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#46: Domains, DNS, Hosting and Google Apps

Dealing with domains and hosting and all the server setup stuff isn't usually the most comfortable stuff for web designers. In this screencast I walk though my regular process and share many little tips of how I like to handle it. I use a real live domain name that I recently purchased on Go Daddy, point it to my Media Temple hosting and then switch the email handling to Google Apps.

Links from Video:


  1. Permalink to comment#

    Great video again Chris.

    You ever thought about being a teacher / lecturer ?

  2. I’ve always wondered, what’s to stop the likes of GoDaddy or 123-reg who I usually use, saving all of the domain searches I make to see if they are available and then registering all the ones that seem interesting. I suppose the sheer volume would make it hard work..

    But does anyone know of a tool that ‘promises’ not to harvest these searches?

    • Permalink to comment#

      Look for ICANN’s Whois. I can almost guarantee they don’t care what you’re searching for, and won’t harvest it.

      I can’t tell you 100% (nor could most), but it’s your best bet.

    • sparky
      Permalink to comment#

      I searched for a domain last year at and they did a temporary registration on it so I HAD to purchase it there. Really sleazy. I believe that GoDaddy is fine. BTW, when purchasing from GoDaddy, I use this link and almost always get a couple bucks off with coupons and whatnot.

    • Benjamin
      Permalink to comment#

      A family member of mine had the similar issue on Network Solutions.

      I have always used GoDaddy and will continue to use them. The support is great, the new interface is improved.

    • Permalink to comment#

      This was actually a practice for some registrars in the past. I don’t think it’s done anymore, though. If a registrar did this today, I think they would suffer a terrible and maybe fatal reputaion management problem.

  3. Yosy
    Permalink to comment#

    Great as usual !!
    Thank you Chris.

  4. Jason
    Permalink to comment#

    Great Video!

  5. Permalink to comment#

    Awesome video Chris. I am a great fan of your video tutorials.

  6. Permalink to comment#

    Just wanted to say that I’m new to css-tricks. I stumbled upon your site and decided to watch a few videos and read a few articles and now I’m hooked. Really high quality info. Keep up the good work!

  7. Brian
    Permalink to comment#

    Really love all your videos!!! Thanks a lot!

  8. Permalink to comment#

    Nice vid Chris, keep up the great work

  9. Permalink to comment#

    Thanks Chris!

  10. I have been check out your site for the past few weeks, but now i am hooked. That was amazing. I knew a lot of what you where talking about, but you should me some new things and cleared a lot up. Great video for everyone.

  11. Permalink to comment#

    good video Chris, i just love MT’ back-end.
    did you put css tricks back on your grid server?

    • Nope, but I kept the grid service around. No use in moving all those sites since grid service is so cheap anyway.

  12. Permalink to comment#

    Hooray for the (mt) GS!

    I’m currently using (mt) to host my email, and I have to say I’ve had no problems yet. I may transfer it to Google one day though, just to make accessing it a little easier. As long as I can get it to work with Thunderbird though! ;)

  13. Permalink to comment#

    ey ey ey!!
    Chris Rules.
    Greetings from Spain. That is not near Mexico or Venezuela how thinks ex-president and idiot Bush xDD

  14. Awesome tutorial Chris… I always thought Google Apps was a paid service for some reason, maybe because they hide the free version so well… lol. Do you know if they still offer IMAP access – I know regular gMail has it.

  15. Mike Summers
    Permalink to comment#

    Perfect Timing! I have a MT DV account and have heard many say that using Google apps for email is a great way to save on resources. I didn’t know anything about it but you’ve handed it to me on a platter. Thank you!

  16. Permalink to comment#

    its very useful, thanks for make it and sharing

  17. sparky
    Permalink to comment#

    I, too, have just gotten hooked up with MT gS service. Does anyone have any feedback on how their mail service works? Does it work okay or does it count against your GPU’s as referenced above? Is the mail delivery pretty reliable?

  18. Saeed
    Permalink to comment#

    you are awesome man.

    what to do if the client ask you to purchase the domain and register it with the client info(the client is the owner). I tried to do this with Godaddy but it seems that I have to create new account for the client and purchase the domain with the new account.
    Is there any alternative way to handle this situation.

  19. Permalink to comment#

    Great screencast! I have a situation where a client has about 25 existing emails with their old host but the redesigned website is going to be moved to a new host. If I’m not going to use Google Apps, is the best way to handle this to tell them to hang onto their old host solely for the purpose of email accounts and I then change the MX records on the new hosting account to point to their existing host? I’m thinking this would be best to prevent resetting all of their email passwords, or having to gather them up and enter them all into the new host.

    • With only 25 emails, I would think manually moving them over to the new hosting would be better than paying for two hosting packages. But you then also need to change 25 peoples settings in their email clients, and I know that can be a pain.

    • Permalink to comment#

      Got ya, I may just manually move them over. Thanks for the reply.

  20. I love your site and tutorials, Chris. I kind of have the opposite background than you – I have a deep technology background, and I’m trying to upgrade my design skillset.

    I have a few opinions on registrars and DNS, and a couple of things to add for your readers.

    GoDaddy has been the best registrar I’ve used, and I’ve used both NetSol and Yahoo in the past. I had 20 or so domains at Yahoo, and I transferred every one of them over to GoDaddy. Doing a simple thing like redirecting your non-www domain name to the www subdomain in Yahoo and NetSol is not intuitive at all, and in the one instance where I needed a TXT DNS entry, only GoDaddy supported creating TXT entries.
    For the most part, I don’t change the name servers for the domains I own and manage. Since I’ve never had an issue with GoDaddy’s DNS, I just leave it all there. If there is a need to host your site with a hosting company other than GoDaddy, you can simply point an A record to the proper IP address and leave the name servers as-is. If you don’t have a hosting account anywhere and still wanted to use Google Apps on your own domain,
    You are right – everyone should own their own domain names, but they don’t need to send you their user name and password to manage their DNS. GoDaddy now has what are called Account Execs. You can name someone as a manager of your domains and control their access to what they can and cannot change on your domains. This is a very cool feature.
    One of the very cool things about Google Apps is that you can have multiple domains pointing to the same GMail account. So, like you, I have 30 or 40 domains, but I don’t want to have 30-40 Google Apps logins. You set up domain aliases in GMail, and you can send and receive email from multiple domains.
    Propagation time for your DNS changes should take about 20 minutes to an hour domestically. It’s the international propagation that takes 24-48 hours. I set up Google Apps from scratch for my daughter’s domain name the other day, and we had full functionality in about 15 minutes. Amazing that this can be done so quickly and easily – and for free.

    Finally, a tip for your readers – don’t forget the period at the end of the server names for your Google Apps MX records. Some DNS control panels will put them in for you, some won’t. Some want the period at the end, some don’t, so be careful.

    Love the site and the screen casts!

  21. Permalink to comment#

    I agree with the fact that companies should own their own domain names. I have tried many times to get client’s previous designers to release domain names and they have hijacked them so the client cannot switch designers. This is a terrible practice and reflects poorly on the industry. You own the business, you own the domain name.

    I don’t own any of my client’s domain names…they do.

  22. monaye
    Permalink to comment#

    Great Video!! But I will never use google as any hosting.. why? Try to get support from them. You will understand. Godaddy -> too messy.

    I am planning to try mosso next time.

  23. Permalink to comment#

    Chris, what do you have to say about buying a domain from your host as opposed to 2 separate places. I know dreamhost will do a domain if you get hosting for free.

    • If that works for you, that’s cool. I’d just rather stick with a company that is mainly in the domain registration business, not a company that is mainly in the hosting business. That way I can keep all my domain registrations all together on one account forever. (ideally).

    • Permalink to comment#

      Could you do a video on comparing hosts? ( I know its not CSS related, but it is to this video, like a #46b) I’ve only really used dreamhost, so that’s all I know, plus I really like how they have unlimited disk space and bandwidth (used to be +100mb/+1gb per month), and my only complaint is that they are sometimes slow, but everything else is excellent. Why did you choose (mt)?

    • Permalink to comment#

      Oh, and if the hoster is ICANN certified, then why does it really matter if domains are their thing or not? Isn’t a domain a domain, no matter how you look at it? Plus then it really is, ALL in one place. Dreamhost even makes it easy to set up google apps with the account.

    • I definitely see your point there, I’m just saying it kind of weirds me out. What if you decide you don’t like that hosting company anymore. Can you keep your domains registered there and change the DNS to a different hosting company? Can you trust them to do that? Will they do it promptly?

  24. Snookerman
    Permalink to comment#

    @Chris – Thanks for the html-ipsum site, it’s very useful!I Just some feedback/suggestion: add this to your jQuery code:$('a[href="#"]').click(function(e){
    e.preventDefault(); });
    I’m sure you know what it does. Thanks again! (hmm.. this comment thing won’t accept return)

  25. Permalink to comment#

    Ok this is weird. I followed this tut and everything works (thanks this was an awesome video post). But here is the weird part, I can’t receive email from certain friends. Their email don’t show up anywhere. And clues as to what might be happening to deny these emails from getting through? (No filters are set)

    • How long has it been since you set up all the MX records?

      Did you have your email with another service or provider before moving to Google Apps/GMail?

      Sometimes, what happens is old DNS records are cached somewhere – maybe on a local network, but somewhere – and they point to different host names. If this is the case, those emails won’t get through to you.

      Start diagnosing by finding out what friends, and what networks and providers they use. If some or most mail gets through, it’s most likely something outside of your Google Apps setup and DNS records that is causing the problem.

      Also, check your spam folder pretty carefully. GMail does a great job with spam, but you never know…

    • Permalink to comment#

      I figured it out and this is an IMPORTANT little step that anyone using mediatemple should read that has followed this screen cast! It is possible that even with the correct MX files set up to run email through Google’s Gmail, mediatemple user’s email might still try to target the default mediatemple MX files. For example, even with the right MX records set up, email was ignoring the GMail path and was instead being sent to the SquirrelMail.

      You need to click on “Enable/Disable mail” on the user admin page in mediatemple and choose “NO.” This will force the email to ignore local settings and always route to the external Gmail MX settings.

      This really sucked to figure out, but make sure your email can reach the new Gmail inbox. If it can’t, the above fix is simple to do. This is only an issue that exists between mediatemple users. So just do this automatically when setting up your “external” email account using Google apps.

      I wonder if this problem only exists between users on the same server or grid?

    • Permalink to comment#

      Great catch. This is crucial if you are returning form data. I was going nuts trying to figure out why my Google account was receiving email yet NOT from a mail form script on my MT-hosted site for which the MX records were set for Google. Turning off local mail server solved the issue. There is no WAY that’s obvious, so thanks for posting your solution!

    • Yes this is true, this can be a problem. Generally when you move your MX records to Google Apps, you should turn off the mail server on your server. Otherwise you’ll have issues just like you described where some email seems like it gets through but others don’t.

      It will be especially a problem if you run an application on the same server that sends email, as that will get trapped sending the mail locally almost surely.

      Most hosts warn you about this, but I can’t speak for all of them of course.

  26. Angela
    Permalink to comment#

    Hey Chris, did you remove the video? The screencast is missing from the page.

  27. Permalink to comment#

    Thank you Chris. ;) your perfect

  28. Permalink to comment#

    Awesome video Chris. Tnx for the video tutorial :)

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