Okay, so it’s been just over a week since I posted my first article after doing a redesign and relaunch of this blog. It has been an adventure thus far with a few hiccups that ultimately led to me getting behind schedule on my goal to post a minimum of once per week. However, as I am writing this it seems that it will likely only be a slight delay (one or two days later than I hoped for).
I love computers, I love the internet, I love software and I love good hardware. Despite that, I feel as though I couldn’t build a decent gaming PC if my life depended on it. I literally have an Associate of Applied Sciences in Computer Networking and barely passed my hardware classes. I mean, I got a B+ but I’m a perfectionist, okay? So, for the most part I leave that alone. Yet, when it comes to software… I’m quite passionate. Whether it’s a custom ROM being flashed on a phone, modifying CSS/HTML or designing a logo for someone. I’m always ready for the challenge. Unfortunately, this week my software and input knowledge failed me. I will admit I am bit rusty but… I have high standards for myself so it feels like a minor failure in my eyes.
I stated previously that I made the switch from SquareSpace to WordPress for blogging. Its approximately $3 less (monthly) than what I was previously paying so it seemed like a no brainer and perhaps something I should have done a few years ago. They have a wider range of templates and better ones for that matter. I want to keep on topic though so I will get to the point. While I have been a fan of working with WordPress in the past… it has been about 7 years since I used it with a purchased domain name. As a result of this, I was not ready for the fact that using the custom name servers from WordPress would break all functionality of my e-mail. The joys of not paying for everything in one spot and using Google Domains/Workspace.
To be fair… I didn’t even notice I wasn’t getting any e-mails until I tried to send myself an Apple Gift Card a couple of days later. At that point I switched immediately back to the default name servers being used with Google Domains. Thankfully this fixed my e-mail… but it forced my website to be down for several days while I tried to find a solution. Initially, I opted to manually add the CNAME and A fields to the DNS settings on Google Domains which is a legit workaround but it can take up to 72 hours to update. I thought I could make it those 72 hours but around the 48-hour mark I started to get anxious and impatient. My brain was like, “Rachel, you literally just brought your blog back after several years only for it to go down after being live for 2 whole days?!”
After some literal digging through WordPress settings and reviewing FAQs for Google Domains. I discovered that I could insert the required information to use the WordPress name servers and still send/receive e-mails. Since this took me about an hour and a half to figure out… it only makes sense that I should share the knowledge for anyone else who may come across this in the future.
I love WordPress but they make it extremely hard to find where to fix this issue. After logging into WordPress.com and viewing your dashboard, you will need to select: Upgrades > Domains > select the domain name (i.e. sample.com) > DNS Records. From here it will give you the option to connect with Google Workspace, Outlook.com and one other. However, you still need to have something else ready to paste from your clipboard for this part of WordPress to be of any use to you. What might that be? a TXT verification record. I mean of course! I knew exactly what the f$&* that is and where to find it… NOT.
This naturally leads me back to FAQs on Google Domains which only offers a link for when you first setup your website and supposedly provides the info that you need. Said page shows up for maybe .05 seconds and immediately redirects you to your Google Admin Console. *Insert major face palming* I then proceed to scour anywhere I can think of for this stupid TXT record. Only to realize it is under Site > DNS > Default Name Servers followed by a short scroll-down to Google Workspace and then copying a very long strand of numbers and letters to the right of the “google._domainkey.sample.com” field. Once you have that, paste it into that all too hard to find area in the WordPress domain section and your problem is finally solved. I am exhausted simply retracing the steps for this process…
If the aforementioned can help even one person in the future I will be over the moon. In fact, I was actually proud of myself for figuring it out rather quickly. I’m sure for someone who deals with publishing websites and frequent DNS issues it was probably an obvious solution but, I don’t fit that bill.
Ultimately, I am just happy that I was able to get it fixed without my website being down for 72 hours. I cannot remember the last time I was so baffled by something like this. I have decades of experience in fixing technical issues with websites from combing through lines of code to see where it’s missing a value, closed bracket, etc. To building a website with no interface at all and uploading everything via an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server program while testing the index.html file in Windows File Explorer to make sure everything looked good before doing so.
I have modified templates, edited graphics down to the actual pixel, used HTML to completely transform how my BlackPlanet and MySpace profiles looked (showing my age a bit here). I remember when my passion for website building began with Yahoo! Geocities before I had even started High School. Once I got the coding down I started learning more about the graphic design aspect by using programs like PaintShop Pro, Adobe Photoshop and Gimp. Despite all this knowledge… it took me over two days to find a solution for this issue (and honestly could have taken just one if I had looked further into the problem the day I discovered it). Alas, it was a humbling experience which reminded me that there will always be something new to learn.
I look forward to getting back into my groove with writing and welcome future incidents that will challenge me and led to more learning experiences.