Google Domains has a terrific interface for registering domains and it's at a pretty good price ($12 a domain where you can't get better than $9 but other places are sneaky about tagging on extra costs). I also highly recommend it for web beginners (people who've never set up a website before), because after you register there are some good minimal click options to setup hosting or to connect to a free blog etc, etc.
Connect Your Custom Google Domain URL to New Google Sites
The completely free option I love is to setup a Google Sites website (easy to do) and then connect my google domain. Kind of nice to keep it completely in Google, but the instructions our there are broken.
Let's say I've got:
- [strawberriesforsmile.com http://www.strawberriesforsmiles.com] - as the domain I registered with Google Domains.
- https://sites.google.com/view/strawberries-for-smiles/ - as the site I just published with Google Sites. (the new Google sites, not classic sites).
Option 1: Forwarding (lame)
You can setup forwarding by going to Google Sites > click Manage for your domain > click Website (on the left) and set domain forwarding to "https://sites.google.com/view/strawberries-for-smiles/". Wait an hour and this should forward "strawberriesforsmiles.com", but you'll see the nasty long sites URL. Doh! You probably want proper mapping.
Option 2: Proper Mapping
Go to your Google Sites in (edit mode), click the hamburger (the three dots for more options) select Custom Urls. Type in your URL (www.strawberriesforsmile.com) and then it should automatically verify.
IMPORTANT: It's far far easier if you create the Google Site with the same Google login as your Google Domains.... otherwise there is a nasty verification process which I never actually got working successfully!
Go to your Google Domains > click Manage for your domain > click DNS (on the left) and start by creating a Custom resource records with:
- Name: www
- Type: CNAME
- TTL: 1h
- Data: ghs.googlehosted.com
You can wait a couple of hours for this to take effect, but it will only map if you type "http://wwww.strawberriesforsmiles.com"... *not* if you enter the naked domain: "http://strawberriesforsmiles.com".
Fortunately it seems to work if you add next (also under the DNS tab) a Synthetic record with the settings:
- Subdomain: @
- ... Permanent redirect (301), Forward path, Disable
... the "@" covers the naked domain and then everything should work as expected. Finally! Final thing should look like this: