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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.


How to set up your 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". Then look for something like:


'Zone Settings'
'Zone Editor'
'DNS Zone File'
'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 - This could also be referred as:


        'Host'
        'Hostname'
        'Alias'

The name 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'
        'Value' 


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. 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. If you want to your custom domain to be shown every time, send us a quick message here and we'll set is as your primary domain. 


Instructions for common domain hosts

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


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I have my Thinkific site on my main domain? E.g. mydomain.com instead of www.mydomain.com?

To do this you need to first follow the steps above to create a CNAME record using www. Then on your domain host create a forwarding/redirecting rule from mydomain.com to www.mydomain.com. In this way when a student just types mydomain.com, they are automatically taken to www.mydomain.com


I created a CNAME record but my custom domain is not working. What should I do?

Make sure to wait 24 hours for the changes to take effect and check that you have entered your custom domain under Advanced settings on your Admin Dashboard. If you’re still having issues, you can contact your domain host with the instructions above. 


I have set up everything correctly but I still see .thinkific in the URL.

Send us a quick message here and will set your domain as the primary domain. This will hide any reference to Thinkific in your URL.


I already set up a custom domain but I want to switch it to another. How do I do this?

Follow the steps above to create a new CNAME record for your new domain. Then send us a quick email and we will switch it for you on our end!


I’m stuck, I don’t know what I did wrong/where do I go to get help?

Send us a quick message and we can point you in the right direction. You can also reach out to your domain host directly. Let them know you were following the instructions above and got stuck. Since they have access to your account, they can make the changes for you.


My domain host says I need an IP address to set up my custom domain, can you provide one?

The way our platform is set up, IP addresses can change, so we aren't able to provide one. Let them know that you’re setting this up by using CNAME records.


I already have an existing website that is using my domain, can I still connect my Thinkific site?

Yes, you can. If your site is on your main domain, you can set your Thinkific site to be on a subdomain like learn, courses or academy (eg. academy.mydomain.com)


I can’t find instructions for my domain host

Most domain hosts will have a similar set up so you can follow the general instructions above. If you get stuck, give us a shout and we can help you out!


Can I set up a redirect/forward instead of using the CNAME record method?

Yes, you can set this up. However, your Thinkific url will still be visible and we can’t set your custom domain as the primary domain.


My website is www.mydomain.com Can I have my Thinkific site set as www.mydomain.com/courses?

With the way Thinkific sites are set up, we’re not able to place this on a subfolder on your domain. You would need to create a subdomain to host your Thinkific site.


I have a custom domain on my Thinkific site. What if I downgrade to the Starter plan?

Your custom domain will no longer work and it will display an error message if your learners try to access your site through the custom domain. To make sure that your students still have access to your site, you can set up a forwarding/redirecting rule on your domain host.


Can you set up the custom domain for me?

We are not able to directly set up the domain for you as this requires access to your domain host account. If you need assistance, we can point you in the right direction or you can reach out to your domain host’s account with the instructions above.

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