It’s well known in the computing world that naming things is hard. In this case, I needed a domain name for my web identity. I’ve owned
elijahg.com for 14+ years. Soon after my wife and I started a family, I realized that the
elijahg.com domain really only worked for me and I wanted something that could be useful for my whole family.
So that obviously meant the first domain I looked into purchasing was
gagne.net, taken. How about one of those new domains.
gagne.tech was available and I could buy it for 10 years on the cheap. The problem is that it seems after 10 years that price might be $50/year to renew. I didn’t want to risk building an identity on something and then being on the hook for $50/year. So that pushed me back to
.net top level domains (TLD). Since I couldn’t get exactly what I wanted from either of those TDLs, I figured I might as well stick with
At this point, I’ve narrowed it down to gagneXYZ.com. Maybe
gagneweb.com, but I want more than websites. Maybe
gagnehub.com, that has an unattractive connotation. I settled on gagnenet.com. That last question is to hyphenate or not. I chose not to since I felt like it was unnecessarily giving the domain two TLDs.
OK, I’ve got a domain name that’s available, where to register it. I registered
elijahg.com at http://dnsexit.com/ and I’ve always been happy with them. However, besides a website, I also wanted a
firstname.lastname@example.org email address. If you register with Google Domains they give you 100 free email aliases. Google has an article named Forward your emails with the details. Basically you can take a
email@example.com and change it’s default email address to be
firstname.lastname@example.org. The steps to convert your normal gmail.com account to use your custom domain are covered in the Google support link and should only take a few minutes to implement.
Sold! I bought
gagnenet.com via Google Domains, and followed the steps to setup email forwarding. Besides my own personal email address, I wanted to have a family mailing list and a “noreply” blackhole address that I could use to send out automated emails. I realized that all of these could simply forward to my personal gmail.com address and then I could create filter rules to do the appropriate thing depending on what address the email was originally sent to.
Great, domain, email, check. The last part to consider was around web hosting. I’d had some experience with Cloudflare and I decided to change my nameservers for
gagnenet.com to them for the following reasons:
- If I wanted to proxy web traffic through Cloudflare for performance or security reasons, giving Cloudflare DNS management of the domains makes configuration seamless
- Cloudflare has a ton of additional features that might prove useful at some point
- Cloudflare has a more capable API than Google Domains if I wanted to dynamically update DNS
Changing the nameservers over is super simple. Cloudflare and Google each have their own article explaining it from both angles:
After switching the nameservers over to Cloudflare I had to add the relevant MX records to handle email forwarding (something Google Domains did automatically).
With that, I have my
.com, DNS, and email setup for my custom domain. Total cost $12/year.