Google Sites - This Location is Already in Use

posted Jun 13, 2011, 8:02 PM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Dec 28, 2011, 8:26 PM ]


Many users of Google Sites run into the all-too-common "This location is already in use by another service, please pick a different one" message when attempting to map their Google Sites website to their custom domain.  In some cases, this error requires the assistance of the team at Google, but in most cases, it can be handled by the website administrator in very little time.






Why is the location already in use?

This error occurs simply because there should not be two identical web addresses/URLs on the internet.  If Google allowed two sites to be mapped to the same location (www.example.com), how would they know which site to display?


One of the reasons this error is so common is that when a domain is purchased through Google, a Google Apps account is automatically created, and the "www" subdomain is mapped to a placeholder for a site that has not yet been created.  For more details, see the Errors while mapping your site to a Google Apps domain article in the official Google Sites Help center.

How to get rid of "Location already in use" for Google Apps users

For users who have built their site as part of a Google Apps domain (or who have a Google Apps domain under the domain they are trying to map to their site), there are two primary locations to check for the root cause:
  • Mapped Sites for the domain: 

  • Custom URL's for Apps Services: 

    • http://www.google.com/a/example.com/CustomUrl
    • If the subdomain ("www", for example) exists under the "Sites URL" heading (or any other section), it should be deleted or replaced.  If replacing, "sites" would be a good alternative.



How to get rid of "Location already in use" for stand-alone (non-Google Apps) users

For users of the stand-alone version of Google Sites, the process is not quite as clear-cut as with Google Apps users.  However, there are a few suggestions that may help in resolving this issue:
  • Was the subdomain previously mapped to a different Google Sites website?  If so, does that site still exist, or has it been deleted?  If deleted, was it deleted within the past 30 days?  Can the site be recovered/accessed to remove the previous mapping?
  • Was the subdomain previously mapped to a blog on blogger.com?  If so, does the blog still exist, or has it been deleted?  Can the blog be accessed to remove the previous mapping
  • Has the subdomain been previously mapped to any other Google service (AdSense, etc)?

One other thing you can try is to register your domain (example.com) with the free version of Google Apps to try to "override" the domain mapping.  This has been known to correct the "Location already in use..." issue in many extreme situations.  The steps for this are as follows:
  1. Register your domain (example.com) with the free version of Google Apps
  2. Map www.example.com to the Sites service in Apps.  (This step may be automatically done during the registration process.)
  3. Release www.example.com from Sites service by mapping sites.example.com to the Sites service
  4. Return to your site and map it to www.example.com
Note that the above will NOT move your site to Google Apps.  It should simply give you the ability to override the mapping so you can use it in your existing site.

After removing any existing mappings, what's next?

Once the subdomain mapping has been removed, or a Google Sites TC or Google Employee have helped resolve the issue, try mapping the site again.  How this is accomplished will vary depending on whether you are a Google Apps user, or a stand-alone (non-Google Apps) user.  For a detailed explanation of how to complete the mapping, please see the following:


What if I need help from Google (or a Google Sites TC)?

If the "this location is already in use by another service" message is still present, post your issue on the Google Sites User Forum.  Be sure to include the following:
  • The system URL for your site (http://sites.google.com....)
  • The subdomain you are trying to map to your site (www.example.com)
  • A description of your issue, and any specific problems you may be having.