Starting your own blog on Blogger is pretty simple. Just follow three steps and you are ready to go. You post some interesting entries and then you want to share it with your friends and family. That’s when you fire an email saying “hey, check out my new blog at http://yourblogname.blogspot.com”.
Did you ever wonder why is it that your blog URL ends with blogspot.com and not just .com? Did you ever wonder why is it that some of your friends have blog URLs that looks like http://www.yourfriendsname.com? In this post, we’ll see why.
The default URL assigned by Blogger when you create a blog lies in the blogspot.com domain. A domain in Internet jargon here is a set of names. For example, the .com domain is the entire set of Internet names that end with .com and the domain blogspot.com represents a sub set of this bigger set. In technical terms, blogspot.com is called a sub-domain. (Each sub-domain can be further sub divided into smaller sub-domain.) This system of names used on the Internet is called the Domain Name System or the DNS in short. The DNS is a distributed, hierarchical system that governs the way Internet names (or domain names) are assigned and also how computers work with those names.
You cannot arbitrarily pick a domain name and use it because that name must first be registered with an authority that controls the particular domain or sub-domain. The .com is called a Generic Top Level Domain and it is controlled by an organization called the ICANN or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Similarly, we can say that blogspot.com is a sub-domain (under .com) for which Blogger has acquired the right to use and maintain. Therefore, while Blogger has no problem in assigning the URL yourblogname.blogspot.com as the default URL, they cannot assign the name yourblogname.com because they have no authority over the .com domain. This is where the custom domains come in to play.
What Blogger refers to as a custom domain is a domain that does NOT end with blogspot.com. If you want your blog to have the URL yourblogname.com, first you must acquire the right to use that domain name. For Blogger blogs this can be done via Blogger itself as described here. Otherwise you can purchase it from a third party domain registrar. Domain registrars are organization accredited by the ICANN to manage Generic Top Level Domains on its behalf. (There is another type of top level domains called County Code Top Level Domains which are managed by the naming authorities in those respective countries)
Once you purchase a custom domain such as yourblogname.com, then you can instruct Blogger to publish your blog using that custom domain. But before you decide to go for a custom domain, make sure that you analyze the pros and cons of custom domains. In follow up articles we’ll take a look at why you should use custom domains and what things you should worry about.