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 are looking for a new website domain name, you should definitely consider Google Domains for its ease of use and enhanced security.

Why use Google Domains?

Google Domains is a no-frills registrar. They’re not trying to charge you through “Premium DNS” or sell you unnecessary web hosting offers – you just pay the registration fee, set up 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 authenticate your DNS content with public keys. GoDaddy only includes this as a paid feature, but it’s a free feature from Google Domains.

Google Domains is also extremely easy to set up. Adding new records is a snap, and their DNS system even supports “synthetic records,” which act as a collection of automatically configured records. You can use them to automatically activate G Suite for your domain, verify ownership with a CNAME, and route to their mail servers with an MX record in one easy-to-add row. Other registrations include automatic subdomain transfer and Free dynamic DNS.

In addition, Google Domains is very secure. Your domain name is extremely important – it literally controls access to your site, and if someone manages to gain access to your account, it could steal your entire website. It is important to lock your account. Google supports two-factor authentication, which you really need to enable whether or not you own a domain.

But, if you really want maximum security, you should consider activate Google’s advanced protection for your account. This will involve getting a hardware security key like the one below, which you’ll need to plug in every time you access your account from a new device. This makes your account virtually impossible to break in, and with your domain behind, your website will be safe.

Google Titan Security Keychain

Overall, if you are looking for a new domain name for a new website, Google Domains is probably your best bet. If you need more professional features, you may also consider AWS Route 53 DNS, which is highly configurable and integrates well with their hosting environment.

If you want to transfer an existing domain, you must first unlock it with your current registrar and then transfer it from the Google Domains Console. From there, you are free to configure and use Google Domains.

To start

Head to the Google Domains Search Consoleand start typing the names that interest you. Google will search for its records and tell you which extensions are available, as well as other domain names if they are not. If you click on a domain, you can view basic information about it.

search for a 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, avoiding an extra round trip due to HTTP redirects. However, you can enable this feature manually for your website, so it’s nothing special.

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

buy a domain

Once you’ve validated your email address, your domain should be instantly accessible from the Google Domains Console. Click on “Manage” to modify your DNS settings:

change DNS settings

You can link your domain to an IP address fairly easily by going to “DNS” in the sidebar and scrolling 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).

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

check DNSSEC

Additionally, if you plan to use this domain for a custom Gmail, you can authenticate your domain in advance and add the necessary MX records at the same time, by enabling G Suite’s “Synthetic Record”. Alternatively, you can set up email forwarding from the “Email” tab or start activating G Suite.

activate gsuite

If you want to enable dynamic DNS for a subdomain, you can do so in the “Synthetic records” drop-down menu.

Dynamic DNS

You will need to use the credentials provided to associate a dynamic DNS client, such as DDclient, at Google Domains.

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