About a week ago, my team and I finally got to work on the website for CanShare, a cancer support group in the Philippines. We purchased the domain from name.com, unaware that something would happen that would make our noses bleed. After we tried to redirect a Blogger/ Blogspot blog to the naked domain, we saw a notification that stumped us all: Another blog or Google Site is already using this address.
Say what now? We just purchased the domain! We then tried to look for the supposed blog or Google site that used our domain before we did. After we went to www.canshare.org, we were redirected to start.canshare.org – and there was another website parked there.
Indeed, “another blog or Google site is already using this address”. What a nightmare! We knew we hit a brick wall. We were absolutely stumped for about three days. We tried everything, including Nitecruzr’s walkthrough which, honestly, I thought would solve the issue. After all, Google forum recommended it and Nitecruzr is one of Google’s top contributors.
Although his walkthrough wasn’t the magic solution we hoped for, it did provide us some insight, which I’m sharing below before we proceed.
- Someone must have purchased the domain before you did and used different subdomains for his Google Apps. Now that his ownership of the domain has expired, you were able to purchase it. In our case, about an uncertain period of time ago, someone already used www.canshare.org, our current domain, and used the subdomain start.canshare.org as a means to access some Google App. And your case may not be very different. Usually, the guilty app is Start Page or Google Sites. But don’t panic; we’ve figure out a way to debug the whole “another blog or Google site is already using this address” issue.
- There is a bug when you purchase a naked domain (one without the “www” right before it). I remember vividly how we purchased canshare.org, not www.canshare.org, from name.com. Apparently, that’s where all the trouble begins. So for future reference, DON’T purchase a naked domain again if you’re planning to redirect a Blogger or Blogspot blog to that domain.
- It’s Google, not name.com, that’s at fault here. At first, I thought name.com was the guilty party. It’s only after my team and I prayed for inspiration, slept on it several nights, and brainstormed until we were bleeding out of our ears that we realized it was Google Apps that was giving us trouble.
It’s important that you understand why you’re having this problem. That way, you know exactly why you’re about to do the steps below to get rid of the “another blog or Google site is already using this address” problem. Relax, breathe in, breathe out, and count to ten before I help you successfully redirect your Blogger blog to your newly purchased naked domain.
Another blog or Google site is already using this address: THE SOLUTION
Before we redirect your Blogger blog to your new (but buggy) domain, you might want to open two browsers if you’re using a different username for your Blogger account and your Google Apps account. For instance, open a Chrome browser and a Mozilla Firefox browser at the same time.
- Type in your domain name onto any browser. That way, you’ll find out where it redirects. Does it redirect to start.YOURDOMAINHERE.com? That means some obsolete page from the previous domain name owner is still attached to the “start” subdomain. Ah, now you know. And believe me, this is important!
- Sign in to your Google Apps account using one browser. (You can do that by typing in www.google.com/a/YOURDOMAINNAME. For instance, for the CanShare website, I typed in www.google.com/a/canshare.org.) Then, sign in to your Blogger account using the other browser.
- If you haven’t fixed your DNS registry on name.com yet, please do. You can use this old walkthrough on how to use your custom domain on a Blogspot blog; it uses the old Blogger format, but it still works. (But please follow only the first six bullets; the seventh to the last bullets are for non-problematic redirects which, obviously, is not the case here.)
- Now, you need to get rid of that stubborn subdomain that’s been derailing you from a successful Blogger-to-domain redirect. Go to your Google Apps account. Again, that’s www.google.com/a/YOURDOMAINNAME. For example, for the CanShare website, I typed in www.google.com/a/canshare.org. Click on the settings tab on the far right corner. You’ll see Google Sites on the left part of the screen; click on it. Then, click on the “General” tab. Click on the “change URL” link.
- You will now see two options in front of you. The first option will allow you to keep the present URL of Google Sites. The second option will allow you to redirect to a new URL. Now, remember that stubborn subdomain that keeps popping up on your browser whenever you type your naked domain? THAT is what you’re going to type in the second option!
In our case, typing canshare.org into our browsers often redirected us to start.canshare.org. So, we used “start” as our subdomain for the new URL of Google Sites. Make sure to click on the second option to activate it.
- Now comes the interesting part. By now, you already know that SOME OTHER SITE is redirecting to your subdomain (which, in our case, was a cybersquatter redirecting to start.canshare.org). Using it again as a subdomain will bring out the guilty site! You will receive a notification telling you that there has been a duplication of the URL you’re about to use. Now that it’s out in the open, you can redirect that OLD SITE (the one using the stubborn subdomain) to its OLD URL.
Oh, and don’t forget to deactivate the redirect for both Google Sites and the old site, okay? That way, NO SITE is being redirected to the stubborn subdomain. Yay!
- But we’re not done – not nearly. This is going to seem repetitive, but it’s a necessary step to get rid of the buggy coding that’s going on. Go back to your Settings tab. Again, just as you did previously, click on Google Sites > General > change URL. Then, this time, choose the second option and type in the stubborn subdomain!
I know, it’s counterintuitive, but that should restart the entire system. After you do, click on “save changes”. The next page will teach you how to supposedly make the right DNS registry changes on name.com – but the instructions are incomplete!
- You have to add another CNAME registry at name.com. While you’re at the DNS management page, choose “CNAME” under the “type” column. Type in “start” (or whatever stubborn subdomain you used to redirect your Google Sites to). Under the “answer” column, type in “ghs.googlehosted.com” (without the quotes). Under TTL, type “3600”. Save your changes.
- Now, let’s do a quick test. Type in start.YOURDOMAINHERE.com on your browser. This should redirect you to Google Sites. If it does, then you’re right on track.
- Go back to your Google Apps dashboard. Again, access Settings > Google Sites > General> Change URL. This time, choose the first option (the one that doesn’t use the stubborn subdomain).
- Go back to your name.com DNS management page. Delete the entire CNAME entity you created a few minutes ago.
- Now, go back to your Google Apps dashboard. access Settings > Google Sites > General. Scroll down and you will see an uninstall option. Uninstall your Google Sites for now. This shouldn’t be a problem because you’re using your Blogger blog, not some other site you created with the help of Google Sites.
- Go to your Blogger dashboard. Now, it’s time to finally redirect your Blogspot blog to your new domain! Go to your Settings page. Under “Publishing”, you can finally redirect your blog to the custom domain. Make sure to type the “www” because Blogger doesn’t accept naked domains.
- If your reset was successful, you will see a warning notification in red. This time, it will say your DNS registry hasn’t been completely set up! You need to make the correct CNAME registry changes before you can redirect. Basically, it means making one more CNAME entry on name.com (by now, you should be an expert) using the settings specified. The entries you will use seem to be garbled text; don’t worry, you’re right on track.
- After you’ve made those changes on name.com, go back to your Blogger dashboard. This time, you can successfully redirect your Blogspot blog to your new domain! Hurray!
And that’s that! No more “Another blog or Google Site is already using this address” error. Now, you can improve the SEO of your blog by doing robots.txt optimization and duplicate META description cleanups. Congratulations! Your worst nightmare is over!
You can leave a comment if you have other problems related to the “Another blog or Google Site is already using this address” issue and I’ll try my best to help. And if this walkthrough helped you, please don’t hesitate to hit the like button and the G+1 button. I appreciate every click!