Overview: Setting Up Your Custom Domain

Every PhotoShelter member receives a personalized website address in the form of yourname.photoshelter.com. If you prefer to use your own custom domain, you can purchase a domain from a separate registrar (e.g. GoDaddy) and follow the steps below to point that domain to your PhotoShelter site. In this scenario, PhotoShelter would still be your website host, but your domain name would be registered elsewhere.

Read through the different goals listed below to see which one best fits you.

If you use GoDaddy or Network Solutions as your domain registrar, we have support articles dedicated to setting up a domain on those platforms. You can also refer to our registrar-specific information for additional tips.

Goal #1: I want my domain to be used primarily for reaching my PhotoShelter site

Your PhotoShelter site can be reached at both “yourdomain.com” and “www.yourdomain.com”

Follow these steps:

1. In your domain registrar account, create a CNAME record in the DNS settings. The CNAME record should include the following info:

  • Alias/host: "www"
  • Points to: “custom.photoshelter.com” (exactly as written, not your PhotoShelter address)

NOTE: If there is already a CNAME record in your domain registrar account with “www” as the alias, you’ll need to edit the existing record as opposed to creating a new record.

2. To ensure your domain works both with and without the “www,” create a forward/redirect in your domain registrar account. The forward should look like this: yourdomain.com forwards to https://www.yourdomain.com (yourdomain being whatever your actual domain name is).

NOTE: If given the option, do not use framing/masking, as this can cause problems with your website.

3. Once the CNAME record you created in step one has been saved, navigate to your PhotoShelter general settings page (“Website” > “General Settings”). In the “Custom Domain” field, enter your domain name (including the “www”) and click “Save Settings.”

cname1.png

If you receive an error message, it may be that you need to wait a bit longer for your CNAME record to propagate. Depending on the registrar, this can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 48 hours.

If the “SSL status” shows as “In Process,” that means the CNAME record was set up properly. It generally takes 5-20 minutes for the SSL certificate to generate (this is what ensures your domain is loaded over a secure connection). Once it’s active, your custom domain should successfully load to your PhotoShelter site.

Goal #2: I want my PhotoShelter site to be a subdomain

You have another site acting as the main landing page for your domain, but wish PhotoShelter to appear as a subdomain, such as “archive.yourdomain.com” or “sales.yourdomain.com”

Follow these steps:

1. In your domain registrar account, create a CNAME record in the DNS settings. The CNAME record should include the following info:

  • Alias/host: whatever you’d like to come before your domain (e.g. “archive” or “sales”)
  • Points to: “custom.photoshelter.com” (exactly as written, not your PhotoShelter address)

2. Once the CNAME record you created in step one has been saved, navigate to your PhotoShelter general settings page (“website” > “general settings”). In the “custom domain” field, enter your subdomain (e.g. archive.yourdomain.com) and click “save settings.”

cname2.png

If you receive an error message, it may be that you need to wait a bit longer for your CNAME record to propagate. Depending on the registrar, this can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 48 hours.

If the “SSL status” shows as “In Process,” that means the CNAME record was set up properly. It generally takes 5-20 minutes for the SSL certificate to generate (this is what ensures your domain is loaded over a secure connection). Once it’s active, your custom subdomain should successfully load to your PhotoShelter site.

 

FAQ 

I set up my CNAME properly, but I’m not able to save it in PhotoShelter.

Changes to your website's domain can take several hours to fully update. Try again later. If it still won’t save after 48 hours, contact support to troubleshoot.

What if my registrar asks for an IP address? Can I use an “A” name/record?

A records rely on IP addresses and our IP addresses are subject to change at any time without notification. For this reason, we strongly recommend using a CNAME record.

What are nameservers, and do I have to worry about them?

Nameservers are what contain your DNS records, which are the records that tell a computer where to find your website. With the CNAME setup we recommend, you’ll want to use your domain registrar’s default nameservers.

I receive email at my domain. Will this affect it?

If you’re currently using your registrar’s nameservers, there should be no change. If you’re using an outside host’s nameservers, they’re most likely handling your email hosting as well. You would want to arrange for email hosting elsewhere; most registrars offer email hosting and would be willing to configure it for you. PhotoShelter does not provide email hosting.

What about SEO?

CNAMEs do not negatively impact search engine optimization (SEO). CNAMEs properly resolve to the canonical address, which is a fancy way of saying they do not confuse Google or other search engines.

I’ve set up my CNAME, but some of my pages still have PhotoShelter in the address bar. Why is that?

Your custom domain can always be used as an entry point to your site, but due to security constraints, not all of your website pages can retain your custom domain. On site pages that may require billing info or a login, we must revert back to the yourname.photoshelter.com address for security purposes. This also ensures that the links will continue to work even if your custom domain lapsed for any reason.

What if I have more than one domain name that I’d like to load to my PhotoShelter site?

We only support connecting one domain to your site through the recommended CNAME set up. In this case, you’ll want to choose which domain you want to be your primary domain and follow the CNAME setup instructions for that domain. For your additional domains, you can set up a forward/redirect in your domain registrar so that they redirect to your primary domain. When setting this up, be sure that you do not use forwarding/masking, as this can cause problems with your website.

I’m seeing a “your connection is not secure” error message when I visit my site. What should I do?

This likely means that we were unable to generate your SSL certificate, which is what ensures your site loads securely over HTTPS. Typically this happens because your domain is not set up with the proper CNAME record pointing to “custom.photoshelter.com.” Review the steps above and make sure the appropriate record is set up in your domain registrar account. If you continue to have trouble after reviewing the documentation, contact support to troubleshoot.

Still have questions? Contact us.

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