Setting up a domain
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If you went through creating your First site process, you would have seen a pop-up message about setting up a CNAME for your domain name so that your Newsy site works properly. Here, we would like to provide a more in-depth explanation on how you can properly set up your domain name.
Domain Registrar
You would have bought your domain names through one of many available Domain Registrars such as GoDaddy, NameCheap, Google Domains etc. For each domain name, you can configure its settings so that you can use it for a variety of purposes. For example, you may want to use your domain name as your email address (e.g. hello@newsy.com). You may want to create a sub-domain called http://blog.my-domain.com and use it for a WordPress site.
Whatever purpose you have in mind, you will need to make sure your domain's DNS settings are defined correctly. All domain registrars will provide some type of admin control panel where you can do this.
Creating a CNAME
For your domain to work with Newsy, we create what is called a CNAME entry to your domain's DNS settings. Typically, CNAME is used to mask one URL with your domain. For example, let's say there is a website whose address is http://abcde.com and you added a CNAME for your domain called http://www.my-domain.com and pointed it to http://abcde.com. When users visit http://www.my-domain.com, they will see the website http://abcde.com, but the address will remain as http://www.my-domain.com.
When you create a site on Newsy, we create a unique website address for your Newsy site (e.g. ahsu129kasj.newsy.co) and we ask you to create a CNAME for your domain, which points to this address. The CNAME entry would look like below.
Name Value TTL
www.my-domain.com ahsu129kasj.newsy.co 3600
Root or www?
In the above table, we created a CNAME for http://www.my-domain.com. But what would happen if you type http://my-domain.com? If above table was your domain's entire DNS settings, typing http://my-domain.com will result in an error because we haven't defined what should happen if you type the root (or sometimes called naked) domain.
One way is to add two CNAME entries as follows and Newsy will handle resolving both correctly. Please note that some domain registrars do not allow root-level CNAME.
Name Value TTL
my-domain.com ahsu129kasj.newsy.co 3600
www.my-domain.com ahsu129kasj.newsy.co 3600
Redirecting root to www
If your domain registrar does not allow you to add a CNAME entry for the root-level domain and requires you to have an A Record (i.e. A Record is similar to CNAME, but instead of pointing to another URL, it points to an IP address.) you can use a free redirect service provided by GitHub, which essentially redirects all root-level requests (http://my-domain.com) to www sub-domain (http://www.my-domain.com). The following table shows you this set up.
Type Name Value TTL
A Record my-domain.com 45.55.72.95 3600
CNAME www.my-domain.com ahsu129kasj.newsy.co 3600
TXT _redirect.my-domain.com Redirects to http://www.my-domain.com 3600
* This step may seem slightly hacky (and it is), but it's actually a very popular way to redirect the root-level domain to another domain.
Some tips
Our recommendation is to use the www sub-domain (http://www.my-domain.com) as the main URL for your Newsy site and use the TXT record to redirect all root-level requests to www. If you use both root-level and www, it becomes a little difficult to keep track of URLs of all your contents since every content on your site now has two URLs.
We also strongly recommend using CloudFlare as your DNS server. CloudFlare's free tier is more than enough to get your site up and running and it will also help you set up HTTPS for your domain, which we discuss in Enabling HTTPS for your site.
Troubleshooting
Sometimes, there might be a misconfiguration at your domain registrar's level. So it's always good to double check this. If your site is not working correctly, first please check that your domain at least responds. If you're familiar with command line tools, you can simply type ping www.my-domain.com to see if there any responses.
You can also try various DNS checking tools available online. We list some of them below.
DNS Checker - Use this to check if your domain responds (similar to ping, but does from different places around the world)
Uptrends DNS - Checks all the DNS entries for your domain.
Got questions?
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