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Custom Domains

Applicable plans Starter Essentials Business Advanced

As part of any of our paid plans, you are able to set up a custom domain name for your Thinkific site. Below we'll explain what a custom domain name is and then walk you through setting one up.



What is a custom domain?


When you first create a Thinkific site, it will be given a thinkific.com URL; e.g. your-site.thinkific.com.


Setting up your own custom domain allows you to access your Thinkific site at something like www.yoursite.com, or courses.yoursite.com instead!


This is great for branding, and makes it easier to share your link. We'll walk you through how to set it up.


Instructions for setting up your own custom domain



Step 1. Find your domain host


Before you can set up a custom domain for your Thinkific site, you will need to register your chosen domain with a domain host if you haven't already. Some popular domain hosts include Namecheap, Bluehost or Hover. (If you're registering a domain for the first time, a .com address is usually around $10/yr. You don't need a hosting account, we have that part covered!)


If you already have your own website, then you should already own a domain. If you're not sure where this is registered, then you can use this tool to find out who your domain host is: purewhois.com



Step 2. Set up a CNAME record


Once you've found your domain host, you will need to log into your account with them to set up your custom domain.


This is done by creating something called a CNAME record. A CNAME record is what tells visiting browsers to your URL where to find your site, and is straightforward (albeit a bit intimidating!) to setup. We'll walk you through it!


Each domain host will have a slightly different interface for setting this up, but the basic instructions for this are as follows:
  1. Locate the DNS (Domain Name Settings) for your domain, and select to create a new DNS record. Depending on your host, this may be under a page or section called something like "manage domain" and then "Zone Settings", "Zone Editor", "DNS Zone File", or "Advanced DNS" - you might have to search to find the right page. Once there, make sure that the type of record you're creating is a CNAME (rather than A, MX, etc.)
  2. Name your CNAME record - the name (otherwise called the "host", "hostname", or "alias") for your CNAME record should be a subdomain; e.g. www, or courses. What you enter here will affect which URL your Thinkific site will be available at; so, for example, if you enter 'www' your site will be available at www.yoursite.com. (Note: you must use a subdomain for your course. If your course is the only thing on your domain, choose "www".)
  3. Link your CNAME record to your Thinkific site - there should a field called something like 'Points to', 'Target', or 'Value' and this is where you need to enter the current thinkific.com URL for your Thinkific site (e.g. yoursite.thinkific.com).
  4. Set the TTL field - If this field can be set, set it as the lowest available number (e.g. it's usually 3600 seconds). TTL stands for Time To Live (in seconds), and the higher the number the longer it may take for your changes to be reflected. If you can't choose a value, skip this step.
  5. Save your changes - once your record has been successfully saved, you're all done! (Note: if you are changing your CNAME from previous saved values, it can take 24 hours or more before it has changed on servers worldwide. If that's the case, you'll need to wait until you see it reflected!

Some examples of this page look like this:


Or this:


Or even this!



Step 3. Setup your URL on Thinkific

 

Head to Advanced Settings > Site URL in your Thinkific admin dashboard and hit the button for 'Add Custom URL'.



Then, in the Add Custom URL field, type the custom site address that you want to set up with your domain host and save. This needs to be the full domain name - so it might be www.yoursite.com, or something like courses.yoursite.com, depending on what you choose.





Step 4. Test out your custom URL


Once you've created your CNAME record and set it up on Thinkific, go to your new custom site address in your browser. If everything has been completed and you've waited for DNS changes, you should see your Thinkific site. 


If you see any other kind of error page AND it is a brand new CNAME, then the CNAME hasn't been set up correctly. You can either try again by going back over the steps above, or follow the instructions below (under "Help!") for us to dive in to assist.

If you see another kind of error page AND you were making changes to an existing CNAME record, you'll have to wait up to 24 hours or so for it to fully take effect. 




**You can come back to this page at any point to update/delete your custom domain.




Step 5. Switch your custom domain to be the primary URL (recommended)


Once you've completed the steps above, your Thinkific site will be available at both your new custom URL and your thinkific.com URL.


We are able to make a change for you so that the thinkific.com URL will always redirect to the custom one.


If you would like us to do that, simply drop a note to customers@thinkific.com :)



Help! I'm stuck / lost / scared. 


Every domain host is a little bit different, but if you're lost and things aren't working, we're here to help. If you'd rather we do it for you, we'll be happy to give you a hand! We just need the following details from you, to go in and make the changes on your behalf:


  • The name of your domain host - if you're not sure who that is, you can head to purewhois.com to find out
  • Your login credentials for your domain host - username and password
  • Your chosen custom URL - this must be in the following format: subdomain.yourdomain.com. Examples include www.yourdomain.com or courses.yourdomain.com
  • The current URL for your Thinkific site - this can be found under Basic Settings > Site Address on your admin dashboard.


Please get together those details and send them over to customers@thinkific.com. The turnaround time for this is usually within 1-2 business days.  Once we have made the updates, we recommend that you update your password!





Instructions for common domain hosts


We've included links to instructions for some common domain hosts below:

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