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Custom Domains

As part of any of our paid plans, you can set up a custom domain for your Thinkific site. This removes thinkific.com from your site URL and replaces it with your branded domain!



This article will cover:

What is a Custom Domain?

Custom Domain Requirements

How to Set up Your Custom Domain in Your Domain Host 

How to Test Your CNAME Record

How to Add Your Custom Domain in Thinkific

How to Test Your Custom Domain
How to Set Your Custom Domain to Primary

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Custom Domain?

When you first create a Thinkific site, it will be given a thinkific.com URL, formatted as follows: yoursite.thinkific.com. Everything that appears before thinkific.com can be customized as desired on all plans, however if you are looking to remove the Thinkific branding, this can be done with a custom domain!


Setting up your own custom domain allows you to access your Thinkific site with a domain that you own. You can replace your thinkific.com URL with a branded domain that can be formatted like www.yoursite.com or courses.yoursite.com instead!

Custom Domain Requirements

To set up a Custom Domain for your Thinkific site, you require the following:

  1. A domain purchased from a domain host (Namecheap, Bluehost, Hover, GoDaddy, etc.)
  2. A paid Thinkific plan

How to Set up Your Custom Domain in Your Domain Host

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


Set up a CNAME record

Once you have domain host, you will need to log into your account with them to set up your custom domain. This is done by creating what's called a CNAME record. A CNAME record is what tells browsers where to find your site when visitors navigate to your URL. 


Each domain host will have a slightly different interface for setting this up and you can review domain specific instructions here:

GoDaddy

Bluehost

Hover

CloudFlare


If your domain host is not listed above, not to worry! The following general instructions apply to all domain hosts:

  1. Locate the DNS (Domain Name Settings) for your domain
    • Depending on your host, this may be under a page or section called something like manage domain.


  2. Select to create a new DNS record.
    • This will usually be available in a menu titled something like:
      Zone Settings
      Zone Editor
      DNS Zone File
      Advanced DNS
    • Once there, create a new CNAME record.


      Your domain host may ask for an IP address to create an A record. Since we use cloud-based servers, our IP addresses may change periodically, so we are unable to provide an IP address. This is why a CNAME record is required (rather than an A record, MX record, etc.)

       

  3. Name Your CNAME record 
    • The name for your CNAME record must be a subdomain. A subdomain precedes your main domain name. For example in www.yoursite.com, www is the subdomain. What you enter here will affect which URL your Thinkific site will be available at. www, learn, or courses are popular subdomain choices. 
    • This setting will often be in a field named:
      Host
      Hostname
      Alias


      Sometimes your domain host will have an existing www CNAME record. If this is your subdomain of choice, you can update this existing www CNAME record instead of creating a new one. 

       

  4. Link your CNAME record to your Thinkific site
    • Your CAME record will need to point to your current Thinkific URL. You will want to copy the exact URL of your Thinkific site, which will be formatted as: yoursite.thinkific.com
    • This setting will often be in a field named:
      Points to
      Target
      Value


  5. Set the TTL Field
    • TTL stands for Time To Live (in seconds). This is the amount of time it will take your changes to propagate. If this field can be set, select the lowest available number (usually 3600 seconds). If you can't choose a value, skip this step.


  6. Save your changes
    • Once your record has been successfully saved, you are all set in your domain host! 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:

      Or this:


      Or even this!




How to Test Your CNAME Record

Once you have added your CNAME record, there are some great tools online to help double check if it has been set up correctly and if it has propagated worldwide! We use MXToolBox CNAME lookup to confirm the record has been created successfully before adding your custom domain to Thinkific.


To test your CNAME record:

  1. Go to https://mxtoolbox.com/CnameLookup.aspx
  2. Input your custom domain including subdomain. Do not include http:// or https:// (ex. www.yoursite.com)
  3. Click CNAME Lookup


Correct Results

If your CNAME record was created successfully, you will see a result page like this with the following fields:

  • Type must be CNAME
  • Domain Name should be your desired custom domain
  • Canonical Name should be your current Thinkific URL




Incorrect Results

If your CNAME record was not created correctly or if it has not yet propagated, you may see a result page like this:



Make sure to review your CNAME record in your domain host to double check for any errors. If everything looks correct, you may need to wait 24 hours for your changes to propagate. If you are not sure, feel free to send us an email with a screenshot of your DNS settings for us to have a look!

How to Add Your Custom Domain in Thinkific

  1. In your Admin Dashboard, navigate to Settings
  2. In the Site tab, select Site URL
  3. Select Add Custom URL
  4. In New Custom URL field, input your custom domain including subdomain
  5. Leave Set as Primary checked for this URL to be the only URL visible for your site (More details HERE)
  6. Select Save




Once your custom domain is saved successfully, your settings will look as follows:



How to Test Your Custom Domain

Once you've created your CNAME record and set it up in Thinkific, make sure to test out your custom domain. Input your new custom site address in the URL of your browser. If everything has been completed correctly, you should see your Thinkific site load!

If you see a 404 error page, you can temporarily remove your custom domain to run some tests. See How to Test Your CNAME record.


To remove your custom domain:

  1. In your Admin Dashboard, navigate to Settings
  2. In the Site tab, select Site URL
  3. Select the 3 dot menu to the right of your custom URL
  4. Select Remove



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

How to Set Your Custom Domain to Primary

When adding your custom domain in Thinkific, there is an option to Set as Primary. Your primary URL is the only URL that will be visible within the browser bar when someone navigates to your site. If your custom domain is set as primary, this means if someone typed in either your Thinkific URL (ex. mysite.thinkific.com) or your custom domain (ex. www.mysite.com), they will see your custom domain in the browser bar (ex. www.mysite.com).

If you have already set your custom domain to primary in initial custom domain set up, you will see a Primary label beside your domain in your Thinkific settings:



If your Thinkific URL is currently set as Primary, you can change your custom domain to Primary:
  1. In your Admin Dashboard, navigate to Settings
  2. In the Site tab, select Site URL
  3. Select the 3 dot menu to the right of your custom URL
  4. Select Set as Primary



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