Custom URL for Google sites says www is already taken

Find what service is currently using www

Connect to ghs.googlehosted.com using your domain name.
There are several options, choose one of them.

  • Configure your DNS for the www with CNAME to ghs.googlehosted.com
  • Add 172.217.21.179 www.example.com to your /etc/hosts
  • Check the response directly: curl -v http://ghs.googelhosted.com -H "Host: www.example.com"

In my case the returning site was blogger.

Blogger is not part of the GSuite core services and in my GSuite-account it was disabled.
Enable the blogger service won’t help as there is no interface in the admin panel to disable the custom URL.

Solution

Although Google-sites custom URL refuse to use www others don’t complain.

  1. Go to the Company Custom URL page
  2. Pick any service and set www as it’s custom URL.
  3. Save and confirm that you have made the changes in DNS(even though you haven’t)
  4. Change it back, remove www from that service.
  5. Save and confirm again.

Explanation: When there is a lingering reserved custom URL of www pointing to blogger, step 3 will overwrite it. Step 5 will then free it.
You can review the progress by applying the top troubleshooting steps as you apply the changes.

In step 1 ghs.googlehosted.com will still serve blogger.
After step 3 it will serve a redirect to the service you picked.
After step 5 it will show a simple 404 page. This is how you know you have successfully freed the Custom URL www.
Google Hosted 404 page

Configure Custom URL

Now you can go to the custom URL panel and successfully use the www subdomain for your google sites.