I’ve been getting some comments recently on last summer’s post on Google AppEngine for web hosting. I guess I’m not the only one who wants to add some simple static web pages to my Google Apps hosted services.
Most commenters are reporting success with the method, but Peter G has a problem getting the pages to work right at the naked domain name. That is, pages at http://www.example.com work fine, but the same pages at example.com don’t. Why did it work for me, but not him? I had no idea.
I had to set up a new domain for a friend anyway, so I paid close attention to how to set this up. And found that I couldn’t make the naked domain name work, either. A little clicking around found the problem:
I’d like to map my app to http://myurl.com (also known as a naked domain).
Due to recent changes, Google App Engine no longer supports mapping your app to a naked domain.
Well, that’s just great. I don’t know what recent changes caused this, but you apparently can no longer make AppEngine serve pages for a naked domain name.
The documentation does describe one solution: URL forwarding. For this to work you need your domain name service provider (which is probably your domain registrar) to return an HTTP redirect response to any requests at the naked domain. Then any web request to example.com/some/page gets redirected to http://www.example.com/some/page, which AppEngine will serve up fine.
The new domain I was setting up was registered with eNom, so I used their DNS dashboard to add a record saying that requests to @ (the symbol for a naked domain) should generate a URL redirect to http://www.example.com, and it all just works.
Hope this is helps anyone having trouble with this. There is one potential problem, though. The solution depends on services from your domain registrar, not Google Apps, so you may be out of luck if your registrar doesn’t offer URL redirection.