Virtual presence or web anchor is second to none for a peanut or billion dollar business. My company is at the peanut stage and every pea counts. Yahoo as a domain registrar makes you – I’m a late realizer. I used to pay USD 55 after the initial expiry of that attractive initial 2 year period. Essentially I coughed up USD 55 since 2008 until now. When I decided to have my own web presence, I tried Google Sites. It took me 3 days from conceptualization to reality to make the graphics and website – indeed hard work to understand HTML and meld it with my imagination and satisfaction. Next came the nightmare when Yahoo as a registrar never allowed Google Site verification using TXT record method in DNS. I was flabbergasted at the legacy old system which Yahoo runs and how that company is crumbling under its own inertia – no wonder its founder just resigned a day ago .
Decided to move from Yahoo small business domains to GoDaddy, poured up on this guide. Purchased 5 year private domain parking at USD 70+, saves me USD350 for another 5 years, as they offer an extra year free. Logged into my Yahoo domain to unlock domain, followed by changing the domain registration details from public to private and checked administration contact email to be valid – here’s the trick. Yahoo does a implore-able thing, when you first register, they ask you to create a yahoo user id and use that as the admin email address rather than the one you provided (your oft used one), so you need to specifically go to account info and change the ‘whois’ services record to reflect the admin contact email. Then got the Authorization code from Yahoo and supplied it to GoDaddy to effect transfer. This transfer completed in 2.5 days rather than said 7 days by Yahoo. Finally got the confirmation email from GoDaddy on Mon 19 Jan 2012 and started my stalled Google Apps setup earnestly. Spent 7 hours to get all setup completed: Sites, Email, Outlook 2010 client setup and all domain stuff pointing to right places.
My Google Sites setup was stopped at the verification stage and continued from there, first creating the TXT record for Google Apps – verified in 20 min against said 1 hour. GoDaddy is damn fast.
Next created all my 3 email users. Next changed ‘MX’ DNS entry to my proper domain. Next disabled POP and enabled IMAP. Tested email service from the browser to be OK. Then changed the mail access URL – to something like mail.yourdomain.com, you need to change the ‘mail’ CNAME DNS entry. Next is to authenticate email with a domain key. For this, in GoDaddy, you need to create a SPF record under TXT section of DNS management page.
While waiting for my DNS changes to take effect, I proceeded to migrate Google Sites to Google Apps. Created an account in current Google sites pointing to admin account of Goggle apps. Logged out and logged in using admin account, only going back to Google apps. Have to try a few rounds before got it right – i.e. logging into your Google Sites with an admin account of Google Apps and then copy the site to Google Apps Site. In Google apps you need to enable “Users can change permission of a site to public access”, if not the Google Site permission (in Google Apps) will not allow you to make a site public even to admin account.
After the site was copied, removed already configured domain web domain address (a defunct service provided by Yahoo registrar) in my temporary Google Sites website. Moved to Google Apps and changed the permission to allow all in the internet to find & view this site. Changed the naked domain address pointing by changing the ‘A’ DNS entry in GoDaddy to specified Google App site IP addresses and also doing a ‘forwarding change’ from here to site’s www.yourdomain.com address with Google Apps.
Outlook 2010 client setup next took at least an hour. Somehow upon configuring IMAP protocol, noticed that Outlook inputs 2 copies of sent mail instead one – very annoying. Then went into the outlook account setup and enabled “copy sent email in local folder” to solve this issue.
So there goes my story, to diligently configure my site, email server, email accounts under a specific domain in www finally - a dream since 2006. Worth 7 hours of a Thursday (19 Jan 2012) morning until evening to get that anchored presence in “the web” for free, courtesy Google Apps. Email backup has to come from Outlook 2010 client for now until we grow and be able to pay for it. Next comes the business challenges………