- What is a custom domain?
- Preparing to update your site domain
- Switching to your custom domain
- Frequently asked questions
This document describes how to set up a custom domain with the PeopleGrove platform. Custom Domains allow you to personalize your site URL so that it is branded specifically to your institution.
NOTE: Using configuring a custom domain is OPTIONAL.
A custom domain is a Personalized URL that represents the address for your Site to the public.
Examples of custom domains:
- https://mentoring.yoursite.edu (subdomain type)
- https://yourcustomdomain.com (root domain type)
By default, your site will be set up on a PeopleGrove domain as shown below.
Using a custom domain is optional but is recommended to provide a seemless user experience and associate your site sirectly with your institution.
If you are just trying to forward a domain to your PeopleGrove site, you do not need to follow these instructions. You can simply forward your domain to your site, and you’re done!
1. Determine the name you want to use
It must be either:
- A subdomain of your website (https://connect.yoursite.com). [This is a subdomain type.]
- A new domain (https://yourprogramname.com). [This is a root domain type.]
2. Acquire the new domain
- If you are using a subdomain, contact your IT department to set up a subdomain on your .edu domain.
- If you are using a new domain, you must acquire the domain first from an internet registrar. You may use a registrar such as Google Domains or GoDaddy. Continue to the next step once this is complete.
3. Update DNS Records to point to PeopleGrove via a CNAME Record
You will make these changes via your internet registrar or your Institution IT department.
- Create a CNAME record for a .peoplegrove.com address to point to our servers.
- Note: This must be a CNAME record (Do not create an A record).
- For subdomains, enter your subdomain as the ALIAS (for the example in Step 1, you would enter "connect") and the host name as "customdomains.peoplegrove.com".
- For Root Domains , enter "www" as the ALIAS and the host name as "customdomains.peoplegrove.com".
Note: If you are using a root domain such as "yourdomain.com" and are not able to set a CNAME record on the root domain, we would recommend forwarding the naked root domain to the "www" subdomain, and creating a CNAME for the "www" subdomain to customdomains.peoplegrove.com.
We will automatically acquire and refresh the SSL certificates using Let's Encrypt.
4. Verify any internal DNS settings
Sometimes organizations have separate internal and external DNS records.
Make sure that your internal DNS reflects the same records so that the site is accessible within your own network.
Lost? Site-Wide Admin → Technical Setup → Domain Management
1. Enter your site's new domain
Enter the new domain into the Custom Domain field, and click Validate CNAME. If successful, you'll encounter the following confirmation message:
"Congrats! Your CNAME is correctly set up. Please continue to generate or upload an SSL certificate. Important tip: If you have separate internal DNS, ensure this is also set up for your internal DNS."
2. Securing your site
Select how you would like to secure your site. We highly recommend selecting Automated SSL (recommended), but you can provide your own SSL certificate if you already have one set up. If you would like PeopleGrove to provide you with an SSL certificate, select that option, and click Generate Automatic SSL.
If successful, you'll encounter the following confirmation message:
"Your CNAME and Certificate are all set! Click the “Switch Domain” button below to finalize the switch."
3. Finalize the switch
Click Switch Domain, and you'll see a Settings Saved message pop up.
After this, you'll still be able to access your site via your PeopleGrove subdomain, but your site will be fully accessible by both your team and your end users at the new domain.
Can I just point my domain or subdomain to PeopleGrove's IP address or the name.peoplegrove.com site?
- This configuration is not supported because of issues with SSL. PeopleGrove requires all connections to our site to be made with SSL, and simply pointing your subdomain to our servers will create an SSL error. We need you to point to customdomains.peoplegrove.com so we can automatically acquire the SSL certificate.
How PeopleGrove can acquire an SSL cert for a domain I own?
There is a couple of articles that may help you:
When you set a CNAME on you server pointing to customdomains.peoplegrove.com, PeopleGrove is able to successfully pass those challenges.
Note that this only works for the exact subdomain we have the CNAME for. This does not work for other subdomains you have on your domain. Let's Encrypt has become an industry standard for SSL, and is more secure since it provides for automatic, short-lived certificates.