Thinkific is an online course creation platform that allows users to create, market, and sell their courses online. One of the great features of Thinkific is the ability to connect your custom domain to your Thinkific site.
Custom domains are web addresses that use your domain name, such as www.yoursite.com, rather than the default Thinkific URL. Using a custom domain can increase your brand recognition, improve your search engine optimization (SEO), and have greater control over your website design and user experience.
This comprehensive guide will provide you with an overview of custom domains on Thinkific and explain how to set up and use a custom domain on your Thinkific site.
What is a Custom Domain?
Custom domains are web addresses that use your domain name instead of the default URL of a web platform. When you connect a custom domain to your Thinkific site, your website visitors will see your domain name in the address bar instead of the usual Thinkific URL, which can increase your brand recognition and credibility. You can use custom domains to promote your brand and help you stand out in a crowded online learning market.
Examples of Thinkific Custom Domains
Opting for a default Thinkifc URL for your site will usually end with the “thinkific.com” tag beside your site name. Examples of page URLs with the default Thinkific domain include “yoursite.thinkific.com,” “yoursite.thinkific.com/courses,” and “yoursite.thinkific.com/all-products.”
However, if you decide to add more of your personality or brand to your Thinkific site, the best possible way would be to change the default domain to a custom one. If you connect your custom domain to your site, the URL will look like “yourdomain.com.” Other examples of custom domain URLs include “courses.yourdomain.com” and “learn.yourdomain.com.”
Comparison with Default Thinkific Domains
Compared to default Thinkific domains, custom domains offer several advantages. First, they make it easier for visitors to remember and return to your site.
Second, custom domains can improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and rankings, as search engines prioritize websites with custom domains over those with default domains. Finally, custom domains give you greater control and flexibility over your website design and user experience.
How to Set Up a Custom Domain on Thinkific
At Thinkific, setting up a custom domain is easy. With a few simple steps, you can quickly connect your custom domain to your Thinkific site and start taking advantage of the benefits of a custom domain. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:
Step 1: Prepare Your Custom Domain and Find Its Domain Host
If you own a website, you should already have a domain. Otherwise, if you don’t already have your custom domain, you’ll need to register it with a domain registrar or host, such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Bluehost.
Where is your already-existing domain registered? You can go to either of these websites to determine its domain host: purewhois.com OR lookup.icann.org.
Step 2: Set Up a CNAME Record
Once you’ve registered your custom domain, you’ll need to set up a CNAME record that points to your Thinkific site. A verified CNAME record will allow visitors to access your Thinkific site using your custom domain.
You can modify your DNS records through your domain host’s dashboard. You can also do this using a third-party DNS provider, like Namecheap, if your domain is not registered to any of these registrars:
Step 3: Verify the CNAME Record
To ensure that your CNAME record is set up correctly, you can use online DNS tools, such as MX Toolbox or DNS Checker. These tools will allow you to check that the CNAME record is properly configured and is pointing to your Thinkific site.
If you see a result page with the fields Type (the type must be CNAME), Domain Name (your desired custom domain), and Canonical Name (your current Thinkific URL), that’s how you know the record is officially verified. Otherwise, the record may have failed to go live if you can’t see any of these fields.
Step 4: Add Your Custom Domain in Thinkific
After setting up and verifying your CNAME record, you’ll need to add your custom domain in Thinkific. To do this, go to your admin dashboard, then “Settings.” In the “Site” tab, choose “Site URL,” then select “Add Custom URL.” From there, you will need to enter your custom domain in the “New Custom URL” field and click “Save.”
Make Your Custom Domain the Primary URL for Your Site
You can set it as your primary domain by checking the box under the “New Custom URL” field. Setting your domain to primary means it will be the default URL your students see when they access your site. This feature can help to reinforce your brand and make it easier for them to remember your website address.
Step 5: Test Your Custom Domain
Once you’ve created the CNAME record and added your custom domain in Thinkific, it’s important to test it to ensure everything is working correctly. You can do this by typing in your custom domain in a web browser and ensuring that your Thinkific site loads correctly.
Troubleshooting Common Issues with Custom Domains on Thinkific
Setting up a custom domain on Thinkific can be complex, and sometimes issues can arise. Here are some common problems users face when setting up custom domains on Thinkific and tips for resolving them.
Incorrect DNS Settings
DNS settings can be a common source of issues when setting up custom domains on Thinkific. To check your DNS settings for errors, ensure you’ve set up your CNAME record correctly, and ensure that there are no typos or errors in your domain name.
If you encounter common DNS errors, such as 404 or 502, try fixing them by checking your DNS settings or contacting your domain registrar. To avoid these issues, ensure that you configure your DNS settings correctly on Thinkific by following the step-by-step guide in the previous section.
Domain Propagation Delays
Domain propagation refers to the time DNS changes take effect and can cause delays in accessing your custom domain. To check the status of your domain propagation, use an online DNS propagation tool.
If you’re experiencing delays, wait a few hours, clear your browser cache, and check again. You can also speed up domain propagation on Thinkific by setting a lower TTL value or using a third-party DNS provider.
Issues with SSL Certificates
SSL certificates are essential for securing your custom domain and ensuring that your site is HTTPS-compliant. If you encounter issues with SSL certificates on Thinkific, check that your SSL certificate is set up correctly using an online SSL checker tool.
If there are errors, fix them by reissuing your SSL certificate or contacting your SSL provider. To avoid these issues, choose a reputable SSL provider and follow the SSL setup instructions by Thinkific.
Contact the Thinkific Team for More Complicated Issues
If you encounter any issues you can’t resolve, don’t hesitate to contact Thinkific support for additional help. With the right approach and best practices, you can quickly troubleshoot common issues and successfully set up a custom domain on Thinkific.
How to Set Up a Custom Domain in Thinkific: Conclusion
Custom domains are a great way to enhance the brand image of your Thinkific site and make it easier for your students to find you. By using a custom domain, you can enjoy many benefits, such as better SEO, a professional image, and a personalized touch.
While setting up a custom domain can be technical, the benefits are well worth it. If you’ve already set up your custom domain on Thinkific, be sure to set it as primary to ensure the best user experience for your students. We hope this article has been helpful, and we wish you the best of luck in your e-learning journey with Thinkific.