Creating Your Own Blog Part 2 - Netlify, CMS, and DNS
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Published
Apr 14, 2021
This is part 2 of a series of blog posts aimed at beginners who want to create their own blog site.
If you haven't read part 1 already, check it out before reading this section.
In this section, we will set up Netlify CMS, which will provide a simple method for creating and updating blog posts. We will then point the custom domain created in the last post in this series to Netlify, making our new custom domain accessible over the internet!

What is a CMS?

A Content Management System (CMS) is a simple way to add content to a website. The website's source code is set up in such a way that the CMS can be browsed without writing any code, and users can use a what-you-see-is-what-you-get interface for authoring blog content.
We are going to use Netlify's CMS to set up a blog site for free, which will allow us to create and update content without writing any code.

Deploy Netlify CMS Template

Netlify makes setting up their CMS a breeze. Simply click on this link to deploy one of their starter templates:
Deploying this template will require a GitHub account (which is free and easy to setup at github.com). Netlify will use GitHub to host the source code of your website (which you don't have to touch if all you want to do is use the CMS!). Note that the published site and articles will be publicly visible on your GitHub profile for anyone to see.
Once the site is deployed, Netlify will display a URL that ends in .netlify.app, where your deployed template should now be reachable (we will talk about adding content later).

Pointing DNS at Netlify

The next step is to tell your visitors' web browsers that your domain should point to the site that is now hosted by Netlify.
From your Netlify dashboard, click on "Site Settings", and then "Domain Management".
 
 
From there, click the button that says "Add custom domain".
Enter your domain (the one you obtained in the first article) into the text box, and click verify.
Netlify will tell you that your domain already has an owner. Don't worry, it is you!
Go ahead and click "Yes, add domain".
Once the domain is added, you will likely see that Netlify reports that DNS is not configured correctly, with a warning icon like this:
Click on "Check DNS configuration". Netlify will give you a DNS record to set in order to point your domain to their servers:
You need to copy the something-unique.netlify.app. part of this dialog, and then head over to the registrar where you set up the domain (if you used my recommendation from the last article, Google Domains)
Find the DNS settings at your registrar's site, and add a new record following the format shown by Netlify.
On Google Domains, this is accomplished by clicking DNS in the sidebar, and then scrolling to the bottom section entitled "Custom resource records".
Then, create a new record, following the fields shown to you at Netlify:
Once the DNS record has been added at your registrar, head back to Netlify and refresh the Domain Management page. If all went well (this can sometimes take a few hours, give it some time), the warning icon should be gone.
Once the warning icon is gone, you can load up your custom domain and you should see the sample blog site already live and ready for you to add content!
Learn how to add content by following along to the next blog post in this series.
 

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