Custom domain name on Google App Engine

As I was trying to set up a custom domain name for the Google App Engine app I’m working on, I realized the process is not as straightforward as I expected. Here’s a short rundown of steps I took to get mine working.

I guess the main point to understand is that you will set up a subdomain called www to point to your app on Google App Engine. So, when you access www.yourdomain.com you will get your app.

It’s worth noting that there are tutorials on how to set up your app so that it can be accessed by a “naked domain” – yourdomain.com – but I haven’t gotten that far yet.

Anyhow, here’s the sequence of steps to get your custom domain name to work with your GAE app. Please note that sometimes each step has a tutorial of it’s own available from Google. This is just an overview of the process.

1. In your app’s account select Application Settings from under Administration.

2. Click Add Domain.

3. Enter domain name and click Add Domain. This will take you to Google Apps registration page. Get yourself a free Google Apps account. In the process of registration you will indicate your domain name and will be asked if you want to activate “your app id” service. Click on Activate this service.

4. Somewhere in this process you are also asked to verify your domain name – follow the instructions given.

5. Once you’re signed up and in, you should see your app added to Service Settings. Select the app. Click Add new URL.
Type in ‘www’ into the subdomain input field. Click Add.

6. Now the important bit: updating the CNAME record at your domain registrar. Go to the DNS management page of your registrar. Each registrar is different. However, what you’re doing is “adding a custom DNS record to yourdomain.com.”

So, in the appropriate section add ‘www’ as a prefix to your domain. Make sure the type of record is CNAME and value or destination is ghs.google.com – click Save.

Custom domain name on google app engine

Setting the CNAME record at your registrar

7. Now go to your Google Apps Dashboard and verify that under Google App Engine and under your app id you will see two urls listed:
a) your-app-id.appspot.com and b) www.yourdomain.com

It might take from a few minutes to hours for the DNS information to propagate but now you should get your app by going to www.yourdomain.com

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