How to fix Google Domains Record Already In Use Error

Author:
phil
Created:
Tuesday, March 12th, 2019
Last Updated:
Thursday, August 12th, 2021

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Update 08-12-2021: Google (finally) did their domains.google makeover sometime in 2021 and I honestly haven't had a chance to dive into this problem to see if it still exists. This page may be officially outdated.

If you've jumped ship from the slow (GoDaddy) and archaic (register.com) 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 "Record already in use".

BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!??

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 too are trying to add the @ Name too. In my case, it was the SPF TXT record that I had already created and I was trying to add another TXT record for a Google site verification.

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 another @ TXT record, you're adding it in the wrong place if you try to use the top input 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...

I say all of that and while the UX may seem like a bad design up-front, it really isn't all that bad "once you get used to it". The problem is that 99% of all other registrars use a single line to add a new record just like Google Domains. The difference is that when you add the line on other registrars, the line is added as a completely new line so it doesn't care if the Name is already used. Google Domains on the other hand, only reserves this blank input form for brand new DNS records that haven't been associated because all similar types and names are grouped together. Since almost all of the registrars use a blank input for adding all records, people come over to Google Domains and expect it to work the same way, then can't figure out why they're getting Record already in use errors for simple DNS additions. If you're adding different CNAMES with the main input form, you shouldn't ever see the error unless it does actually exist. On Google Domains for MX records, TXT records SRV records etc where there can be multiple records for the same type and name however, you can only use the input form on the very first creation of the record type to get it going.

The way Google does it is 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 Record already in use can be a pain to troubleshoot because it doesn't follow the same UX pattern of any other registrars.

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

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Comments

Thank you!

Thank you so much! What is exactly I look for.

MANY THANKSSS!!!

thank you. i had to add another line to the edit section.

Amazing how difficult Google made this. They are supposed to be cutting edge but every time I have to work on something in their suite I get stuck.

Thank you so much for a fix to this weird problem!

Thank you so much for this wonderful article. It was very helpful!

Thank you!

This was soooo helpful! Thank you!

You saved sou much of my time. Kudos to you. Keep up the good work.

Thank you, this was a huge help!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU...... literally HOURS trying to figure out what I was doing and here come you saying checkmate! GOD SEND

Literally the only person on the internet that could help me with this - thank you!

Really appreciate you taking the time to explain something NONE of the Google support sites could manage to do. Thank you so much.

This helped me.

Big help! I couldn't find this answer anywhere else. Thank you so much!

Thank you so much for this post!!!

Thank you so much for helping with that! Was hurting my brain why it wasn't working!!

thank you. I was not aware that google dns groups records like this.

Big help thanks so much

You are one of the heroes that do not wear capes.

I dunno how I stumbled upon this, but mine was the second option... the + sign... I NEVER woulda figured that out. Thanks a ton!

Same issue with adding TXT record. Thanks for the solution

Amazing thank you, helpful!

Excellent guidance. Thorough and well reasoned. Thank you!

it's been years i have been trying to resolve SPF/TXT records and kept being forced to concede there was only one record possible. how insane is this UI and that NOBODY else has pointed this out anywhere.

You're the best! Literally nowhere else on the Internet had this info that I could find, except for you, and your advice fixed my problem. Thank you, internet hero!

You're awesome!

thx

Thank you for this.
You know sometimes something obvious takes so much time to resolve, and these kinds of solutions are time saving.
Thanks for caring enough to share this

This was exactly what I needed to do! Thanks.

This post saved me lots of time and headaches and I am so glad I stumbled upon it. We have a client with their domain registered with Google and everything has been a bit of a hurdle so this was very helpful.

Dude. You're smarter than Google. You understand where they don't. Much appreciated!

You saved my life, haha, jk. This post was really helpful!

GENIUS!

I had exactly the same issue-- @ and txt. I spent quite some time trying to figure this "record already in use
" situation on different forums and found your article on Google. I just fixed it and was finally able to add the new records! I am so relieved.

Thank you so much for the great tutorial and explanation into details. Life saver! Really appreciate your work.

3 days of trying to verify Stripe to enable domain email and I finally found your post. Never noticed the "+" before in Google Domains and wouldn't have thought to do anything other than trying to add a new, individual record. Thanks!

It is terrible that Google made a simple task an extremely annoying problem. Thank you for positing your solution in very clear steps.

Thank you!

Thank You.

I was just about to give up with this and then found your superb, wonderfully simple explanation and instruction. You deserve a medal! Unfortunately I can only give you a star (as I save your page to my bookmarks). Thanks so much.

You are the man!!! Thank you for this step by step!

Thanx so much. Very very helpful

Golden line in short "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."

Thank you!

Agreed the UX on that error message is not specific/helpful

Thank you

nicely done. I've used google domains for years, that's a new one. You're right, overall it's not bad, but sheesh that's an oddball. Likewise Scott K -- I too had two TXTs, never occurred to me, etc..

wow, sometimes you just need someone to break it down real simple. Thanks a lot!

This solved my problem completely - who would of thought of a UI where 2 TXT records are OK, but 3 are not? Append solved the issue - thanks for posting this!