Skip to main content

Connect a custom domain

Custom domains are the most visible aspect of the internet, yet how domains work is a bit complicated. In this HOWTO, you'll find instructions for attaching a domain to your nation.

NationBuilder will be responsible for telling the internet where your website is and where to send your email. You'll still have to pay for domain registration through your domain registrar, but we'll handle the other aspects of domain administration. Having us host your DNS records means you'll never have to worry about whether people who type in example.com rather than www.example.com arrive at your website.

If you have ample experience managing your own DNS records, need to update your records regularly, will only be using your domain to send email blasts, or you are already receiving a high-volume of inbound email at an address using your domain, you may want to view how to connect a custom domain (DNS managed elsewhere).

Table of Contents


Add a domain to your nation

It is very important to do the steps in this document in this order. By adding your domain to your nation first, you create a place for the domain to land once you point your name server records to NationBuilder. Go to Settings > Domains. Click on + New domain.

1. Enter the domain name in the text box. Do not include 'www.' For example, our domain would be entered as nationbuilder.com.

2. Leave the “Allow NationBuilder to manage this domain” box checked.

3. If you have subnations, you'll be given the option to allow them to use the domain. Checking the box allows them to access the domain. Keeping the box unchecked means only the parent nation can connect to the domain.

4. Select a site to connect to the domain. The site selected here will live at www.yourdomain.com.

5. Click the Add domain  button.


Domain settings: name servers and email

When you add a domain, you'll be taken to domain settings. 

 

1. Confirm your Email Provider in the dropdown menu. If you are already using email with your domain, it is extremely important to make sure the correct email provider is selected on this page. 

If your email provider is not listed in the menu, select Custom Email and email help@nationbuilder.com for additional support. You will need to email any email related records (typically just MX records) to NB support. Do not continue these instructions until you have received confirmation from us that you can proceed. 

2. Add the six name servers listed in the "Required value" column to your domain registrar's control panel. If you don't see text boxes for inserting six, there is usually an option to add additional name servers. Including all six provides insurance in case one gets overloaded — like having six doors to your site rather than two or four. Learn how to configure your name servers if your domain is registered with 1&1, GoDaddy, NameCheap, or Rackspace

3. Click Save .

 Once your name servers resolve to NationBuilder, you need to re-save your primary site to complete the process. 

Name server changes usually take effect within an hour. Remember that it can take up to 48 hours for your changes to propagate across the internet. It is not possible for NationBuilder to expedite this process and clicking the refresh button does not speed up the process.


Connecting a site and managing subdomains

After the domain name servers resolve to the required values, you can finalize attaching your site to the domain. 

 This step is required -- any site added before the name servers resolve to NationBuilder will not be completely attached until you re-save the site!

Click on Sites, and you will see the list of websites attached to the domain.

Click the pencil button next to your primary website. 

Click the Save button at the bottom of the screen. Now your site is attached! Your website will be viewable on your custom domain.

If you need to add another subdomain, or if you did not attach a site when connecting the domain, click the + New site link.

1. To connect your primary domain to a site, enter "www" in the text field. Otherwise, enter any subdomain you wish to create. 

2. Select the site you'd like to use this URL for from the dropdown menu.

3. Click the Savebutton. You will be taken back to the full list of sites using that domain. 

Note - each website can only be attached to one domain and a website must already exist in the Website section of your control panel before it can be attached to a domain. If you see this message:

That means that all websites in your nation are already attached to a domain. You will need to create a new site first. 


Congratulations, you're done!

Reasons to contact NationBuilder Support regarding your domain:

  • If your site does not display your custom domain after 48 hours, first make sure you re-saved your site. That step is required to complete the connection process. 
  • If you would like to create a subdomain and attach it to a site not hosted by NationBuilder.

Email help@nationbuilder.com if you have additional questions about this process.

Note: When connecting/removing a custom domain, it can take a couple of days to add the SSL certification. SSL certificates get attached in batches on Mondays and Thursdays. You will be notified by email when the process of activating the SSL certification has completed. If you need to remove and re-add a domain that has already had an SSL certificate activated for it, please contact help@nationbuilder.com for assistance.


Related HOWTOs

Understand how custom domains work

Be the first to comment

Wrap code snippets in <code></code> tags.
Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

If you’re unclear on how this feature works, please ask a question. If you would like to see changes to this feature, please submit a suggestion.