I wanted a shorter, simpler URL for my daughter’s volleyball site which resides on sites.google.com. The athletic director wanted a website address that was easier to remember if you didn’t have a bookmark handy. I agreed and told her I’d looking into purchasing a domain name and that they usually go on sale near the end of the year.
On Black Friday, I was able to find deals on web hosting and domain registrations through HostGator.com, the company that hosts my son’s basketball team website (stlpatriots.org). HostGator essentially had hosting and domains for 75% off if you purchased the first three years up front — a savings of over $160. I took advantage of the sale to purchase a a couple of domains for me and a new domain for the volleyball team.
What I initially thought was that after the purchase, I would just reference it as a new web address from the Google site. What I didn’t realize is that to do that, you have to provide them with verification that you own the new domain you want to add either by adding a TXT or CNAME entry to your domain’s DNS zone records. I had seen zone edit capabilities on my site’s cPanel, so I thought would be pretty straightforward.
When I tried to make changes from my cPanel, I ran into a road-block. The hosting account I had HostGator.com (Hatchling) didn’t allow me to perform zone edits on domains that were not the ‘primary’ domain for the account. In order to do so, I would need to upgrade to the next level — essentially erasing my savings from the Black Friday sale. That seemed unreasonable given the cost when all I wanted to do was essentially perform a redirect from the new domain to the Google site.
After some digging on the HostGator knowledge base, I found my answer. All I needed to do was set the (DNS) nameservers for the new domain to HostGator’s domain registrar (launchpad.com) and then open a ticket to their billing department providing them with my domain and the URL I wanted it to point to. Once they worked the ticket, the redirect was working for me in a couple hours and propagated out the next day. Now we have a much easier to use (and remember) web address for the team site. -MC