How to connect your Custom Domain Name: The Basics
This article explains the necessary steps for connecting your custom domain name to your Format site.
At Format we connect domains using one method. This method is the only way to properly connect a domain. Any other method will cause problems with your site.
When your domain is set up correctly yourdomain.com will load your Format site with www.yourdomain.com showing in the address bar.
Throughout this document mysite, mysite.format.com and yourdomain.com are EXAMPLES ONLY you will replace these with your own unique Format address and custom domain name.
Note: We have some registrar-specific articles in our Help section under Domains and DNS.
We can also help connect your domain. Please send us a secure Domain Help Request.
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In this article
- The Method: Three Steps
- Format Domain Settings
- Add Forwarding
- Make a CNAME Record
- Check Domain Connection
- Still not working?
The Method: Three Steps
You will need to do all three steps for your connection to work:
- Add mysite to your Format Settings > Domain > Format Address field
- From your Domain Registrars control panel forward yourdomain.com to www.yourdomain.com
- Also from your Domain Registrars control panel make a CNAME record pointing www.yourdomain.com to mysite.format.com
You need to be using your Domain Registrar's default Nameservers in order for the connection to work.
Format Domain Settings
- From your Dashboard, in the lower-left Sidebar tap 'Settings'
- Tap 'Domain'
- Under Format Address enter your unique site domain name
- Under Add your own domain enter your existing registered domain name (replace yourdomain.com with your actual custom domain name)
- 'Save Changes' or
- File a Help Request and we will help connect for you.
- Log into your Domain Registrar's Control Panel
- Access 'Website Forwarding' (also called 'URL redirect')
- Create a forward from yourdomain.com to http://www.yourdomain.com
- Use a '301 permanent' forward/redirect.
- Do not use masking, stealth or 302 temporary forwarding.
The domains yourdomain.com and www.yourdomain.com are two separate web addresses (www.yourdomain.com is a subdomain of yourdomain.com)
You need to add this forwarding so that yourdomain.com will automatically load www.yourdomain.com
DO NOT forward to your Format Address (in this example 'mysite.format.com') - this is the most common issue with domain connections.
Some registrars do not have 'forwarding' or will make you pay extra to enable. Some will not let you forward to your own subdomain.
If you are on one of these registrars you should transfer to a more flexible service. (We recommend Hover.com)
Make a CNAME Record
The CNAME record from your registrar sends a request for www.yourdomain.com to Format.
Format searches for the account that has mysite.format.com and loads your site for the visitor.
- On your registrar's site access your DNS settings (this is usually under 'DNS Settings', 'DNS Records', 'DNS Zone Editor', etc. )
- Create a CNAME record.
- Set host www to point to mysite.format.com
This CNAME record connects your domain to Format. It takes requests for www.yourdomain.com and sends them to format.com
Most registrars will allow you to add or edit a CNAME record. If yours doesn't then you should transfer to a different service. (We recommend Hover.com).
Check Your Domain Connection
Changes made at your registrar's control panel are not instant!
These changes can take up to 48 hours to take full effect.
It is best to check your connection after one day.
You will know that your domain connection is working when you enter yourdomain.com and your Format site loads with www.yourdomain.com in the address bar. (Be sure to check that www is visible in the address bar).
Still not working?
You may feel you have done everything correctly, just as this article says, but your domain is still not working.
Pleas send us a secure Domain Help Request so we can assist you.