Advanced Skills‎ > ‎Domain Names‎ > ‎

Connect Domain

Connect a domain name to a Google Site

This is a multi-step process requiring configuration changes to your Domain Registrar records, to your Google Site, and to Google Webmaster Tools.

For a visual representation, refer to the diagram on the WWW Tools page.

Google Apps users: this page documents the process for consumer accounts, for Google Apps the setup process is different.

Verify to Google that you own the domain name

Before Google accepts traffic from a web address and directs it according to your instructions, first you must verify to Google that you actually own and control the domain name. To do this process requires some prep work at Google and then configuration changes at your Domain Registrar.  Here's some Google Help for Verify domain ownership.

At Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is a service site allowing you to "get data, tools, and diagnostics for a healthy, Google-friendly site."

The first time you click on the link, you'll be asked to sign in with your Google account.  The first time you visit the site, you'll be provided with some overview materials including an introductory video.

To get setup, you'll want to add a couple items into Google Webmaster Tools:
  1. Naked domain name -, by verifying ownership of the naked domain name, you'll be able add additional sites within Google Webmaster tools without needing to verify each subsequent URL (site) withing the domain.
  2. Your site - the full URL for your site: (or any other alternate name  Note, don't create an entry for the site URL records until after you've finished verifying ownership of the naked domain.
Follow these steps:
  1. Click the red 'Add a Site' button and enter the URL of the site.
  2. Verify Ownership - you should now see a page to help you verify your ownership of the URL.
    1. Select 'Alternate Methods' tab
    2. Select 'Domain name provider' and a drop-down list appears
    3. Select your Domain Registrar from the drop-down list.
    4. You will be provided with a set of instructions to use for adding a DNS record into your Domain Registrar account.  The instructions include the specific identification code that Google will use to verify your ownership of the URL.
      • I prefer adding a TXT record, however you can use any options Google supports.
        • Host field:  @
        • TXT Value:  <insert the code that Google Webmaster Tools provided such as google-site-verification=Ux8I5BlahBlahBlahBlahBlahBlahBlahBlahBlahBlah>
        • TTL: <leave as default>
      • Copy this information (to a text exitor) and proceed to the "At Domain Registrar" section (below).

    5.  Return to this page after completing the  'Domain Registrar' (as listed below)
      • Click the 'Verify' button at the bottom of the page.
      • The site should be verified fairly quickly (in seconds, not hours).
Note this process may be slightly different for Google Apps administrators.

At Domain Registrar

Modify your DNS settings at your Domain Registrar.

  1. Sign into your Domain Registrar (Domain name provider) account.
  2. Follow the steps that Google Webmaster Tools (above) provided you for adding a new record into your Domain Zone File.  (As mentioned above, I prefer adding a TXT record).
  3. After you've added the record, make sure you've saved everything. 

Remain signed into this account since you'll be needing it again in a couple minutes for the next section.

Return to the Google Webmaster Tools section to complete the verification.

Associate my Domain Records and Google Site

To get this last step in place, you need to:
  • Provide your Domain Registrar with instructions to send inquiries about selected web addresses to Google.
  • Provide Google with instructions for which Google Site should receive visitors for a particular web address.

At Domain Registrar

The DNS records for your domain must include instructions for directing inquiries for your particular subdomain URL to get to your Google Site.  This is done by adding a CNAME record to the DNS Zone File.  Follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Domain Registrar account (or perhaps you're still signed in from the previous section).
  2. Find the CNAME settings section
  3. Create a new CNAME record.  Add the following information into the fields:
    1. Value or Alias:  the subdomain prefix such as 'www' for
    2. Destination field:
    3. Save.
Note: it may take several hours for the new settings to propagate across the internet to Google (but ofter it is just minutes).  Proceed to the 'At Google Sites' section below to complete those steps, then wait.

Learn more by visiting Google's help for: Map your site to your own domain 

Wildcard option.  If you plan to have several Google Sites, you can use a wildcard in your domain record so you only have to configure Google Sites for future changes.

Here's how:
  • Rather than entering several CNAME records each with the specific sub-domain listed and directing them to Google, you can prepare a single CNAME record and in the sub-domain field enter the wildcard character: * (star).

At Google Sites

In Google Sites, there are 3 items to configure:

  1. Web Address Mapping
  2. Canonical URI
  3. Google Webmaster Tools Verification ID

Web Address Mapping

First setup a Web Address Mapping, so Google knows what Google Site to provide to visitors to when they enter a web address.

In Google Sites go to:

More Actions -> Manage Site -> Web Address 

You'll see a dialog like this:
  • Enter your web address, such as, or
By repeating the above step, you may be able to associate up to 5 web addresses with the same Google Site.

Note Google Apps users:  the Google Apps System Administrator must perform this task using a different configuration process.

Canonical URI

Now that you can access your website using more than one URL, the Canonical URI is used to tell search engines and analytics tools which one of the multiple URLs should be used to aggregate statistics and appear in search results.

After you've finished adding web address(es) on the More Actions -> Manage Site -> Web Address page. View the page to see which web address is identified as canonical.
  • Click the 'Set as canonical' link next to the address you want to use.
Recommendation - set this to your domain name rather than to as depicted below.


Note Google Apps users:  go to More Actions -> Manage Site -> General to configure the Canonical URI.

GWT Verification ID

For Google Webmaster Tools to function correctly (now that you are using your domain name) a verification meta tag should be set.
  • Go to:  More Actions -> Manage Site -> General
  • Scroll down to the 'Google Webmaster Tools' area
  • Get the verification tag you set aside earlier when you setup the Google Webmaster Tools in the section above,
  • Reformat the string so it looks like the 'Verification meta tag' example provided.
  • Paste the string into the field
  • Save

Test it

It can take several hours (or even a day) for the information to propagate through the Internet's DNS servers, however you may find that the changes are active for you quickly, within just a few minutes.

Enter your URL:   www.<> to check that your website appears.

Google Webmaster Tools

Sign into the to confirm that you site ownership is still verified.  Subsequently you can use that tool to review and improve search results (TBD link).

Learn More

In addition to my instructions, you can access Google's help at: Map your site to your own domain.