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How to Set Up a New Domain with Google Domains

Google Domains logo

Google Domains is a domain registrar and free DNS service from Google. If you’re in the market for a new website domain name, you should definitely be considering Google Domains for its ease of use and enhanced security.

Why Use Google Domains?

Google Domains is a no-nonsense registrar. They’re not trying to nickel and dime you for “Premium DNS,” or trying to sell you on unnecessary web hosting bundles—you simply pay the registration fee, configure your DNS, and forget about it. A good example of this is DNSSEC, an important feature that prevents DNS spoofing and poisoning attacks on your domain by authenticating your DNS contents with public keys. GoDaddy only includes this as a paid feature, but it’s a free feature of Google Domains.

Google Domains is also just extremely easy to configure. Adding new records is a breeze, and their DNS system even supports “Synthetic Records,” which act as a collection of automatically configured records. You can use these to automatically enable G Suite for your domain, verifying ownership with a CNAME and routing to their mail servers with an MX record in one easy to add line. Other records include automatic subdomain forwarding and free Dynamic DNS.

On top of this, Google Domains is very secure. Your domain name is extremely important—it literally controls access to your site, and if someone managed to gain access to your account, they could steal your entire website. It’s important to lock your account down. Google supports two-factor authentication, which you should really enable regardless of whether you own a domain.

But, if you really want maximum security, you should look into enabling Google’s Advanced Protection for your account. This will involve getting a hardware security key like the one below, which you will be required to plug in whenever you access your account from a new device. This makes your account basically impossible to break into, and with your domain behind it, your website will be safe.

Google Titan Security Key Fob

All in all, if you’re looking for a new domain name for a new website, Google Domains is probably your best bet. If you need more professional features, you might also want to consider AWS’s Route 53 DNS, which is highly configurable and integrates well with their hosting environment.

If you’re looking to transfer an existing domain, you’ll first need to unlock it at your current registrar, then transfer it over from the Google Domains Console. From there, you’re free to set up and use Google Domains.

Getting Started

Head over to the Google Domains Search console, and start typing the names you’re interested in. Google will search its records and tell you which extensions are available, as well as some alternate domain names if they’re not. If you click on a domain, you can view some basic information about it.

search for domain

Some of these domains are marked as “More Secure.” These domains are part of an HSTS-preload list, so any connection to sites using these domains will be automatically loaded over HTTPS, which saves an extra round trip due to HTTP redirections. However, you can enable this feature manually for your website, so it isn’t anything special.

Once you have a domain you like, you can add it to your cart, and check out. You’ll probably want to keep “Privacy Protection” on, as it hides your WHO.IS data. You can turn off auto-renew here if you’d like.

purchase domain

Once you verify your email address, your domain should be instantly accessible from the Google Domains console. Click “Manage” to edit your DNS settings:

edit dns settings

You can link your domain with an IP address quite easily by going to “DNS” in the sidebar and scrolling down to the “Custom Resource Records” section. You can add new A records here, which should point to your web server’s public address (and AAAA for IPv6, if you choose to use that as well).

link your domain with an IP address by going to "DNS" in the sidebar and scrolling down to the "Custom Resource Records" section.

One thing you’ll want to check on this page is the toggle for DNSSEC to protect your doman from attacks like DNS cache poison attacks and spoofing:

check DNSSEC

Also, if you’re planning on using this domain for a custom Gmail, you can authenticate your domain in advance and add the necessary MX records all at once, by enabling the G Suite “Synthetic Record.” Otherwise, you can set up email forwarding from the “Email” tab, or get started on enabling G Suite.

turn on gsuite

If you want to turn on dynamic DNS for a subdomain, you can do so under the “Synthetic Records” drop-down menu.

dynamic DNS

You’ll have to use the provided credentials to link a Dynamic DNS client, such as DDclient, to Google Domains.

Anthony Heddings Anthony Heddings
Anthony Heddings is the resident cloud engineer for LifeSavvy Media, a technical writer, programmer, and an expert at Amazon's AWS platform. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and CloudSavvy IT that have been read millions of times. Read Full Bio »

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