Help me get my blog back up!
July 7, 2012 12:51 PM   Subscribe

Why did my blog disappear?

I maintain an anonymous personal finance blog (so hopefully you can help me without the specific URL) and six months ago I got hold of my domain name and set it up through DomainClub.com.

Yesterday I noticed that www.domainname.com and www.domainname.blogspot.com were both returning page not found errors. I checked the Blogger backend and the DNS records and nothing has changed - everything is *exactly* according to the instructions in Blogger for adding a custom domain. Blogger has no known issues with redirects right now. I did a live chat with Domain Club and they said that the A records and CNAME were all entered correctly (which, duh, it's been working for six months and I didn't change anything and nothing got hacked). They said there is nothing wrong on their end. After an hour of turning the redirect off and on in the Blogger dashboard, both pages started showing up again.

But today I started getting reader emails that my site is down. So I check, and sure enough - both URLs return page not found errors again.

When I delete the custom domain from the Blogger dashboard, domainname.blogspot.com shows up fine. When I add it back, both domainname.com and domainname.blogspot.com go back to returning page not found errors. So clearly, this is some sort of an error with the forwarding, right? And Domain Club would have responsibility for this, not Blogger? Their live chat is off for the weekend but I've sent them a message - I'm just wondering if there's anything else *I* can do right now. Most of my traffic comes in on the weekend, so this sucks.

I'm relatively new to this whole managing domain things, so what should my next steps be?

Thanks!
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I had the same issue a few weeks back, and again, some months ago with 2 different domains/bloggers. If I set the domain as redirect in the Blogger settings, nothing would work. I now did it vice versa; domain redirects to blogspot, and I just give out the url www.domain.com.

Blogger has no known issues with redirects right now.

Now it has.
posted by MinusCelsius at 1:14 PM on July 7, 2012


Thanks, MinusCelsius - can you explain how you were able to force Blogger to do that? In either the new or the old interface, I only have the option to add a domain that blogspot.com gets redirected to, not the other way around.

thanks!
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 1:49 PM on July 7, 2012


In (hopefully not over-) simplified terms: Blogger only handles request coming to blogspot.com and can redirect those (or not). It does not receive directly request to your_domain.com and knows nothing about the traffic getting there. So Blogger can not do what you want to do i.e. redirect request to your_domain.com to itself.
posted by aroberge at 2:44 PM on July 7, 2012


Soooo....how to accomplish what MinusCelsius describes above? Or what to do instead?

Thanks.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 3:10 PM on July 7, 2012


It does not receive directly request to your_domain.com and knows nothing about the traffic getting there.

This is not true. If you've set things up properly, www.domainname.com is a CNAME for ghs.google.com, so all traffic for www.domainname.com ends up on Google's servers.

If I had to guess, I'd say there's a problem with the DNS records for www.domainname.com. Your mention of "the A records and CNAME" sounds fishy, but without knowing the details of your DNS setup I don't know if it's wrong. In any case, there should be a CNAME record for www.domainname.com (pointing to ghs.google.com), and there should NOT be an A record for www.domainname.com.

It's a bit difficult to offer more advice without knowing what your hostname(s) are.
posted by sriracha at 3:38 PM on July 7, 2012


Well, here's a copy-paste with generic domain name added in:

CNAME
Host: www.domainname.com
Address: ghs.google.com

Host: @ (domainname.com)
Address: ghs.google.com

A Records
Host: @ (domainname.com)
Address: 216.239.32.21

Host: @ (domainname.com)
Address: 216.239.34.21

Host: @ (domainname.com)
Address: 216.239.36.21

Host: @ (domainname.com)
Address: 216.239.38.21

Compare to Blogger's settings instructions here.

The weirdest thing is that nothing changed. It was working fine for six months until yesterday, when suddenly it's no longer working right, and I can't figure out why.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 4:15 PM on July 7, 2012


What I'm doing isn't on Blogger. I redirect the domain from the provider's page. I don't know what DomainClub is, but assuming that's where you registered the domain, that's also where you redirect it. I have the option to make it a frame redirect, so the url will always say "www.domain.com" instead of "name.blogspot.com"; the result is the same as having Blogger use my domain.

Go to where you registered the domain, find the settings for how you use the domain, then set the redirect. Every provider should have the options "forward to (url)" and "select directory/webspace". Pick "forward to (your blogspot)", never be bothered with Blogger's quirks again.
posted by MinusCelsius at 4:42 PM on July 7, 2012


Forgot to say: If you do that, uncheck "use my domain" on Blogger and just leave it as name.blogspot.com there. With a frame redirect, no-one is going to see that url anyway.
posted by MinusCelsius at 4:45 PM on July 7, 2012


I'm really late, but being the weekend hopefully you'll still be checking.

I have to disagree with MinusCelsius on the URL forwarding using frames. That is the "old" way of 'hiding' a blogspot, wordpress.com, typepad, etc. address. You need to figure out what's going on with your DNS and your CNAME record. This is the only way you're going to continue to get full url path addressing. It's easy, it's worked for six months, and it can work again. You just need DomainClub to help you figure out what squirrely thing has screwed with whatever. Obviously something has changed, is different (for whatever reason) and needs to be fixed.

The problem with simple "URL Forwarding" is that yes, it would show www.yourdomain.com in the address bar when someone goes to your blogspot and they wouldn't see the blogspot address. However, on every page, they'll just see "www.yourdomain.com" instead of "www.yourdomain.com/blog_post_about_whatever/ .... It will completely screw up your archives and people bookmarking particular posts. All they would ever see is www.yourdomain.com on every page. I know MinusCelsius was trying to help, but I just have to urge you to stick with your plan and just get it fixed.

You said in the Blogger dashboard when you delete the custom domain, the blogspot url works. This is a tip-off that the DNS servers (on the DomainClub end) are not activating and refreshing properly. Once everything is set right at DomainClub, you'll need to wait a bit before putting in the custom domain in the Blogger dashboard. It needs time to 'activate' and refresh. Once you've put in the custom name in Blogger - after the wait time for the DNS - you'll need to wait again. Google's DNS also has to have time to redirect (as long as 24 hours!). I am guessing DomainClub can trace down any problem or hang-ups and get you on your way. If you're not getting satisfactory support ask that they escalate your call to a higher level of tech support. The best are not taking routine calls, they are working on things like your problem. Get the best working on your problem. Last step is to do the same with Blogger. One or the other will find the problem.

The 'A' records come into play to allow visitors to still get to your blog by just putting in yourdomain.com without the "www." I don't think that has anything to do with your troubles.

Good luck!
posted by Gerard Sorme at 3:17 AM on July 8, 2012


Thanks, Gerard - I suspected something was wrong at DomainClub, because of the way the blogspot address works. I'll bring it up with them again on Monday.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 11:32 AM on July 8, 2012


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