Monday, 29 March 2010

On subdomains, DNS and explodery bits

You might have noticed a minor change in this blog. Well, a fairly major change. I've renamed it to use one of the various random domains I own rather than the rather naff blogspot URL. This is a fairly simple configuration in Blogger blogs, but it's been something of a nightmare getting my 1and1 hosted domain to work.

The problem stems from the requirement to use Google's own DNS servers for it, coupled with the fact that Blogger won't let you host a blog on a "naked" domain. Subdomains only. I tried using the provided IPs, and that didn't work. 1and1 simply disallowed them. So I used resolveip to find out their hostnames and used those. That seemed to work!

Then, an hour or so later, I noticed that my domains were broken. DNS errors, apparently. Something about those servers just caused 1and1 to break horribly. I couldn't use the IPs, I couldn't use the hostnames, but I wanted to work around it somehow.

I figured that the only requirement is that the configured subdomain points at the IP the blog is being served from. Turns out this is actually really simple; they're all hosted on the IP that resolves to ghs.google.com. I created a CNAME record for my www subdomain and set it to ghs.google.com, then used 1and1's admin utility to force a redirect from the naked domain (lazyrobot.org.uk) to the subdomain (www.lazyrobot.org.uk).

This worked a treat, and didn't require any changes to the configured DNS hosts at all. One day, I hope to use a provider that doesn't explode my domains when trying to use Google's DNS. Until then, this little hack works well enough.

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