Google Domains "Record Already In Use" Fixes

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019
Last Updated:
Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

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If you've jumped ship from the slow (GoDaddy) and archaic ( registrars and switched over to the super duper Google Domains, chances are you've just run into the problem Record Already In Use while trying to add an A Record, maybe a CNAME or even a TXT record. Heck, it could be any of the records that can cause the error: "Record Already In Use".

I ran into this tonight and was surprised there aren't more sites talking about the error. I guess I'm one of the people who just did it wrong and everyone else knows what they're doing...

Amusingly, there's a community question out on the Microsoft answer pages of someone asking about this very problem. Politely, the Microsoft rep asked if they were wanting to host their domain on Office 365. Needless to say, "Julie's" question never got answered.

I ended up realizing the fix to the error after a few minutes of Googling and not coming up with anything and the brainfart that I didn't remember running into this before. I have because the fix was so obvious when I finally figured it out.

Enough already, On to the Fix!

There's actually two different times I know of where you might get this error and the "fix" is in two different places. (Shame on Google Domains for not having a more thought out UX error message)

The First Place To Look

The first place you need to look, is in the Synthetic Records area of your domain. It's the area right above Custom Resource Records and you'll find a > G Suite all by itself towards the bottom. Click to expand this out and look for the record you're trying to add, because it might be in the Synthetic Record. For example, if you're trying to add MX records for G Suite, or Authenticate the DKIM key for the G Suite email. These might already be in the Synthetic Records and enabled. This is one reason you might get this error.

If you hit EDIT to the right, of the Synthetic Records, you can either enable or disable Email or Subdomains. Maybe you're trying to add the "mail" CNAME and it's already enabled in the Synthetic Records "Subdomains" area.

Point is, if you're adding any Google related records or sub-domains that "could" be used for a Google app (Mail, Calendar, Docs, Drive etc) then this is the first place to look.

The Less Obvious Place To Look

If you've checked the obvious place of the Synthetic Records and still getting the error, then there's a very obvious reason you're getting the error. It's because the "Resource is already in use".


Well, I can tell you right now, you're trying to add it to the top, blank field area like the image below.

In my case, I already have a TXT record Name that points to @ and chances are, you're trying to add the @ Name too. In my case, it was the SPF record that I had already created.

What you have to do, is ADD the new record in with the existing record. Hit EDIT to the right of the existing record, then hit the + to add a new record to it.

See, all of the records are grouped by the @ / subdomain. If you're trying to add a new @ TXT record and you already have one, you're adding it in the wrong place if you try to use the top field area. In all honestly, this is a horrible UX choice on the Google Domain teams part. They should have it automatically merge in a new record with what is already there instead of making you hit Edit -> + THEN add the new record...

It's super easy and doesn't take that long when you get used to it, but if you're new to Google Domains or coming back after some time away, that wonderful ol' error "Resource is already in use" can be a pain.

Check out the pics below for some guides and I'm sure you'll get it figured out!

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