Using ZoneEdit with Google Apps (Fasthosts example)

Google Apps provides great web hosting and email for free using a custom website address like this one.

Firstly, register a website name like this one: behindthewillowtrees.org.uk. Mine is registered with Fasthosts and these notes show what to do using a Fasthosts registered address. Fasthosts charge £6ish per two years for a org.uk address.

The first thing to notice is that Google Apps requires the creation of a series of DNS entries which are not allowed for the Fasthost nameservers. Therefore you need to move the nameservers elsewhere and I use ZoneEdit.

This is reasonably easy to do! Start by creating a new ZoneEdit account at http://zoneedit.com.

Once you have done that, you can control the DNS records from ZoneEdit. Changes to the ZoneEdit data will take effect very quickly.

You need to make three sets of changes:

1. The MX records: follow this:
http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=55378

2. The CNAME: In ZoneEdit create an alias for each subdomain you are using e.g. mail.domain_name.com. In each case point at ghs.google.com. You only need to type the word mail into the input form. You’ll have to configure www.domain_name.com this way as that’s what you’ll use in Google Apps to post the website.

3. Your address domain_name.com will not work when you use CNAME. Create a new Web Forward. In the form leave the "New Domain" box empty and add www.domain_name.com to the "Destination" box. Check "Cloaked" too. That should then make both www. domain_name.com and domain_name.com work.

With ZoneEdit ignore any instructions you will see about having a final dot on server names, and the need for " " in the expressions.

Google also expects you to confirm ownership of the site by creating another CNAME. Follow these instructions too http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=47283

Once everything is correct, it’s time to swap the nameservers. In your Fasthosts control panel go to Domains and Packages and then Domain Registration settings and then Advanced DNS. This is where you change the DNS server names from Fasthosts to ZoneEdit.

The nameservers to use are given in your ZoneEdit control panel under "nameservers"; use names like "ns7.zoneedit.com" and not the IP address. It can then take up to 48 hours for this to be implemented around the world, but I find that it starts pretty quickly.

That’s it!

10 comments to Using ZoneEdit with Google Apps (Fasthosts example)

  • Mihai

    Hi!Thanks for the article. I am using currently Fasthosts and I want to switch to Google Apps. I noticed that Fasthosts allows you to change the MX Server, but only by inserting the IP address, not the name of the server.Hope it’ll work.All the best!

  • John

    Glad it’s been of help.

  • Oliver

    Head first into the deep end but struggling to get my head around Part 3! especially:"In the form leave the 'form' box blank to and add www. domain_name.com as the forward address"Any chance of a dumbed down version where I can just plug in the numbers without needing to know what I'm doing!is there meant to be a space " " between www. & domain_name.com ?I have a domain parked with "fasthosts" & i am trying to configure Google Apps for mail & web page hosting? Specififcally this is for my domain "2bcreated.com"

  • John Smith

    Hi OliverSorry that wasn’t very clear! In step three, leave the “New Domain” box empty and add http://www.your_domain.com to the “Destination” box. Check “Cloaked” too. That should do you.I’ve edited the post.Good luckJohn

  • Thanks for your post was most helpful for configuring fasthosts with Google Apps. I’ve just done it all and just waiting for it to update!

  • Oh my gosh! You are amazing! I just got everything working, mail, etc. I broke my domain…but I’ll figure that out later. Thank you so much.

  • steve

    hi, this is very helpful. i have a question and i hope you will be able and willing to answer. a couple years ago, i set up google apps with a host and it has been working great. i am quiting hosting all together, but keeping my domain name registered with them. i’m trying to use zoneedit to be able to continue using Google Apps (especially mail).

    when i first set up GA with my current host, i had to do the CNAME verification. do i need to do that again when configuring zoneedit? if so, how do i get the CNAME number since through the administrative google apps portal, there is no longer that unique verification string? can i get away with simply putting in my_domain.com and ghs.google.com?

    also, after following your step three, i see 2 entries in the WebForward section: one where “my_domain.com redirects to http://www.my_domain.com cloaked” and one where “www.my_domain.com redirects to http://www.my_domain.com cloaked”, is that how it should look?

    thanks!

  • John

    Hi Steve

    Don’t think you will have to do the verification again. Your mail server data in ZoneEdit should look something like this:
    my_domain ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM 0
    my_domain ALT1.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM 10
    my_domain ALT2.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM 10
    my_domain ASPMX2.GOOGLEMAIL.COM 20
    my_domain ASPMX3.GOOGLEMAIL.COM 20
    my_domain ASPMX4.GOOGLEMAIL.COM 20
    my_domain ASPMX5.GOOGLEMAIL.COM 20

    In your webforwarding you have created a circle! You only need one entry to forward http://www.my_domain to my_domain. I don’t think you need to do this at all, as you are not hosting a site.

    John

  • Hi,

    great instructions – very helpful thanks.

    I have one problem now with ZoneEdit when I try to add web forwarding leaving the ‘new domain’ field blank fails validation and it won’t save. The error messages are:

    Site third-level domain is missing.
    Site third-level domain format is invalid.

    Any ideas?

    Many thanks
    Andy

  • Mike

    Same issue as Andy. I am getting this error message:

    Site third-level domain is missing.
    Site third-level domain format is invalid.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>