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Completing a Coursera Specialization for Free

Coursera provides continuing education just like Udacity and offer the full learning experience that I am accustomed to, including lesson videos, reading materials, projects, discussion forums, and graded projects which are peer-reviewed. I recently completed the Full-stack Web Development in React specialization from Coursera, all for free. It’s called a specialization because it is made up of three courses below each with their own certifications and which takes 4-6 weeks each to complete: 1. Front-End Web UI Frameworks and Tools: Bootstrap 4 2. Front-End Web Development with React 3. Server-side Development with NodeJS, Express and MongoDB I started the program in December 2021 and finished it in June 2023 however. The intent of this post is to explain how I was able to fund the entire specialization for free. In December 2021, I read on social media that Coursera allowed for one free course per year if you were a student and had an email address from a partner school. I gave my stu

Fixing ads.txt error in AdSense for your websites hosted on Blogger

We were recently approved to setup Google Adsense for a few websites. I was so ecstatic because I hadn't been able to get this going for a while due to some accounting errors. I assume there was a time duration where that token expires and am now glad to be able use this product. During the setup on our blogger sites, I ran into some technical errors pointed at fixing ads.txt otherwise it may impact ad revenue, i.e. "earnings at risk you need to fix some ads.txt file issues to avoid severe impact to your revenue". 

To summarize the steps needed to enable Google Adsense on your site, you would simply need to do the following: 

1) Create an ads.txt file in the root of your Blogger site like by going to Settings > Moentization > Enable custom ads.txt slider; 

2) Add your publisher ID to the ads.txt file in Blogger using string ", pub-0000000000000000, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0" where pub-0000000000000000 is your personal publisher ID; and 

3) Grab or create your ad code in AdSense and paste inside <head> tag if by domain or inside <body> tag if by ad unit respectively. 

I was able to successfully setup one domain where DNS zone is hosted on AWS Route 53 DNS service. The other two DNS domains were hosted with and I was consistently getting errors asking me to fix ads.txt otherwise revenue will be skewed. This error was particularly hard to troubleshoot because making changes to ads.txt in Blogger took some time to take effect and so did DNS changes. I found that did not work for the sites hosted on so I had a feeling it was DNS service related because the other site where DNS zone was hosted on AWS Route 53 was able to display correctly. 

Here are the 3 things I followed to fix this ads.txt error when using custom domains in Google Blogger: 

1) Re-validate your site using Google Webmaster Central. 

Go to I found that the two sites with issues displaying were missing DNS TXT records "google-site-verification=xxxx" while the other one hosted on AWS Route 53 had that record. To re-validate your site, add a property in Webmaster Central, type in your domain, and pick DNS TXT record as the method to prove ownership of the domain.

Make the DNS TXT record changes in DNS Manager at or whoever your DNS provider is. Wait at least 30-60 minutes for the DNS changes to propagate everywhere and then come back to Webmaster Central and click Verify. 

If you have different websites, make sure you login using the specific account prior to validating the domain using Google Webmaster Central.

2) Ensure the "redirect domain" setting is enabled in Publishing section of your blogger website.

From Blogger, go to Settings > Publishing section and disable the redirect domain slider. This setting redirects your custom domain to I already had this slider setting enable but I turned it off in order to test What I found was that I couldn't set the slider back to enabled. The reason was that it couldn't verify ownership of the domain because of the missing DNS TXT records. I must have verified domain DNS ownership a different way many years ago and that method is probably deprecated. After verifying DNS domain ownership in step #1, continue with this step to switch the "redirect domain" slider successfully gets enabled or re-enabled if you turned it off.

3) Re-test by going to If you still get and error displaying the ", pub-0000000000000000, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0" string on the page, then wait 12-24 hours for the above changes to take effect. 

4) If step 3 correctly shows the string, login to AdSense and the red error bar at top asking you to fix ads.txt will no longer come up.


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