Solved! "Blogs may not be hosted at naked domains."

Screenshot: Bash Terminal Curl Example

In my last post I said we were dropping the WWW from our domain name. I'm happy to report the operation was a complete success... But I did encounter some roadblocks. Blogger used to let you point your blog to a so-called naked domain but at some point they stopped. Try it now and you get the error, "Blogs may not be hosted at naked domains." Obviously, I've figured out a way around that. But the way around that was not so obvious.

It's out of character for Blogger to impose a limit like that on blog owners. If there's one thing that really stands out it's the freedom you're given to build your brand and identity with a Blogger hosted blog. For example, Blogger won't penalize me for hiding the navbar. I think it's short-sighted of them to impose a limit on the domain name. Is the domain name not part of the brand? I think it is.

So here's my solution to the "Blogs may not be hosted at naked domains" problem. Read the guide first before following it as it contains differing instructions for 301 and 302 redirects.

1. Back to Blogspot.com


If you're currently publishing to a custom domain switch back to blogspot. The Publishing tab in Blogger's dashboard should read, "You're publishing on blogspot.com".

2. Double-Check or Create the A NAME Records in Your DNS Settings


Have these four A Name Records point to your naked domain.

216.239.32.21
216.239.34.21
216.239.36.21
216.239.38.21

Note: You may use @ for the host name in Go Daddy.

3. Remove the "www" C NAME Record–Or Don't


Chances are you have a C NAME record of www that points to ghs.google.com. If you're planning to 301 redirect your old traffic, delete it. A C NAME record is an alias, it doesn't inherently redirect traffic. Blogger only does 302 redirection and if that's what you want leave the C NAME record as is or add it.

4. Publish Your Naked Domain


Switch to advanced settings for custom domains. Type in your naked domain and this time include a space in front of it. If done correctly the page will reload and tell you, "Settings Were Saved Successfully." Also the space in front of the domain name will be gone.

5. Decision Time: 301 and 302 Redirection


Check the box where it says, "Redirect www.example.com to example.com" if you want 302 redirection. For 301 redirection go to your registrar and follow their instructions for subdomain forwarding. Again, if there's a www C NAME record pointing to ghs.google.com you must delete it for 301 to work properly!


6. Double-Check Your Work


Go Daddy's web tools and wizards are a little buggy. Even though I wanted a 301 redirect it gave me a 302. I was able to check for this using a simple command in cURL:

cURL -I http://www.mystady.com

It's nice to see the page redirecting in your browser but your browser isn't going to tell you what kind of redirect it was. Well, not without some add-ons. But who needs add-ons when you've got cURL?


I hope you've found this guide helpful. As always, your questions and comments are welcome.

29 Comments

rhl - #
April 17, 2011 at 4:41 PM
Thank you!!!
Alain-Christian - #
April 18, 2011 at 1:11 AM
The pleasure is all mine. ^__^
Author Smart - #
July 4, 2011 at 3:07 PM
Hi, Can you help anyway please.

http://examalert.careercare.info

When i tried opening http://www.examalert.careercare.info the result is an error page.

In blogger panel check box reads redirect www.careercare.info to examalert.careercare.info

I dont want ro redirect parent domain to subdomain

but i want to redirect http://www.examalert.careercare.info to http://examalert.careercare.info

Or vice versa. Any suggestion please.

Everything was working fine few days back only today i realized this problem, this raises a question mark in the free blogging service of blogger.
Alain-Christian - #
July 5, 2011 at 2:25 AM
When I went to http://examalert.careercare.info/ the page loaded your blog. Was that the desired result.
Author Smart - #
July 27, 2011 at 2:42 AM
But when i go to www.examalertalert.careercare.info it says page error it didn't load at all that's the issue, while previously it was working fine.
Alain-Christian - #
July 27, 2011 at 10:38 AM
Oh I see. Well one problem I notice right away is you have TWO subdomains! YOu need to nix that first www. Why do you have it there?
Hemendra Kumar Saini - #
September 8, 2011 at 7:45 PM
Dude! That's Great I will try this for my blog too.
Douglas Cootey - #
November 4, 2011 at 1:57 AM
Fantastic! Thank you.
Anonymous - #
February 11, 2012 at 5:24 PM
The naked domain trick worked :)

How did you find out about that?

Anyways.....

I create A records to Google IP's for
the root domain

and that works fine.

I'm hung up on the last step....

You said don't have a www CNAME alias pointing to ghs.google.com

but what if you create a CNAME with www pointing back to the root domain

I've read some posts that you can do that but it doesn't seem to be working because I get Google's 404 error page which somehow tells me it is not just a propagation issue (24 hrs now same result)

I'm thinking that when some types www.domainname.com they get redirected to domainname.com but google doesn't like that because they typed www.domainname.com

I don't know???

Only other option in my Registrar's Domain Control panel is create subdomain www.domainname.com pointing to subdirectory which I leave blank which is domainname.com/ (haven't tested that yet)

OR URL fowarding (302 ....don't have GoDaddy wish I knew of Registrar with Free Privacy and Free 301 Redirects)

Sheeesh!! Why doesn't Blogger just make their www to non-www or vice versa redirect permanent??? I mean ...who wants to do this type of redirection as temporary (302)?? What's their logic?

Hey here you go free hosting! Come and get it!! Sorry we're going to make SEO unfriendly from the get go...Ha! Ha!
Anonymous - #
February 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM
This 301 redirect/permanent redirect problem has been haunting me for a while on and off. In fact on another blogger custom domain I just decided to get a separate DNS Host which had 301 redirect but didn't like the idea of paying $20/yr for DNS hosting and another $10/ year for 3 redirects (I only needed one).

From reading and reading and experimenting I learned the 301 redirect is really not a DNS function even though it is offered in some Registrars Domain Control panel (GoDaddy, Name Cheap, Moniker....). I was going to transfer domain to GoDaddy but they don't offer
free privacy #$%^&*(

Also CNAME www to non-www (or vice versa) doesn't really to a redirect permanent (301) or temporary (302) so you still have the duplication problem of a www and non-www page with same content.

My Registrar (Netfirms) only has 302 redirect or Url Fowarding (thanks :|) but they do have free privacy and reasonable prices.

So I'm bouncing around reading recent posts on DNS problems with Blogger. Read over and over NiteCruzers post on the issue which perplexes me leaving feeling hopelessly DNS retarded.

Sooo I decide to just start from scratch because info is constantly changing.

First I check the assumption that Blogger's own www to non-www (or vice versa) fowarding was in fact temporary (302) which in tests a year ago it was and in numerous posts out there in blogging land. The redirect works pretty quick once the box is checked and saved and Wa La! I say OK that's nice but let's check with some 301 redirect checkers and be dissapointed again like ....

Then I see Redirect 301 Permanent!!! What??? Noo this must be a mistake!!!

So I check with 2 other 301 redirect checkers and YES!!! in fact Google has made this redirect Permanent!!! Yippy!! Yee Ha Yee Haa Upa Upa Andele! {Speedy Gonzales Impression}...Thank you Google :)

But why didn't you do that in the first place? Like you did with doing 301 redirect for domainname.blogspot.com to www.domainname.com or domainname.com..??

OK now I have to go FIRE and DNS Host....Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! {Evil Laugh}
Anonymous - #
February 12, 2012 at 2:39 PM
Update:

I see even though Google Blogger's redirect from www to non-www (or vice versa) does a 301 redirect now as opposed to a 302 redirect (in the past) you still need to do a CNAME alias for www to ghs.google.com

if your A records point non-www domain name (domainname.com) to Bloggers 4 IP addresses.

if your A-records point to the www domain name (www.domain.com) to Bloggers 4 IP addresses you then would have a to do...

CNAME of the root domain (domainname.com) to ghs.google.com

Obviously there is no subdomain such as www to fill in the box to do this so you can try to leave the host box blank, or use @, or type domainname.com, or domainname.com. depending what Registrar you use...

I found this out by accident thinking if I could now use Google's Blogger redirect now I didn't need the CNAME alias to ghs.google.com

Sooo I removed the CNAME alias and recheck 301 redirect checkers and started getting 404 page didn't exist hhhmmm......

So I put the CNAME alias back in then it worked again :)

A little more reading revealed that CNAME aliases are not redirects they just SAY
if someone types http://www.domainname.com (for CNAME www pointing to ghs.google.com) to serve up the content from the primary domain in my case http://domainname.com soooo the result is you have 2 addresses with the same content BUT...

You still need a redirect to the actual typed address or link address (that you may be clicking on) to switch to (if neccessary) the primary address (in my case http://domainname.com) so the result is only having 1 address associated with that content.....sooo all in bound links flow to that 1 single address...therefore SEO friendly :)

Not quite sure why I needed to add back in the CNAME alias of www to ghs.google.com for the whole redirect to work properly. I might have to remove it again and wait 3 days and see what happens to be sure.

I'm thinking though since we are using ghs.google.com as the host server you can't redirect a page (in my case www.domainname.com) unless that page has a connection to Blogger which the CNAME does.

Anyone feel free to rip this theory apart as I am a DNS Retard with a little knowledge now (Dangerous) :)
Hemendra Kumar Saini - #
September 26, 2012 at 4:49 AM
Does it have any effect on google search engine ranking or so on.
Kernc - #
September 28, 2012 at 6:19 PM
@Alain-Christian, can you please try if this still works? I'm sure I followed everything correctly, but I'm kind of hitting a wall here...
Mohan Pendyala - #
October 1, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Fix Blogger Naked Domain 404 Error 100% Working(no need to create any accounts)

http://www.techsoulz.com/2012/09/fix-blogger-naked-domain-404-error-100.html

100% Working
Kick Blogger - #
October 25, 2012 at 4:35 PM
Quite interesting thing. Will surely give it a try to see if it works. However, i doubt that space could be counted here to avoid the blogger condition of not hosting blog at naked url.
Alain-Christian Seraphin - #
November 4, 2012 at 4:31 AM
@Kick Blogger

Without the space it doesn't work. The space disappears after refresh.
Alain-Christian Seraphin - #
January 3, 2013 at 2:23 AM
@Mohan Pendyala

That post was baffling. But it looks like your post is telling people to add the www. That totally goes against the point of this exercise! lol
Alain-Christian Seraphin - #
January 3, 2013 at 2:25 AM
@Kernc

I'm not messing with my settings unless I really really have to. Sorry. :(
Wily Guy - #
January 5, 2013 at 8:41 AM
Getting the dreaded Error 12 not able to verify your authority.
I had this working with the www, but it isn't what I wanted and the naked didn't redirect to the www.

I guess I will wait to see if the DNS settings propagate.
Wily Guy - #
January 5, 2013 at 9:00 AM
So your method may no longer work? When you did yours did they have all of the mess with verification CNAME records?
Game Thug - #
February 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM
This does not appear to work.

Error 12 comes up when the space is entered before the naked domain.
Alain-Christian Seraphin - #
July 10, 2013 at 6:11 PM
@Game Thug
That's a shame. It might have been disabled since then.
Alain-Christian Seraphin - #
July 15, 2013 at 3:45 PM
@Hemendra Kumar Saini

That depends I suppose. The most important thing is to be consistent. Many naked domains are just fine on search rankings. I would worry more about content.
Alain-Christian Seraphin - #
July 18, 2013 at 3:18 AM
@Wily Guy

I'm not familiar with error 12, sorry. But I'm guessing the error means whatever you're trying to do didn't take effect.
saxeli gvari - #
August 14, 2013 at 8:12 AM
At first, you should set site with www.
after successfull adding, google settings give another option, "redirect yoursite.com to www.yoursite.com" and check that checkbox.
Efren Sandoval - #
September 26, 2013 at 6:34 PM
Not working on .me domains. I used the add-a-space hack and now Blogger apparently thinks I own the .me tld because aside from the verification CNAME it wants me to CNAME sample on sample.me to ghs.google.com as well. A bit funny if you think about how ridiculous it is if I could edit the settings for the .me tld. Not funny hitting a restriction wall though, as always.
gamer baccha - #
March 4, 2015 at 2:25 PM
brother canyou please tell my how to set up naked domain on freenom
Hoa Dang Nguyen - #
October 2, 2015 at 11:56 PM
This is not working right now. Do you have another solution?
Alain-Christian Seraphin - #
October 4, 2015 at 7:17 PM
@Hoa I do not. Perhaps request it on the developer forum that they bring the feature back?

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