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How to connect a custom domain name
How to connect a custom domain name

Overview for connecting a custom domain name from a domain host (registrar) to your Format website.

Updated over a week ago

At Format, the way we connect domains may be different from what you have used or configured previously. This method is the only way to properly connect to your Format Portfolio site. Any other method will cause problems.

When your custom domain is set up correctly will display your Format site with showing in the web browser address (URL) bar.

This guide uses,, and as 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 Major domain registrars.

We can also help connect your domain. Please send us a secure Domain Help Request.

If your domain provider requires 2-factor authentication when accessing your account, please reach out to us via live chat once you have submitted the Domain Help Request form.

The method: three steps

You will need to complete all three steps for your custom domain name connection to work:

  1. Add your-domain to your Settings > Domain > Format Address field

  2. From your Domain Registrars control panel forward  to (examples only)

  3. Also from your Domain Registrars control panel make a CNAME record pointing  to (examples only)

You need to be using your Domain Registrar's default Nameservers for the connection to work.

Format Domain Settings

  1. From the lower-left of your Format sidebar, navigate to 'Settings'

  2. Click 'Domain and Email'

  3. Scroll down to the Format Address area

  4. Replace the auto-generated Format Address with your own unique Format Address (it is best to match as closely as possible to your actual Custom Domain name (in this example jane-dovercourt without the .com or other .tld (top-level-domain extension)

  5. Website Domain: your website can always be accessed through your Format address (in this example )

  6. Click 'Connect Your Domain' to access and enter your existing custom domain name (see screenshot below)

Add your existing Custom Domain Name

  1. Add your unique existing custom domain name. If you have previously used the same domain name with another Format website it will not be possible to use this without it being disconnected from the other website, contact our support team

  2. Follow instructions to update your domain registrar/provider DNS Zone settings to connect to your Format site (see below)

  3. Click 'Save Changes'

Failed Connection

  1. Failed Connections happen when the correct connection settings have not been sent, or propagated (updated) from your domain registrar

  2. BEFORE you click the 'File a help request' link ensure you have completed the remaining steps in this guide below:

Add Forwarding

  1. Log into your Domain Registrar's Control Panel

  2. Access 'Website Forwarding' (also called 'URL redirect')

  3. Create a forward from  to 

  4. Use a '301 permanent' forward/redirect (if possible, a 302 redirect is OK)

  5. Do not use masking, stealth or a hidden redirect

The domains  and  are two separate web addresses (  is a subdomain of )

You need to add this forwarding so that  will automatically load 

DO NOT forward to your Format Address (in this example - this is the most common issue with domain connections.

No Forwarding available

Some registrars do not have 'forwarding' or make you pay extra to enable. Some will not let you forward the root domain to your own subdomain.

If you are using one of these registrars, contact our Success Team for advice.

Create or Edit a CNAME Record

The CNAME Record from your registrar sends a request for  to Format.

Format searches for the account that has and loads your site for the visitor.

  1. On your registrar's site access your DNS settings (this is usually under 'DNS Settings', 'DNS Records', 'DNS Zone Editor', etc. )

  2. Create (or edit the CNAME record if one already exists for www subdomain

  3. Set host www to point to (example only)

This CNAME record connects your domain to Format. It takes requests for  and sends them our servers and allows your site to be seen.

Check domain connection

Changes made at your domain registrars control panel are not usually instant. They can take up to 24 hours to fully propagate and connect.

It is best to check your connection after one day.

You will know that your domain connection is working when you enter and your Format site loads with in the address bar. (Be sure to check that www is visible in the address bar along with a 'secure padlock' icon).

Custom Domain Connection Confirmed

  1. Status updated to show as 'Connected'

Your custom domain should connect within 24 hours once all settings here, and your domain registrars DNS records have been set correctly

Still not working?

You may feel you have done everything correctly, just as this article says, but your domain is still not working.

Please send us a secure Domain Help Request so we can assist you.

2-factor authentication

If your domain provider requires 2-factor authentication when accessing your account, please reach out to us via live chat once you have submitted the Domain Help Request form.

Still have questions? Reach us on our live chat or email us at We’re here to help!

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