A custom domain gives your site its own identity and it is also preferable for SEO.
NOTE: Setting up a custom domain requires a domain purchased from a third-party domain authority.
- Configure your DNS to point at your site.
- Add the domain to your sites using the Ghoststead dashboard
NOTE: If you are using a proxy then you want to set a custom url.
Configure DNS Settings
This step is probably one of the most difficult one for setting up your site as it involves DNS settings configuration using your third-party domain authority. The process is specific for your domain but in all cases you are configuring your domain name to reference your site. This is done by creating either a CNAME or A record for your site (but not both). Ghoststead will validate your setup in the next step.
It takes some time for DNS settings to affect due to DNS propagation - essentially for your settings to make their way around the world to the very many DNS server. You'll see a message claiming this setup may take up to 24 or 48 hours but in practice it's usually a matter of minutes. You can actually see this process on a map use such tools as DNS Checker.
Pro Tip: Don't use a raw domain, i.e. a domain without www. If your domain is example.com then create DNS records for both www.example.com and example.com but always use www.example.com when referencing your URL.
A DNS 'CNAME' record is just an alias for another name. If your site was named 'mysite', then you would create a CNAME record in your DNS setting corresponding to your admin domain – here in this case CNAME would be 'mysite.ghoststead.net'.
A DNS 'A' record combines your domain name with an IP address. The IP address of your site is shown on the Ghoststead dashboard right below your site name and after your plan type.
The IP address consists of 4 numbers separated by 3 periods.
Add a Custom Domain
Once the DNS settings for your custom domain are configured for your site, your domain as a custom domain is displayed in the Ghoststead dashboard.
Click the 'ADD' button next to 'Use a custom domain' for this site.
This button will take you to another screen where you may add your custom domain.
Enter the custom domain name and click 'Add Custom Domain'. Ghoststead will verify that the specified domain name is pointing to your site. If the DNS settings don't match your site, an error message will be displayed with additional information. Such an error may indicate that your settings haven't yet propagated to the DNS server that Ghoststead is using, or may indicate a configuration error. Please wait a few minutes, check your settings, and try again. If you continue to have issues, please contact Ghoststead support and we'll help you sort out the problem.
If your settings are correct, you'll be redirected to the main dashboard and you'll be able to access your site using your new domain.
Adding a custom domain automatically generates an SSL certificate for that site, using LetsEncrypt. All traffic accessing your site will be encrypted to and from your site automatically. This privacy is not necessary for a public site but is important from an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) perspective. If you need a custom SSL certificate please contact support.
IMPORTANT: Certificate generation on a particular domain is limited to essentially 5 per week. This limitation is imposed by LetsEncrypt and may change at any point. Site owners are requested not to create and delete custom domains for your site else your site will have to be without a custom domain for 7 days.