CNAMEs and Naked Domains



Creating a CNAME with your DNS Host / Registrar

  1. Log into your account with your DNS host / registrar
  2. Navigate to the DNS Control Panel for your domain (example.com)
  3. Scroll down to the CNAME (Alias) section
  4. Click the Add CNAME button / link
  5. For the CNAME (Alias), type "www"
  6. For the Host, type "ghs.google.com"
  7. Leave the TTL value at its default (GoDaddy defaults to 1 hour)
  8. Save your changes
That's it.  You're done.  Navigate on over to www.example.com and you should see your "mycoolsite" Google Site!  (Keep in mind that the internet is a big entity, and that it could take 24-48 hours for your changes to take effect.  In reality, I rarely see it take more than a few minutes for changes to take hold, but it is possible that you won't see your updates right away.)

See the official Google article outlining how to manage CNAMEs with many popular registrars.

What about my Naked Domain?

Google Apps Users:  Google provides a mechanism for redirecting your naked domain through your domain's control panel.  See the following article for more information:  Google Apps Naked Domain Redirect

As I mentioned at the top of this article, Google Sites does not support mapping your naked domain (http://example.com << without the preceding CNAME [www.]).  So, in order to get the naked domain to point to your website, you'll need to take advantage of your registrar's forwarding feature.

So, to achieve this with GoDaddy (sorry, but I don't have instructions for other registrars readily available.), you'll need to:
  1. Log into your account
  2. Select the "Domain Manager" option
  3. Select the domain you wish to forward
  4. Click the "Domain is not forwarded" link (located in the center of the screen, under "Forwarding" and above "Total DNS"
  5. Check the "Enable Forwarding" box
  6. Enter the URL to forward the domain to.  In this example, you would enter http://www.example.com
  7. Select the "301 Redirect" option
  8. Click OK
If you've purchased your domain through Google with eNom as your registrar, you can configure your naked domain to point to your mapped CNAME (subomain) through the following steps:
  1. Log into your Google Apps control panel at http://www.google.com/a/example.com
  2. Select Domain Settings >> Domain Names >> Advanced DNS
  3. Locate the provided username and password for your eNom DNS control panel and make note of them before clicking on the Sign in to DNS Console link
  4. Click Edit under the Host Records section
  5. Delete any existing A records
  6. Add a new Host Record with the following configuration (see sample image below):
    • Host Name:  @
    • Address:  http://www.example.com
    • Record Type:  URL Redirect
  7. Save your changes

I would expect this change to be in effect within about 30 minutes, but it could take 24-48 hours to fully propagate.