How to buy and set up a custom domain


custom domain tutorial by tots100

Most bloggers start blogging because they love writing and sharing stories and pictures – not because they love computers.

So it makes sense to set up your blog on Blogger or These platforms are free, and your blog is hosted on someone else’s web space, meaning minimum technical headaches for you – hurrah!

There are some potential downsides, though, such as:

  • Some brands think a blog with a Blogspot/Wordpress address is less professional, and less likely to have a good page rank that a site with its own domain
  • Some people think it’s harder to get a good Google Page Rank if you’re on Blogspot/
  • If you decide to move to a new blogging platform in future, your blog address will change meaning you might lose links pointing to your old site, and you might lose readers too!

There is a solution – buy your own custom domain and use something called ‘domain mapping’ to change all your and addresses to your new address!

Here’s how you do it:

First, you need to decide on, and buy, a domain name. There are thousands of domain name registrars out there, and which one you use is really up to you – we have used and would recommend 123-reg.

You CAN buy a domain name through WordPress or Blogger but we recommend buying independently as some Tots100 bloggers have reported problems renewing domain names or moving them away from WordPress further down the line.

Visit your preferred domain company and first search to see if your chosen name is available. Decide if you want to buy the, .com, org or other versions of the domain – generally speaking, if you can buy the .com and, we’d suggest buying both, to avoid the risk of someone setting up a site later that might be confused with yours.

If you’re serious about creating a ‘brand’ with your blog, check whether the Facebook and Twitter versions of the domain are available before you buy, too.

Once you’re happy, click buy!

Once you’ve bought a domain

Think of your domain name as being a street sign, and your website is a house. Once you’ve bought your domain, you need to tell the domain company where on the Internet to put your sign, so it points to your site.

  • In your domain account, you need to go into the ‘dns settings’ part of your account and update the ‘name servers’ for your domain to NS1.WORDPRESS.COM, NS2.WORDPRESS.COM AND NS3.WORDPRESS.COM.
  • Now here’s the frustrating bit – you need to wait while these changes take effect. It will usually be 24 hours but can take up to 72 hours, depending on your ISP.
  • After 24 hours or so, return to your WordPress dashboard and click on ‘store’ in the left-sidebar and then select domains. In the space provided, add your new domain – if the new name servers are working, you’ll be prompted to pay for the upgrade. If not, wait a few hours, and try again.
  • Once your payment has gone through, you can go back to ‘settings’ ‘domains’ and then select your new domain as the site’s ‘primary’ domain. Job done! Your new address will be working and all your post addresses will be changed, too!


  • Once you’ve bought your domain log into your account and locate the DNS settings. Here, you need to change two settings: the CNAME and the A-RECORD.
  • In the CNAME field, first enter www and then
  • The A-RECORD is important because it means people will see your site even if they don’t enter ‘www’ in the browser. Here you need to put your domain name (without www) and list these four IP addresses:

  • Once you’ve done this, wait for a couple of hours to let the changes take effect. Go to your Blogger dashboard and select ‘settings’ and ‘basic’. Find the ‘publishing’ box and click the link to add a custom domain.
  • Next switch to ‘advanced settings’ and enter the URL for your custom domain. Click save, and you’re done!

Patience, grasshopper!

Having made changes to your blog, you’re probably REALLY keen to see your new domain up and running – but it won’t work right away.

For reasons of speed and efficiency, most ISPs only fetch the latest versions of web pages every 24 hours or so – so you will probably have to wait a few hours (and in the worst cases up to 72 hours) for your changes to be visible. If after that time you still can’t see the new site, try refreshing the page, clearing your browser history and reloading the page.

Have you moved to a custom domain? We’d love to hear your tips, if so.

Sally Whittle is founder of the Tots100, Foodies100, BlogSummit and the MAD Blog Awards. When she's not working, she can be found blogging at Who's the Mummy, or having fun with her 8 year old daughter, Flea.