Sooooo… I wrote this post way back in November and thought I had scheduled it to be published the following day. Got busy with the holidays, a new romance, post-holiday catch-ups, etc. And now that I’ve come back to tend my neglected blog, I find that it never got posted! Arrgh! My apologies to anyone who was anxiously awaiting this. Here it is:
I’m happy to report that a few days after my last blog post, I finally got everything working correctly with my website. So, as promised, here’s how to set up your domain in Namecheap to link to an external site.
Log in to your account, and on your home page, type in the domain you want to modify in the box beneath “Quickly modify your domain.” Click “Modify.” On the page that comes up, click “All Host Records” (on the left under “Host Management”).
On the Modify Domain page, the left column (labeled “Host Name”) signifies whatever comes in front of your domain name. For your home page, it’s either the one labeled “www” or “@.” Use the “www” field to enter your information if you want your website’s home page to read http://www.yourdomain.com or use the “@” field if you want your website to read http://yourdomain.com.
In the box under the heading “IP Address/URL,” enter the address you want your home page to point to. For a CNAME record, that’s going to be the URL you want to appear as your website. If you’re configuring a PhotoShelter website, the correct information to enter is “custom.photoshelter.com.” (That’s where I went wrong – I assumed that “custom” was a stand-in term for the user’s name, but it isn’t. You know what happens when one assumes!) If you’re configuring an A record, you’ll need the IP address (for example, 188.8.131.52). When you save your information, Namecheap will automatically add a period at the end of the address. Don’t worry about it, it’s supposed to be there.
In the third column, “Record Type,” choose the option you want. If you’re not sure whether to use a CNAME or a URL Redirect, here’s the difference: with a CNAME, your domain name will appear in the user’s address bar; with a URL Redirect, the address bar displays the address you’re actually sending them to. A URL Frame redirects visitors to the address you specify and masks it with your domain name. If you’re sending traffic to a page with an address that’s subject to change, like PhotoShelter’s are, a URL Frame will be problematic. Those who use this option will need to fill the address in both the “@” and “www” fields. The last column, “TTL,” will fill itself in automatically when you save your information.
To set up subdomains, you also need to fill in the Host Name, which is whatever you want it to be. For instance, this blog is a subdomain, aptly named “blog” so that the full address reads “blog.karenjoslin.net.” I could call it “fluffybunny” if I wanted to, but that would make it harder for people to find my blog.
After you’ve saved your new host records, you may need to configure your domain name wherever your website is hosted. On PhotoShelter, go to Website Settings and enter your domain name in the “Custom Domain (CNAME)” box. Then make sure to clear your internet cache. Part of the reason it seemed like my domain wasn’t set up properly was because when I’d type in my website’s address, Firefox would just bring up my old home page that was already stored. In Safari, I’d get PhotoShelter’s home page instead. (That’s what happens when you try to point your domain to your personal PhotoShelter address, such as “karenjoslin.photoshelter.com,” instead of “custom.photoshelter.com.”) Once I corrected the address in Namecheap and PhotoShelter, it took no longer than half an hour for my domain to point correctly to my website. In certain circumstances, it could take up to 72 hours for your changes to propagate throughout the internet, but a couple of hours is more likely.
© Karen Joslin, 2011