What "Another blog or Google Site is already using this address" really means

This article explains what "Another blog or Google Site is already using this address" means when you see it while setting up a custom domain for your blog - and what you can do to fix it.

What is a custom domain

A custom domain is a "real" website address, instead of the free one that you get when you first set up a blog using Blogger.   It's one of he essential steps if you want to use Blogger to make a "real" website.   For example:
  • You initially set up    www.yourBusiness.blogspot.com
  • Then you hear that people will treat you with more respect if you have www.yourBusiness.com  or www.yourBusiness.co.uk. 

In this case, www.yourBusiness.com  and   www.yourBusiness.co.uk   are both "custom domains", ie web-addressed without "blogspot.com" or "wordpress.com" at the end of the address.

To use www.yourBusiness.com, you need to either use Blogger's custom domain wizard - available under Settings > Basic > Publshing +Buy a custom domain.

To use www.yourBusiness.co.uk   (or any other type of URL that Blogger doesn't offer), you need to firstly buy the URL from another domain registrar, and then use a similar procedure to use that URL for your blog.

Sometimes things go wrong

If you're lucky - and most people are - then setting up your blog to use your custom domain is a smooth process:   there are a few minutes where your new address doesn't quite work for you, and a few hours while it doesn't work for people around the works.   But the computers all catch up with each other fairly quickly and within 24-72 hours it's working perfectly.

But sometimes things go wrong - and that is when you see this message in one of Blogger's screens:
Another blog or Google Site is already using this address

Mostly (pretty much always, in fact), this doesn't mean that another blog is using the address that you just paid $10 for.

What it means is that something has gone wrong with the process of setting up the domain for your blog.   Nothing more, and nothing less.

You can check this by looking at what happens when you try to navigate to the address.   Most probably you will see something like this:

That's what I see using Google Chrome - other browsers will display it a little differently, and Google may change the picture from time to tile.   But the key part is the "404" error code, which says that there is no website currently using the address.

How to fix it

The Masterclass:

Chuck from Nitecruzr.net has recently published a comprehensive article about the various sources of this message, and how to fix it.    As he explains, it's not so much an error message as a symptom.   Basically, it's Blogger's way of saying "there's a problem with your URL setup".

His post may look daunting at first; there's a lot of technical language, and you need to delve into all sorts of places you may not have looked before, including setting up an administrator account for your domain in the registrar. And just to make it more complicated, Google changed they way that they offer domains (by removing free single-user accounts in Google Apps) in January 2013, so now it also depends on when you purchased the domain, too.   But it's worth trying to work out the problem, and its solution yourself, before asking for help (see below). You will learn about how Blogger works with custom domains, and it stops the help-forum people being overloaded with questions.

Methods that used to work

When I've had this problem in the past, the first thing I did was to check that Google Sites was disabled on my Apps account. This was easy, and often effective, but I suspect it's not so relevant any more.

Another older approach was to enter the custom-domain into the Magical Custom Domain Form, and wait 48 hours to see if Google have fixed it. In the background, the Google staff would check domain settings and fix up problems if they could. However it looks like that process isn't supported any more: clicking the link now brings up a message
We're sorry.The form at this URL could not be found. Make sure that you have the right URL and that the owner of the form hasn't deleted it. 

Asking for help

If you really cannot work out a solution, then post a question in the Blogger Product Forum - I usually use the "How do I" category.    Include:
  • Your blog's URL     (eg   yourBusiness.blogspot.com)
  • The URL you are trying to use   (eg yourBusiness.com or yourBusiness.co.uk)
  • Whether you bought the URL thru Blogger, or from another domain registrar
  • Details of all error messages you are seeing

Post the details into a new question (use the big red "Post a Question")button - don't try to hijack someone else's question, because their problem and solution will probably be different, for this particular error message.

Make sure your question has a meaningful title   (eg  "Custom domain - another blog or site is hosted"):   many helpers don't read questions with generic titles like "help" which don't give any clues about what skills are needed to answer the question.

If your question doesn't get answered in a day or two, post an update in the same thread - even something as simple as the word "bump" will take your question up to the top of the pile again, and tell the helpers that you are actively looking for help with the problem.

Related Articles

Using Blogger to make a proper website

Using a website address from another domain registrar for your blog

Setting up an administrator for a custom domain purchased through Blogger

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