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How do I set up a secure custom tracking domain?


If you’re doing any sort of social media or email marketing, setting up a custom tracking domain is required – because you can’t use the generic clkmg.com and clkmr.com tracking domains on social media or in emails.

But even if you’re not you may still want to use custom tracking domains for the “branding” and other benefits they provide. And this article shows you step by step exactly how to set it up ...

We strongly recommend that you first buy an entirely new domain to be used only for tracking.

Setting up a custom tracking domain requires modifying the domain’s DNS records, and if you do this incorrectly for a domain that already points to an existing website, your website could stop working.

Also, please keep in mind that setting up a custom tracking domain is one of the more technical things you’ll do with ClickMagick. We encourage you to give it a go yourself, but if you run in to trouble please don’t hesitate to click the “I need help setting this up” tab and we’ll be happy to help.

With all of that being said, please select whether you’re going to use a new domain, you want to use an existing domain, or if you want us to walk you through the process or just do it for you entirely …



The following video will guide you through the steps required to set up your custom tracking domain if you bought a brand new domain:



Or if you prefer, you can read through the steps below and jump to any specific step using the table of contents:



Step 1 – Purchase a New Domain

The first thing you have to do is buy a new custom domain.

GoDaddy is a very popular domain registrar, as is Namecheap, but any registrar will work. A new domain shouldn’t cost more than $10 per year. Just register the domain and ignore any “upsells” that they try to get you to buy, such as web hosting or private registration. All you need is the domain.


Step 2 – Sign Up for a Cloudflare Account

Now that you’ve bought your new domain, the next step is to set up an account with Cloudflare to secure your domain.

Go to Cloudflare.com and sign up for their free account. During the sign up process you will be asked for your new domain name, so just enter it here and click on “Add Site”.
 


Then, select the “Free Plan” and click “Confirm Plan”.

 
Step 3 – Add an “A Record” to your Cloudflare DNS settings

Confirm that you are using a brand new domain used exclusively for tracking with no existing content on it. Then delete any other A records you have showing in Cloudflare.

Note that your exact records may be different than what is shown here:

 


Next, enter the following for the DNS settings:
  • Type:  A
  • Name:  @
  • IPv4 Address:  enter 50.97.212.250 if you are using tracking links, or 50.23.66.138 if you are using rotators, but not both. 


Then, click on “Add Record” and then “Continue”.
 
You might be asked what method you want to use to move your domain to Cloudflare. Just click on “Continue with default”.

 


Step 4 – Point Your Domain Registrar Nameservers to Cloudflare

Next, you will land on a “Change your nameservers” page in Cloudflare. 

The only records we care about are Cloudflare’s nameservers:

 


These are the nameservers in our example – yours will be different.

To make things easy to explain, we’re going to assume that you’ve bought your new domain from Namecheap.com.

So go to Namecheap and click on “Manage” for your new domain.



Select “Custom DNS” from the “Nameservers” dropdown, paste in the nameservers and click “Save”.

 


Once you do that, click on “Done, check nameservers” in Cloudflare.


Step 5 – Double-Check Certain Cloudflare Settings

Once you’ve added the DNS records to Cloudflare, you need to make sure the security certificate has been issued and the proper https: redirects are in place.
 
1.   Make sure that the SSL/TLS encryption mode is set to “Full”.

 

 
2.    Scroll down just a little and make sure that “Always Use HTTPS” is set to “On”.
 
 

 
3.   Scroll down to the very bottom and click on “Done”.

 

 
4.   Lastly, click on “SSL/TLS” at the top of the Cloudflare interface and then click on “Edge Certificates”:

 


Then, scroll down to the bottom and make sure that the “Automatic HTTPS Rewrites” is set to “On” as well:

 


That’s it! You have now successfully set everything up inside of Cloudflare.


Step 6 – Add the Custom Tracking Domain to ClickMagick

Next, click on Domain Manager in the Tools menu and enter your root domain (without any subdomain or the https):

 
 

You have some options when adding your domain in ClickMagick. Just use the default options for now and click on “Add Custom Domain”.

You can always go back and change your domain settings at any time using the Domain Manager.
 
Note: Keep in mind that you might not be able to add your domain to ClickMagick right away. This is because it can take anywhere from 1 to 24 hours for the DNS records to propagate, so just give it some time and you should be able to add it then.



Step 7 – Add Your New Domain to Your Links or Rotators

The last step just involves adding this domain to your specific link or rotator, so make sure you have that set up first.

How do I set up a very basic tracking link?


To use your new tracking domain, click on Links or Rotators in the top menu bar, select the specific link or rotator, and add the custom tracking domain from the dropdown:

 
  

Click on “Save Changes” and that’s it! You have now successfully added a secure custom tracking domain to ClickMagick.


The following video will guide you through the steps required to set up your custom tracking domain if you are using an existing domain:



Or if you prefer, you can read through the steps below and jump to any specific step using the table of contents:



Step 1 – Sign Up for a Cloudflare Account

The first thing you have to do is to set up an account with Cloudflare to secure your domain.

Go to Cloudflare.com and sign up for their free account. During the sign up process you will be asked for your new domain name, so just enter it here and click on “Add Site”.
 


Then, select the “Free Plan” and click “Confirm Plan”.


Step 2 – Add a CNAME Record to your Cloudflare DNS settings

Next, you have to figure out what you want your subdomain to be. This is a descriptive word in front of your domain name. Here are some examples:
 
  www.yourdomain.com
learn.yourdomain.com
blog.yourdomain.com
offer.yourdomain.com

In the examples above, the subdomains are www, blog, learn, and offer. You can use any combination of letters and numbers for a subdomain.

Now just click on “Add Record” in Cloudflare:

 


Note that your exact records may be different than what is shown here.

Do NOT delete any records that are showing here as that could cause your existing website to no longer work.

Instead, enter the following:
  • TypeCNAME
  • Name:  Enter the subdomain you want to use. In our case, we will be using “track”.
  • Target:  Enter www.clkmg.com for tracking links or www.clkmr.com for rotators.
Click the Save button and your new domain should be ready to go.

 


Keep in mind that it can take up to 24 hours for the new DNS records to propagate across the web.

Click “Continue” to go to the next page.

You might be asked what method you want to use to move your domain to Cloudflare. Just click on “Continue with default”.

 



Step 3 – Point Your Domain Registrar Nameservers to Cloudflare

Next, you will land on a “Change your nameservers” page in Cloudflare. 

The only records we care about are Cloudflare’s nameservers:

 


These are the nameservers in our example – yours will be different.

To make things easy to explain, we’re going to assume that you’ve bought your new domain from Namecheap.com.

So go to Namecheap and click on “Manage” for your new domain.



Select “Custom DNS” from the “Nameservers” dropdown, paste in the nameservers and click “Save”.

 


Once you do that, click on “Done, check nameservers” in Cloudflare.


Step 4 – Double-Check Certain Cloudflare Settings

Once you’ve added the DNS records to Cloudflare, you need to make sure the security certificate has been issued and the proper https: redirects are in place.
 
1.   Make sure that the SSL/TLS encryption mode is set to “Full”.

 

 
2.    Scroll down just a little and make sure that “Always Use HTTPS” is set to “On”.
 
 

 
3.   Scroll down to the very bottom and click on “Done”.

 

 
4.   Lastly, click on “SSL/TLS” at the top of the Cloudflare interface and then click on “Edge Certificates”:

 


Then, scroll down to the bottom and make sure that the “Automatic HTTPS Rewrites” is set to “On” as well:

 


That’s it! You have now successfully set everything up inside of Cloudflare.


Step 5 – Add the Custom Tracking Domain to ClickMagick

Next, click on Domain Manager in the Tools menu and enter your entire domain, including the subdomain.

You have some options when adding your domain in ClickMagick. Just use the default options for now. You can always go back and change your domain settings at any time using the Domain Manager, but for now just click on “Add Custom Domain”.

 
 

Step 6 – Test Your Tracking Domain

To test your tracking domain, click on Links or Rotators in the top menu bar, select the specific link or rotator, and add the custom tracking domain from the dropdown:

 


Click on “Save Changes” and that’s it! You have now successfully added a secure custom tracking domain with a subdomain to ClickMagick.

If you want us to help with setting up your custom domain, you have two options …


Option 1 – We do it for you (new domain only)

1. If necessary, register the new domain that you want to use.

2. Create a free Cloudflare account. This is what will provide the SSL/security for your domain.

3. Submit a support ticket with the following information:

a. The domain name that you want to use
b. Is this domain for use with Tracking Links or Rotators?
c. Your Cloudflare login details
d. Your domain registrar login details

We’ll go ahead and set everything up for you, and then once we’re done you can go ahead and change your Cloudflare and domain registrar login password if you want, which we definitely recommend.

Please note that we can only do this for a domain that does NOT currently point to any active website. We simply can’t be put in a position where we might be responsible for “breaking” your existing website.


Option 2 – We do it with you (any domain)

If you want to use a domain that points to an existing website or you simply don’t want to share any login details then this option is for you. Just follow the steps below and we'll be happy to walk you through the process ...

1. Create a free Cloudflare account (if you don’t already have one).

2. Click here to schedule your call and we will be happy to jump on a quick screen sharing session and walk you through the process. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.


Article 140 Last updated: 07/29/2020 5:53:06 AM
https://www.clickmagick.com/kb/?article=140