Using your own domain name
Your SurreyCommunity.info site is automatically given a URL when it it is first set up. However you don't have to use this. Instead of using the standard address, which will be something like this:
you could register and use your own domain name similar to these:
- http://yourgroupsname.org or
There are several reasons why you might do this:
- it is easier to remember
- it looks more professional
- search engines usually place sites with their own domain name higher in search results than sites that are part of a larger site (so would list yourgroupsname.org before www.surreycommunity.info/yourgroupsname).
- it will probably be shorter than your SurreyCommunity.info URL so will be easier to include on publicity, stationery etc.
- if you move your site elsewhere in the future you can update your domain name so that it takes people to your new site
Your original SurreyCommunity.info URL will still work alongside any domain name that you set up.
How to use your own domain name with your SurreyCommunity.info site
There's a lot of information here - don't let it put you off! Setting up a domain name looks daunting but is easier than it looks. If you need further advice, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMPORTANT: You must complete all three steps for your domain name to work with your SurreyCommunity site. Changes to domain names (including initially setting them up) can take up to 24 hours to fully take effect - don't panic if your domain name doesn't work immediately!
Step 1: Obtain a domain name
You'll need to obtain a domain name if you don't already have one. We don't supply domain names but you can find companies that do by searching online for domain name registrars or domain name registration.
There is usually a charge for this. The cost will vary depending on:
- the type of name (for example, .com names are normally more expensive than .co.uk names)
- the length of time that you register it for (you pay a fee for each year that you have the name - some registrars will give you a discount if you register a name for longer periods of time).
When selecting a company to supply your domain name, check whether they allow you to edit the DNS records for your domain name. This will allow you to fully control where your domain name points to.
Some cheaper deals provide domain names but will only display your site within a frame hosted by the registrar. Although this allows people to get to your site by using your domain name, it has a number of disadvantages and we do not recommend this method.
Step 2: Configure your domain name
You'll need to configure your domain name so that it takes people to your site on SurreyCommunity.
The company who you purchased your domain name from (your registrar) will provide a way for you to do this. Usually this is an online control panel or admin page although some companies will make the changes for you.
We recommend that when you configure your domain name that you set it up so that both the bare domain (mysite.com) as well as the www prefix (www.mysite.com) can be used to reach your site.
One of these addresses (you can choose which) should be set up as your site’s primary address. This will be the address that is displayed for your site, even if the other address is used to reach it. Having a primary address for your site will benefit your site’s placement in search engine results.
We suggest using the www version of your domain name as your primary address (if you are interested, you can read the argument for this on www.yes-www.org).
The exact procedure for configuring your domain name will vary from registrar to registrar – you may need to consult their support pages for detailed help – but will probably come down to one of the following two methods. Which one you choose will depend on how your registrar handles redirects (most registrars provide free web redirection/forwarding services as part of the domain registration fee).
If your registrar’s web redirection/forwarding service handles complete addresses (so mysite.com/features/page1 redirects to www.mysite.com/features/page1) then you can use either method - we recommend the first.
If your registrar doesn't provide a forwarding/redirection service or if they only redirect to the site root (so mysite.com/features/page1 is just redirected to www.mysite.com), then you should use the second method instead.
REMEMBER: changes to DNS records can take up to 24 hours to fully take effect. Don’t panic if your domain name doesn’t work immediately!
For registrars that redirect the complete address
- Use an A-record to point your primary address only to the SurreyCommunity server at 18.104.22.168
- Use your registrar’s web redirection/forwarding service to redirect any other addresses that you want to use to your primary address. The way this is done will vary between different providers, but the principle is the same. The important thing is to choose the 'permanent' redirect option (sometimes called '301') rather than either the 'temporary' option (sometimes called '302') or the 'frameset' option (sometime called 'masked'). The permanent option means that search engines will only index content using your primary address and this will improve your site's position in search engine results.
For registrars that redirect to the site root only
Use an A-record to point each address to the SurreyCommunity server at 22.214.171.124
Setting up more than one domain for your site
If you want to use more than one domain for your site (for example, mysite.com and mysite.org) then just add the extra address details using either method above. Even though you have multiple addresses, you should still select only one to be your primary address.
So for example if you have the domain names mysite.com and mysite.org then you could choose to set them up something like this:
- www.mysite.com – primary address
- mysite.com – redirect to www.mysite.com
- www.mysite.org – redirect to www.mysite.com
- mysite.org – redirect to www.mysite.com
All of the addresses will take people to your site but it is the primary address that will be shown in the browser and used by search engines.
Step 3: Add the details of your domain name to SurreyCommunity.info
The last step is to add the details of your addresses to the SurreyCommunity system.
You only need to do this for the addresses that you set up an A record for.
So, if you used the first method above and just set up an A record for your primary address, you only need to add the details for that (no matter how many other addresses redirect to it).
If you used the second method and set up A records for two or more addresses, you’ll need to add details for each of them.
To do this:
- Go to your site admin page
- Click on Website Settings then Site Domain
- Enter your domain name in the box and click the OK button
If you have added details of more than one address here then you'll see a checkbox appear next to each one. This allows you to choose which should be used as the primary address.