an A-record entry for my domain pointing to the nameserver IP where my site is hosted it doesnt open my website. It opens the my website hosts webpage. can you help, please?!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Mecah,

    Thanks for this wonderful tutorial. I just did exactly what you wrote, and I am hoping to see great results in 48 hours.

    I have this one query: i had google analytics installed in my old address - http://onlinesights.blogspot.com, do i have to change my settings in analytics to the new co.cc domain?

    Thanks,
    Len

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Jack,
    domain records take around 24-48 hours to propogate [have mentioned it in the post]. I suggest you wait for a around a day before yo chek out your site

    sorry i culdn't respond earlier as I was out and did not have an internet connection there

    Regards:)

    Hi Len,
    The Analytics code does not contain your domain name. So IMO you may keep the same code you had inserted earlier to get results. Wait for a couple of days [4-5 days to be safe] then go to your account and check if you are getting reports afer you had changed your domain name. I think the old code should work.

    BTW your new domain name has started working :)

    Regards:)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Mecah,

    Yes, it's now working, thanks to you!

    Regards,
    Len

    ReplyDelete
  18. hi,
    thanx for getting free domain and all. but one thing my domain is not working plz tell me how it will work. i enter my domain name in address bar. it doesnt display, only display cannot find server. my domain name is bharatpurbirdsanctuary.co.cc and my blog name is rocky-bharatpurbirdsanctuary.co.cc plz help me out.

    Also want to know that I have a project like a website designed by me in frontpage. Can it be publish or linked to my domain? if yes, how?
    please tell me

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi,
    did you make any changes to www.bharatpurbirdsanctuary.co.cc since yesterday? Because yesterday when I had typed in the url I was able to open the blog site (hosted on blogspot), but strangely now it is no longer accessible. I am able to ping the site though - www.bharatpurbirdsanctuary.co.cc

    rocky-bharatpurbirdsanctuary.co.cc is not yet registered by you. Please registr it if you want to have this domain name.

    If you want to upload your frontpage designed site, then you will have to use a hosting service that allows frontpage extensions.

    axspace.com allows frontpage extensions. You could use it. I too use axspace for my blog, but I don't use Frontpage extensions - use it only for re-direction. You can use your .co.cc domain name with your axspace account.

    Feel free to enquire further if you have any queries.

    Regards:)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hello Mecah,

    I have a domain name registered with www.co.cc which is www.indraprasth.co.cc. I have my personal website located at a different location which is redirected using the domain name. However, I have many pages such as - home, about me, contact me etc. For all these pages, the site address in the address bar remains the same. Can you help me assign different web addresses for different pages? e.g. the address to my blog should be www.indraprasth.co.cc/blog.html or something similar.

    Regards,
    Sachin.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Sachin,
    You have selected URL Forwarding option in your co.cc account's control panel

    Either select Zone Records or Manage DNS options, provided Microsoft small business, which is where your site is hosted allows the use of custom domain names [.com, .co.cc, .net etc]
    Once you do it you will get your desired form of address

    Like my address for this particular blog post which is
    http://www.shubhspace.co.cc/2008/02/configuring-free-domain-name-with-your.html

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks for the instant reply Mecah,
    So how can I get the DNS server names if I turn the Manage DNS option ON? Will I also need to use EveryDNS for that purpose? What will be the details as u have porvided for ur blog site?

    Please help.
    Sachin.

    ReplyDelete
  23. hi,

    after changing,
    i want to have these :-
    my blog title :-
    GHANA - Keola Deo National Bird Sanctuary

    and under advance setting, i typed domain - www.bharatpurbirdsanctuary.co.cc
    after it showing with check box :-
    Redirect bharatpurbirdsanctuary.co.cc to www.bharatpurbirdsanctuary.co.cc

    then showing :-

    We won't leave your readers behind!
    http://rocky-bharatpurbirdsanctuary.blogspot.com will redirect to your custom domain.

    what to do, plz help me out, my domain registered with bharatpurbirdsanctuary.co.cc and i want to have domain

    and also one thing i tried to create new blog but it's asking for blog address (url). I entered bharatpurbirdsanctuary and checked then replied to consider the different. this blog is not available.

    ReplyDelete
  24. my blog is opening by giving in address bar rocky-bharatpurbirdsanctuary.blogspot.com

    I want giving only bharatpurbirdsanctuary

    can it be done.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Sachin,
    According to Microsoft Office Live Small Business you can use a custom domain (like .com, .co.cc, .net etc)for your site hosted there [its free for the first year]

    Custom domain name and business e-mail is available to all customers for free for one year ($14.95 annually thereafter).

    I am currently in th middle of my exams. So it is not possible for me to take a look at it and prepare a how-to guide.

    If you choose to use the Manage DNS option [recomended], then the procedure i have mentioned in this blog post can be followed as it is. What will change is the records you have to enter in your EveryDNS account. The records have to be entered according to what Microsoft asks you to use, which you will probably find in its Settings/Help section (just guessing. i dont have an account there). You might want to take a look there.

    Regards :)

    Hi Rocky,
    Your blog www.bharatpurbirdsanctuary.co.cc is opening without problems here :)

    Keoladeo National Bird Sanctuary, Bharatpur, also known as Ghana Bird Sanctuary, is one of the best Bird Sanctuaries in the world.

    If you want to make your site accessible by typing just bharatpurbirdsanctuary.co.cc, then i suggest you take a look at another post of mine

    Make site accessible without the www
    If you face any difficulty, feel free to ask.
    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. How to change the favicon of .co.cc. in their sites. I want my own favicon in my new site (http://www.cybernate.co.cc)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Mecah...

    Thanks for the nice trick!!

    I followed what u have said ...but when I try to open my blogpage it takes me to the CO.CC home page instead of opening the blog..please help me on the problem!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi anon,
    In order to use your own favicon, you will have to use the Manage DNS option. I am guessing you are using Zone Records.
    Hope it will solve your peroblem :)

    Hi Rajendra,
    Your site is being accessed fine here. The post on top ays
    "Working towards the high ethics of Journalism"

    P.S Just my 2-bit.
    If you are planning to use your blog for journalistic pursuits, then I would stronlgy suggest that you purchase a .com, .org domain name.
    co.cc websites are suitable for personal sites. They have very hard time gaining cerdibility :)
    Should not cost you more than 350 per year getting one.

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi Mecah,

    Yaa..I think as u said it takes some time..now it working Fine..!!Even i am thinking to purchase a .com domain but once I get this newspaper registered!! till then I wud b happy if I can get few viewers!!
    I wud b very happy if u can help me out with the following:
    1) I tried verifying my domain at google apps but not successfull.(Pleazz tell me a way thru which i can verify my domain,I have followed ur method to set it up with co.cc)
    2)How can i set google to search for my blog naagpost.co.cc
    3) How can I remove the blogger icon and all those options which are related to blog i.e Flag blog, create blog etc.

    Thanks and regards

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Rajendra,

    1)
    You will have to add a CNAME value in your EveryDNS account control panel for verification of your blog. [Instruction given in google apps account itself]

    2)
    Google will automatically search the content of your blog. Since you blog is hosted on blogspot, indexing by google will not be an issue. However, if you want you may signup with google Webmaster and submit sitemaps fo your blog.
    The sitemaps for your blog would be

    http://www.naagpost.co.cc/rss.xml
    http://www.naagpost.co.cc/atom.xml

    You could also add your url here
    Add your URL to Google

    But the best way for Google to search your site immediately and thoroughyl is to update the content of your blog as much as possible, as frequently as possible. google loves regularly updates sites :)

    3)
    Remove the NavBar

    Had been a little busy with college stuff, so couldn't reply earlier. Apologies

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. O man I got this free domain http://pitstop.f1.cc and get registered it one everydns site. but its not workin plz guide me.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi pitstopf1,
    f1.cc is just a url-redirection service.

    For a full-fledged free domain name, you must use co.cc or uni.cc

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Mecah, I want to use this domain http://pitstop.f1.cc instead of http://pitstopf1.blogspot.com plz tell me how to do ... Thanks for your Respons!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Great information I wanted to thank you for this great article. I enjoyed every little bit part of it and I will be waiting for the new updates.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi,
    I am having an account on www.axspace.com with domain registered bharatpurbirdsanctuary.co.cc but now it is has been expired and now showing renew option. I think www.axspace.com is not providing free hosting service now. so plz let me know if www.axspace.com is providing free hosting service then how can i activate my domain service or if there any website which is providing free hosting service.

    Thanks...

    ReplyDelete

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