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CNAMES 101: Understanding the Basics

After signing on with ClickDimensions and getting set up, CNAMES are one of the things that new customers might hear a lot about. As such, we get quite a few questions about CNAMES, and we are taking the opportunity to answer some of those same questions in this blog post.

What is a CNAME?

A CNAME is an alias for your website's domain.

Why would I use a CNAME?

A CNAME is used for branding links. As a ClickDimensions customer, if you don't have a CNAME, any time there is a hyperlink in your email, it would start with elink.clickdimensions.com. If you choose to set up a CNAME, you can brand this link for your company. So, if your company is named Tomato Gardens, like our fictional company shown below, then all of your hyperlinks in the email could begin with links.tomatogardens.org.

Similarly, if you didn't have a CNAME for web content, the URLs for your landing pages, forms, surveys and subscription management pages would begin with analytics.clickdimensions.com. If you set up a web content CNAME for Tomato Gardens, then these could all begin with web.tomatogardens.org.

Wait, so how many CNAMEs do I need?

At least two – assuming that you want to brand both your email links and your web content URLs. So, you would have an email CNAME, just for links in email messages, and a web content CNAME, which is used for forms, surveys, subscription management pages and landing pages.

What do I tell my IT team to get a CNAME set up?

You or your IT team will need to contact your website's DNS host. You will need to give them the URLs you would like use for your CNAMES (ex: links.tomatogardens.org and web.tomatogardens.org).

For standard US customers:

You will need to point your email CNAME toward elink.clickdimensions.com, and you will need to point your web content CNAME toward analytics.clickdimensions.com.

For US customers on AzureSend:

You will need to point your email CNAME toward elink.azuresend.com, and you will need to point your web content CNAME toward analytics.clickdimensions.com.

For European customers:

You will need to point your email CNAME toward elink-eu.azuresend.com, and you will need to point your web content CNAME toward analytics-eu.clickdimensions.com.

For Australian customers:

You will need to point your email CNAME toward elink.clickdimensions.com, and you will need to point your web content CNAME toward analytics-au.clickdimensions.com.

Your team can also review our help article for more details and sample instructions for various DNS hosts here: http://help.clickdimensions.com/setup-cnames/.

Where do I put my CNAMEs?

Wait an hour after setting up your CNAME with your DNS host, then put the URLs into CRM. Your email CNAME goes in the ClickDimensions DNS settings. Make sure you don't accidentally add a space at the end of your CNAME. This is the only place your email CNAME record will exist. You will not see it under the email CNAME entity, nor do you need to add it there.

Navigate to Settings > ClickDimensions Settings > DNS Settings.

For standard US customers and Australian customers:

Remove elink.clickdimensions.com and put your CNAME in the Email CNAME field.

For US customers on AzureSend and European customers:

Remove elink.azuresend.com or elink-eu.azuresend.com and put your CNAME in the AzureSend Email CNAME field. **Do not change the Email CNAME field. Leave this as the default value elink.clickdimensions.com.**

Your web content CNAME goes in a domain record. Navigate to Settings > Domains and open the Domain record for your website. Leave your site's domain in the Domain field and put your web content CNAME in the Sub Domain Alias field.

Can I have more than one CNAME for emails or web content?

Yes, but you must first register these with your DNS host. If you wish to use more than one email CNAME, you will need to create a new record under the email CNAME entity. Navigate to Settings > Email CNAME and create a new record.

If you have more than one website or brand, you can use multiple web content CNAMEs as well. Create another domain record for your second brand's domain and put the second web content CNAME in the Sub Domain Alias field.

Do I need to specify my CNAME in an email send?

No, if you only have one email CNAME, you do not need to fill in this field. We will automatically use the CNAME that you included in the ClickDimensions DNS settings when an email send goes out.

If you have more than one email CNAME set up and you do not wish to use your primary CNAME, you can specify which one to use in the Advanced Settings menu of your email send.

Do I need to specify my CNAME for a web content record?

Yes, you will do this by selecting the domain record. Then, the web content record will use the CNAME that is in the Sub Domain Alias field of the corresponding domain record.

Written by Suzannah Howell, ClickDimensions Marketing Success Manager

2017-05-11T17:56:01+00:00 By |Email Marketing|0 Comments

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Suzannah Howell is a ClickDimensions Marketing Success Manager.

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