How to Use Your Own Custom Domain for Your Community

Why a custom domain?

A domain, or domain name, is the address (or URL) that people will use to visit your website on the Internet. It appears in the address bar of your web browser (for example, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari).
It is strongly recommended that you identify your community with a custom domain name that belongs to you and represents your brand.

When you buy a domain name, what you in fact buy is the right to exclusive use of your chosen root domain (i.e. yourcompany.com), and to exclusive use of any subdomains that you might define (i.e. community.yourcompany.com)

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At Memeni, we like to be the people behind the scenes making the star of the show – your brand – look good. We will help you set up a customizable subdomain for your community that keeps your brand front and center and Memeni in the background. As a best practice, we recommend following the format – community.yourcompany.com – for your subdomain, but we can accommodate other formats as well.

Moreover, we provide you with a free SSL certificate built for your custom domain only. The SSL certificate helps you build customer trust by displaying the SSL padlock icon beside your online community’s URL. This is a mandatory layer of security for all Memeni communities, and it is available for all communities eligible for a custom domain. Communities which are not eligible for custom domains will be provided with Memeni.com’s SSL certificate.

Email White-labelling

Along with your community’s custom web domain, Memeni also gives you the ability to white-label the email address that sends community updates and notifications to your community members. Receiving emails with your organization’s email domain further creates a fully branded community experience for your members. Caution: this upcoming can be very technical. If you have any questions, one of the dedicated Memeni team members will be happy to help you.

Email white-labelling is the functionality that shows ISPs that our ESP has your permission to send emails on your behalf. This permission is given by the act of pointing very specific DNS entries from your domain registrar to our ESP (SendGrid). Once these DNS entries are entered and propagated, recipient email servers and services will read the headers on the emails you send and check the DNS records to verify the email was initiated at a trusted source. This drastically increases your ability to deliver email and allows you to begin building a sender reputation for your domain and your IP addresses.

White-labelled emails allow all of the click-tracked links to be from your domain. It also will serve open tracking images from your domain. This helps in email deliverability because you are no longer relying on click tracking being routed through a domain that you do not control. Spam filters and recipient servers will look at the links within emails to determine whether the email should be delivered and will use the reputation of the root domain to determine whether the links can be trusted.

To set up white-labelled email, you will need:

  • A white-label subdomain of your choice. Something like cmx1.yourcompany.com
  • A tracking subdomain. For example cmx2.yourcompany.com
  • A sender address under your root domain. For example notifications@yourcompany.com
  • Set up A DNS record for a third random domain provided by our ESP.

How do I create a subdomain?

You can add as many subdomains as you want in your domain provider account. Under the wanted root domain, you can add a new record (we will use a CNAME record). Alternatively, you can use your root domain for your community if you prefer.

Now that you understand basic domain anatomy, let’s configure your community’s custom domain. Memeni Support does not have access to your domain provider account and thus needs your interaction to setup the domain record.

1. Request a custom domain from Memeni Support

Send a request to domain@memeni.com or through our contact form, so that Memeni Support can approve your request and prepare the setup. In the request, please include:

  • Your email,
  • Your community
  • The subdomain (or root domain) you wish to use.
  • (Optional) White-label email domain
  • (Optional) White-label email tracking domain
  • (Optional) Email sender address within the white-labelled domain

2. Setup your domain record

Once approved (usually within 1-2 business days), you will receive an email with instructions, explaining how to setup the record in your domain provider account.

Basically you will have to add new records of type CNAME, with the name of the wanted subdomain, and the value will point to our DNS servers, as specified in the approval email. Set a TTL of one hour. This will allow us control the destination of the subdomain. Don’t worry, we will only have control of this community subdomain!

 

CName custom domain

It might take several hours until the change will be visible. Please reply to the approval email, in order to confirm that you have setup the domain record successfully.

3. Confirm your SSL certificate

Once you have confirmed the domain record setup and the change is visible (simply use any DNS lookup tool to confirm), Memeni Support will be able to install a new SSL Certificate dedicated to your community. As previously mentioned, SSL Certificates are mandatory to all Memeni communities and are already included in your pricing package. Our SSL Certificate provider (Amazon Web Services) will need your approval in order to activate the SSL Certificate.
Shortly, you will receive an email from Amazon Certificates, asking you to verify that you are the domain owner and are willing to create a certificate for that domain.

Amazon Certificate custom domain

That’s all! Within a few hours, you will receive a confirmation email from Memeni Support that your custom domain has been activated.