Google Sites Help
Steegle

Classic Google Sites FAQ

Problem with a classic Google Site? Below follow the most frequently asked questions about classic Google Sites. If you still need help use our hands-on, real person service: one-shot support.

For new Google Sites see: New Google Sites FAQ

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1. Can I upload my own site made in iWeb, Dreamweaver, Frontpage or a text editor that uses my own HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Flash?

In short, no. Google Sites is a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) tool that provides the means to make a site without any HTML knowledge, and provide it a presence on the web, so there's no need to install any software on to your computer (like iWeb, Dreamweaver or an FTP client).

Google Sites also disallows the uploading of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files due to various security reasons.

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2. I cannot find my site when I search in Google or any other search engine: why not?

You need to let the Google Search know your website exists: there are several ways to do this:

  1. You need to register your site's URL (web address) with Google Search - see Add your URL to Google;
  2. You can register your business on Google Places - see Google Places UK - Google Places US;
  3. You can register your site with Google Webmaster Tools - see Google Sites - Get Found in Google Search;
  4. You can add Google Analytics to your site - see Google Sites - Adding Google Analytics;
  5. The most powerful way to get into Google Search (and any other search engine) is to get other web sites related to yours to link to you. This may not be easy but it's the most effective way to get into the search results and get a good ranking.
  6. Follow Google's advice for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in my Google Sites adapted guide - see Google Sites - SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Guide

Getting in to the search engine results pages can take weeks, provided you follow the instructions in Google Sites - Get Found in Google Search, otherwise it can take months! You can further speed up the process by getting links to your site on other websites of similar interest.

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3. How do I change my site's address (URL) to my domain name (www.example.com)?

These instructions tell you how to make your Google Site appear at your own custom web address, e.g. how to make your Google Site appear at www.example.com. Your Google Site will always appear at the sites.google.com address as you need to edit the site there and if you set your site's visibility to public viewers can access it at the sites.google.com address also. If you map a web address to a private site Google Sites always redirects you to the sites.google.com address as it needs a secure connection to authenticate the users.

You need to edit your DNS records to make this work so if your domain provider does not allow you to edit your DNS records, or add CNAME records, then you cannot follow these instructions and you may have to transfer your domain to another provider, like 34sp.com.

You need to do different things if you're using a Personal Google Site (a site that's at http://sites.google.com/site/sitename) and a Google Site at a G Suite domain (a site that's at http://sites.google.com/a/example.com/sitename), so I have split the answer in to two:

Personal Google Site (https://sites.google.com/site/something)

Before you begin you need to have access to edit your DNS records for your domain (the web address, or URL, you want to point at your site) because you need to make or edit your DNS records. If your domain provider does not provide you access to these then you may have to transfer your domain to another provider, like 34sp.com.

    1. Sign in to Google Webmaster Tools with the site owner account
    2. Use the red Add a site button and enter the domain (not your sites.google.com URL) you want to map to your site, so if you want to map www.example.com to your site add example.com and use the blue Continue button.
    3. Go to the Alternate methods tab, choose the Domain name provider option and choose you domain name provider from the drop down list: if the drop-down list does not contain your domain name provider choose Other. Follow the instructions Google provide to add the TXT verification record to your DNS. If you cannot add a TXT record to your DNS Google Webmaster Tools also offers verification by a special CNAME record.
    4. While you edit your DNS you need to add the DNS record to point the web address to your Google Site. If you own the domain example.com and want to make your Google Site work at www.example.com then you need to make a CNAME record of www that points to ghs.googlehosted.com (some DNS providers need a trailing dot [full-stop/period] at the end of ghs.googlehosted.com. ) Since all DNS providers let you edit the records differently it is impossible to give precise instructions for each DNS provider, but this is what you need to do in all cases.
    5. Sign in to your site as owner and use the More button, followed by Manage Site then go to Web Address (under Site Settings on the left).
    6. In the box under Add a web address enter the address you want to point at the site, www.example.com for instance.
    7. Note: you cannot point a naked domain to a Google Site (example.com - no www) as this is not something Google Sites supports, but if your domain provider allows you to redirect/forward the naked domain (e.g. GoDaddy, eNom and ZoneEdit do) then redirect/forward the naked domain to the www address. If your domain provider does not support naked domain redirection or forwarding then just make an A record of @ and point it to 174.129.25.170 as this is a free redirection service offered by http://www.wwwizer.com/.

If you're using a Personal Google Site that's it (you may need to wait up to 48 hours for your DNS records to propagate), but if you bought your domain name through Google (and got G Suite with it) to point it at your Google Site you need to make sure of a few things:

    1. Sign in to your G Suite Control Panel (http://www.google.com/a/example.com) and make sure that none of the Custom URLs use the address you want.
    2. Also make sure (again in the control panel) that the domain does not have any web address mappings (under Sites and Web Address Mappings) that use the address you want (look for http://www.example.com pointing to http://sites.google.com/a/example.com/www for instance).
    3. If the address you want is in use change it to something else or delete it. If you do delete it make sure that the www CNAME record still exists and points to ghs.google.com, as G Suite domains bought through Google can automatically update their DNS.

G Suite Google Site

Before you begin you need to be a G Suite domain administrator and have access to edit your DNS records for your domain (the web address, or URL, you want to point at your site) because you need to make or edit your DNS records. If your domain provider does not provide you access to these then you may have to transfer your domain to another provider, like 34sp.com.

    1. Sign in to your site as owner and use the More button, followed by Manage Site then go to General.
    2. Use the Map this site link and then enter the sub-domain of the G Suite domain (if your G Suite domain is example.com then you can only point something.example.com at your site - you cannot have a different domain pointing at a G Suite Google Site). So if your G Suite domain is example.com and you want to point www.example.com at your site, enter www in the Web Address box and use the Add Mapping button.
    3. Now you need to edit or make the required DNS record. Since all DNS providers let you edit the records differently it is impossible to give precise instructions for each DNS provider, but this is what you need to do in all cases. If you own the domain example.com and want to make your Google Site work at www.example.com then you need to make a CNAME record of wwwthat points to ghs.googlehosted.com (some DNS providers need a trailing dot [full-stop/period] at the end of ghs.googlehosted.com.
    4. Note: if you purchased your G Suite domain through G Suite you do not need to make any DNS changes as they happen automatically - this is not true if you bought your domain through Google Domains, you still need to edit the DNS records with Google Domains.
    5. Note: you cannot point a naked domain to a Google Site (example.com - no www) as this is not something Google Sites supports, but if your domain provider allows you to redirect/forward the naked domain (e.g. GoDaddy, eNom and ZoneEdit do) then redirect/forward the naked domain to the www address. If your domain provider does not support naked domain redirection or forwarding then just make an A record of @ and point it to 174.129.25.170 as this is a free redirection service offered by http://www.wwwizer.com/.

You're done, but you may need to wait up to 48 hours for your DNS records to propagate!

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4. How do I invite someone to view, collaborate or own my site and do they need a GMail Account?

People who you invite to your Google Site do not need a GMail Account: they do need, however, a Google Account, which can be tied to any e-mail address (for more information on Google Accounts see the Google Accounts page). Here is the process of what you need to do to invite someone, and what they need to do to successfully access the site:

  1. Sign in to your site (you must be a site owner to share your site) and use the More button, followed by Manage Site then Sharing and Permissions. For more detailed instructions see Invite people to the site.
  2. In the Add People box enter the e-mail addresses of those you want to invite to the site (or use the Choose from contacts link to choose from your contacts).
  3. Choose from the drop-down box one of the following access levels: Is Owner; Can Edit; Can View. To know what each access level gives see Google Sites - Site Sharing and Visibility Options.
  4. The invitees receive an e-mail that provides a link to make a Google Account (if they do not have one already associated with that e-mail address, or is not a Google Mail or G Suite Mail address). The invitees must make the Google Account and verify it (link provided in e-mail once the Google Account is created) before accessing the site, else Google Sites removes their e-mail addresses from the sharing page and you will have to re-invite them.

If the invitees verify their Google Accounts before accessing the site they will be able to access the site at the level you chose.

You can also alter your site's visibility so anyone can see it - see: Google Sites - Site Sharing and Visibility Options.

Note for G Suite users: your domain administrator needs to enable Site Sharing Outside this Domain (in the G Suite control panel in the Sites service page) before you can invite people from outside the domain.

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5. I cannot add the HTML needed for Google Analytics! Why doesn't it work or what am I doing wrong?

Do not follow the instructions given by Google Analytics to make Google Analytics work with your Google Site, as Google Sites does not allow you to add script tags (<script></script>) to your site. Google Sites have integrated Google Analytics in to the site so you just need to provide the Google Analytics Tracking ID.

For full instructions on where to find your Tracking ID and what to do with it see Google Sites - Adding Google Analytics.

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6. I can't Edit my Site any more: why?

This usually means your signed in with the wrong account. Use the Recent Site Activity link at the bottom of the site to see who was the last person to edit the site and it may remind you of which account is the owner account.

If you cannot see the Recent Site Activity link try the Google Sites Accessing and Editing Troubleshooter to get ideas on how to access your site.

If you still cannot access your site as owner go to the Google Sites Help Forum and post a question explaining you can no longer edit your site and make sure you provide the URL (web address) to your site. If you do not provide the URL then no one can help you but if you don't want your site URL to be visible in the Help Forum then use a URL shortener, like http://bit.ly.

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7. I have ran out of space! Can I buy more space or move my site to G Suite, to take advantage of the 10GB available?

YES: Google Sites provides the Copy Site feature:

http://googleappsposts.blogspot.com/2009/08/copy-your-site-more-search-options-and.html

You can watch a video how to for this at Google Sites - Copy Site - Import Personal Site to Google Apps.

To copy your personal site into a Google Apps domain you need to:

  1. Invite a Google Apps account as owner
  2. Go to your personal Google Site and use the More button and then Share this site: then add the Google Apps Account e-mail address to the Add people box, choose Is Owner from the drop-down box and use the Share button. For more detailed instructions on how to share a site with other see the Invite people to the site section of Google Sites - Site Sharing and Visibility Options
  3. Sign in to the personal Google Site with your Google Apps Account
  4. Once you have invited the Google Apps Account make sure you sign out of your personal Google Account and sign in to your personal Google Site using your Google Apps account.
  5. Copy the Site
  6. Use the More button then Manage Site and go to General: use the Copy Site link and complete the form (Site Name, URL and whether you want to keep revisions and sharing) and use the Copy Site button.

This then copies the site in its entirety to a new site in your Google Apps domain, meaning you can take advantage of the 10GB of space offered.

This also works the other way around so you can copy a site out of a domain: just invite a non-Google Apps domain user (an ordinary Google Account) as owner and then that owner can copy it out to a http://sites.google.com/sites/somewhere site.

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8. I can't find my site anywhere and I can't remember its URL: how can I find it?

There are two ways to make a Google Site:

    1. Using a Google Account
    2. Using G Suite

Each way makes the site in a different place, so it can be confusing where to find your site, so here's some steps to help you determine where to find your site.

    1. Google Account based Google Sites
    2. To find a Google Site created using a Google Account (either a Google Account made for any e-mail address or a Google Mail account) then you need to go to:
    3. http://sites.google.com - sign in with your Google Account details (e-mail address and password).
    4. G Suite based Google Site
    5. To find a Google Site created using G Suite (Google Mail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites for your domain - example.com) then you need to go to:
    6. http://sites.google.com/a/example.com - where example.com is your domain name (so to find this site I sign in at http://sites.google.com/a/steegle.com)
  1. Some people make a Google Site using their Google Account and then decide they want a domain name for it, so they buy a domain from Google - this is where it can get very confusing! The domain they buy gives them G Suite, so Google Sites for that domain also, but their original site is not part of the domain: it's still made with the Google Account. To avoid confusion you can make the G Suite Account a Google Account invite it as an owner to the Google Account based site (and vica-versa if necessary).
  2. Many thanks to History Nut who suggested this question.

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9. Where do I go to Edit my G Suite Domain's DNS Records?

This is really a G Suite question but we've included it on the Google Sites FAQ as it gets asked a lot:

  1. Sign in to your G Suite Control Panel: https://admin.google.com/
  2. Note: if you arrive at https://admin.google.com/UserHub you need to sign out and sign in as the domain administrator
  3. Use the Domain option (you may need to expand More controls to see it) then Advanced DNS settings: this will give you a link to your DNS provider and the username and password you need to access their DNS editor.

Once there you can then add, edit or delete the DNS records.

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10. How do I delete my classic Google Site?

  1. Use the More button then Manage site;
  2. Go to General and scroll to the bottom of the page;
  3. Use the Delete this site link (in the Site Actions section).

Warning: this is lets you recover your site for 30 days then the site becomes permanently deleted and the site cannot be recovered, not even by Google!

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11. How can I Transfer Ownership of my Site to another User's Account

    1. Use the blue Share button at the top right;
    2. In the Invite people to your site box add the new owner's e-mail address and make sure you choose is owner from the list;
    3. Use the invite these people button and send the invitation;
    4. Sign out of the site and Sign in with the new owner's account
    5. Use the blue Share button then use the X button after the previous owner's email address.

Note: if you want to transfer ownership to a Google Apps Account then you may also want to read question 7 above.

For more information see Google Sites - Site Sharing and Visibility Options.

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12. Why can't I see the Create Page, Edit Page or More buttons or get "Insufficient Privileges"?

There are a few reasons you may not be able to see the Create Page, Edit Page or More buttons:

  1. You are not signed in - Use the Sign in link, at the bottom of any page, and make sure you sign in with a Collaborator or Owner account.
  2. You are signed in with the wrong account - Use the Sign out link, at the top right corner, and then use the Sign in link, at the bottom of any page, and make sure you sign in with a Collaborator or Owner account.
  3. You are signed in with the right account and are editing a page - Use the Save or Cancel button to leave the page editor and then you will see the Create Page, Edit Page or More buttons.

If you feel that you are signed in with the correct account (an Owner or a Collaborator), and are not editing the page, and you still cannot see the Create Page, Edit Page or More buttons then you are no longer an Owner or Collaborator. This can only happen three ways:

  1. You have invited other owners and have inadvertently removed your own ownership - This can happen if you add other Owners then invite yourself again as a Viewer or Collaborator. The only way to get back ownership is to ask one of the other owners to re-invite you as Owner. Google will not re-invite you as owner when there are other Owners on the site and Google have made it impossible to remove the last owner.
  2. You have moved to G Suite - When you move your domain to G Suite your Google Account gets deleted so you can re-create it as a Google Apps Account. Since when you make a domain it has not user account associated with it the ownership gets lost during the sign up process. You can now re-invite yourself as owner of the site - see question 14 below for instructions on how to do so.

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13. My Computer hangs (locks up)/web browser freezes (site frozen) at "Recovering edit from draft" - why?

If your site has just been migrated from Google Page Creator to Google Sites and you cannot edit your pages because your browser stops responding with the message "Recovering edit from draft", this is a known issue with Internet Explorer. If you use any other web browser to edit your site you will get past the message and be able to save the page. You can then return to using Internet Explorer if you wish.

More Reliable Web Browsers

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14. Moved to G Suite and Lost Ownership of Google Site

When you move your domain to G Suite your Google Account gets deleted so you can re-create it as a G Suite Account. Since when you make a domain it has not user account associated with it the ownership gets lost during the sign up process. Many, many thanks to iansocool for suggesting this fix in the Google Sites Help Forum.

  1. Sign in to your Google Account using the e-mail address that's just moved to G Suite
  2. https://www.google.com/accounts/ManageAccount
  3. Change the primary e-mail address on the account (any other e-mail address that's not associated with a Google Account is fine, but cannot be a G Suite e-mail address, which includes some Internet Service Providers as well, e.g. you cannot use an e-mail address that ends with @virginmedia.com, @blueyonder.co.uk, @ntlworld.com, @sky.com or @wildblue.net).
  4. https://www.google.com/accounts/EditEmail
  5. Verify the new e-mail address - Google will send an e-mail to the e-mail address you add that provides a link to follow, to verify that the e-
  6. mail address exists
  7. Sign in to the site your lost ownership of with the new primary e-mail address
  8. http://sites.google.com
  9. Use the More button, then Site Permissions and invite the G Suite account as owner to the site and sign out
  10. Sign in to the site using the Google Apps account (use the Sign in with Google Apps account link under the username and password box)

This will give access back to your site using the recently moved G Suite account, but if it does not or sounds too complicated for you to do then the only way to get ownership is for Google to re-invite you as owner. Please post your site's URL on the Google Sites Help Forum dedicated thread "Moved to Google Apps and Lost Site Ownership".

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15. How do I Clear my Cookies and Cache?

Please visit the Clear your Cookies and Cache! page (from the Google Sites Accessing and Editing Troubleshooter) for instructions on how to clear the cookies and cache of your browser.

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16. How do I remove Recent Site Activity and Revision History from the classic Google Sites Footer?

  1. Use the More button and choose Manage site
  2. Go to General and scroll to the bottom of the page
  3. In the Access settings change the Users who can access site activity: and Users who can access revision history: drop-down boxes to Collaborators only.
  4. Sign out of the site as an editor or owner and view the site and you will see Revision History no longer appears in the footer.

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17. How do I make my site look the same on all computers (use a fixed width on my site)?

  1. Use the More button and choose Edit site layout
  2. In the Site width box enter a value lower than 1000 pixels, e.g. 915px (this will make the site a fixed width on 915 pixels and be that width on every screen) and press the Enter key on your keyboard to save.
  3. Use the Close button and when you Return to site you will see the new fixed width.

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18. How do I change the Template of my classic Google Site

  1. Use the More button and choose Manage Site
  2. Go to Themes and use the Browse more themes link
  3. Choose the theme from the Public Gallery you want (this will just apply the background colours and images font selected and logo, not the default pages in the template).

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19. When I sign in I see "The page you requested is invalid"

You need to enable multiple sign in for your accounts - see the Enabling multiple sign-in : Getting started - Accounts Help

For a thorough explanation of this see Phil Ridout's article at http://sitesguide.pjrprojects.co.uk/issues/site-access-issues

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20. When I try to create a site I get "Sorry, you can not create more Sites at this time, Please try again later"

Google only allows you to create 5 sites per week at http://sites.google.com/site. If you need to create more sites you have the following options:

  • Wait for a week to pass then you can create more
  • Create a new Google Account and create more sites and invite your original account as owner
  • If you will continually need to make lots of sites you should use G Suite as G Suite does not limit the number of sites you can create. If you need help in moving to G Suite please complete our contact form.

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21. Why do I see "This site is in the Template Gallery. Any changes you make will be visible to all users. Use this template" at the top of my classic Google Site?

If you see this message at the top of your Google Site it means you have made your site a Site Template in the Public Gallery. Below follow the instructions of how to remove your site from the site template public gallery:

  1. Use the More button then Manage Site
  2. Use the Template information link
  3. Use the Remove from gallery link

This will remove your site from the Template Gallery

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22. Can I monetize the Content on my classic Google Site? What is Google AdSense? Can I add Advertising to my classic Google Site?

No, you cannot monetize the content on your Google Site via Google AdSense as Google Removed this functionality in 2013. If you want to monetize your content via AdSense then you need to find another platform for your site. To find out more about AdSense see our specialised Google AdSense FAQ.

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23. How can I tell how much space my classic Google Site uses?

Sign in to your site and use the More button then Manage SIte. Go to General if not already there and then scroll down to the Site storage section to see the usage chart.

Note: if you use Google Apps then you do not get this site storage display as Google Apps measures the storage at the domain level not site level. Google Apps does not offer any way to see how much storage a site uses or how much storage all sites in the domain use.

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24. How can I delete background images and images uploaded to textboxes and the sidebar?

Sign in to your site and use the More button then Manage SIte. Go to Attachments and delete any images stored in /config.

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