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How do I troubleshoot my custom domain setup?


First, double-check that you followed the instructions set out in this article on setting up a secure custom tracking domain:

How do I set up a secure custom tracking domain?
 

If you’ve set up your custom domain following the instructions in the article and the domain does not seem to be working, here are the steps we use to track down the problem whenever we get a support ticket on this issue.

Just go down this list, step-by-step…

For these steps to make sense, the examples will use yourdomain.com. Just substitute your own custom domain in the examples.

The first thing to understand is that yourdomain.com and www.yourdomain.com are two completely different domains. Most people would use those two domains interchangeably, thinking they mean the same thing, but they are as different as yourdomain.com and track.bestcoolproducts.com.

Really.

It’s just extraordinarily common to point the www. version at the plain version, giving the illusion that they are one and the same.

So, when you hear the phrase “your custom domain”, you need to be very precise about what domain you’re trying to troubleshoot.

If you’re trying to troubleshoot www.yourdomain.com, but you’re making all your tests using only yourdomain.com, you’re never going to find out what’s wrong because they are not the same domain.

Now let’s go through the steps…




Step 1 – Is Your Domain Pointing to ClickMagick?

First, test to see if your domain is actually pointing to ClickMagick. To do this, enter your custom domain (e.g., yourdomain.com) into the address bar of your browser. If it’s correctly pointing to ClickMagick, you should get one of these error messages:


Error:  Oops! The tracking/rotator link slug is missing from that URL …

If you get this error, then your domain is working perfectly—you’re simply not specifying a link or rotator link slug so ClickMagick doesn’t know which link to send the click to. The key point here is that the custom domain is making it to ClickMagick.


Error:  Sorry, but that domain is no longer hosted here!

If you’re getting this error, it means that you’ve correctly set the custom domain up with your domain registrar, but you forgot to enter the domain in the ClickMagick Domain Manager. Remember, yourdomain.com and www.yourdomain.com are two completely different domains, so make sure to enter the one that you are using into the Domain Manager.


Step 2 – Confirm That You Have an Error URL Set In Your Account Settings

If you didn’t get an error message in the previous step but a valid website pulled up instead, then you need to check the “redirect history” to see how you got to that website. We’re looking to see if you got there through the Error URL in the “Traffic” tab of your Account Settings.

This would prove that your domain is correctly making it to ClickMagick.

The easiest way to determine this is to use the “Redirect Path” extension for the Chrome Brower which is a “must” for anyone who is tracking their clicks. You can get the “Redirect Path” extension by going to the Chrome Store and entering “Redirect Path”. The extension is from Ayima. Just click “Add to Chrome” to install it.

With the Redirect Path tool, you can view the complete list of redirects by clicking on the tool’s button. Look down the list and, if everything is set up correctly, you should see one of ClickMagick’s account domains, either www.clkmg.com or www.clkmr.com.

 


If you see a ClickMagick account domain in the list, that means that you have the website set up as the Error URL in the “Traffic” tab of your Account Settings. This tells you that your domain is, in fact, making it to ClickMagick, and that your domain is set up correctly!
 
 
Caution: If you’re seeing a valid website but you’re not seeing a ClickMagick account domain in the redirect history, that means that your domain is not pointing to ClickMagick at all. Either you’re troubleshooting the wrong domain, or you don’t have it configured properly. See the “Configuration problems with your Domain Registrar” section below.



Step 3 – Fixing a “This Site Can’t Be Reached” or “Parking Page” Response

If, when you enter the domain, you get a non-ClickMagick error, such as “this site can’t be reached” or you get a page that says the website hasn’t been set up yet, then the DNS settings are most likely still propagating through the Internet.

Propagation can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 72 hours, depending upon the registrar and the control panel being used. That said, in most parts of the world, domain propagation shouldn’t take more than 4 hours. If it’s been more than 4 hours and you’re still having problems, skip to the section “Configuration problems with your Domain Registrar” and double-check your DNS settings.

Something else to keep in mind… You would think that CNAME records and “A” records would take the same amount of time to propagate, but they don’t. If you’re adding more than one domain to ClickMagick’s Domain Manager (e.g., yourdomain.com and www.yourdomain.com) and the Domain Manager accepts one, but does not accept the other one even though you set them up at the same time, that does not mean something is wrong. Be patient.

If you’re into details, the NameCheap.com domain registrar has a good explanation of domain propagation. You can read about it here:
   

Step 4 – Fixing Errors From ClickMagick’s Domain Manager

ClickMagick will not allow you to enter a domain in its Domain Manager that is not working 100% correctly. That means if the Domain Manager accepts your domain, you’ve set it up correctly.

With that in mind, here are the errors you can get from the Domain Manager if something is wrong, and how you can fix them…


Error:  yourdomain.com does not seem to be set up properly

You can get this error message for a few reasons:
 
a)    Your domain is still propagating. If you’re getting this error and it’s been less than 4 hours, it’s quite possible that the domain changes are still propagating through the Internet. If it’s been 24 hours or more and you’re still getting this error, then it’s probably not a propagation problem. Skip to the “Configuration problems with Cloudflare” section.
 
b)    Your domain does not actually point at ClickMagick. That would mean you either didn’t set up the domain with your domain registrar, or you set it up incorrectly. Skip to the “Configuration problems with Cloudflare” section.
 
c)    The domain you entered isn’t actually the domain you set up. We see this all the time. Our custom domain article shows how to set up track.yourdomain.com and that domain is not at all the same as yourdomain.com. So, if you’ve set up track.yourdomain.com or go.yourdomain.com or something else, that is the domain you have to enter in the Domain Manager. Double-check that you’re including the full domain when you’re trying to add it.


Error:  Ummm … you have already added yourdomain.com

This typically only happens when you’re converting a domain from an older setup method to the currently recommended setup using CNAME and “A” records.

To fix this problem, simply click on the trash can icon next to the domain name in the Domain Manager to remove the outdated version, then try adding the domain again.


Error:  Sorry but yourdomain.com has already been added to another account

This error means that the domain you’re trying to add has already been added to someone else’s account.

Assuming you don’t have a typing mistake in your domain name, the most common reason for getting this error is that you have more than one account with ClickMagick and you’ve already added the domain to the other account.

If you want to enter your custom domain with the current account, you have to first delete it from the Domain Manager of the account that it’s already associated with.

If you only have one account with ClickMagick and you’re sure that you’re entering your domain spelled correctly, submit a ticket, along with a screenshot of your domain registration account showing the name of your custom domain.


Error:  The “For Use With” setting does not match the settings for yourdomain.com

This error message is simply saying that either the CNAME or “A” record in your domain’s DNS settings don’t match the “For Use With” setting you chose in the Domain Manager.

ClickMagick has two domain settings, one for tracking links (which includes split tests), and another one for rotators. When you add a domain to the Domain Manager, all of the settings must match. Here are the settings you must have in the Domain Manager and in your domain’s DNS settings with your registrar:
 
 
50.97.212.250 and www.clkmg.com
 
50.23.66.138 and www.clkmr.com
 

The domain settings are nearly identical, so review the CNAME or “A” record of your domain carefully. Pay particular attention to the numbers in the IP address, and to the letter right before the .com in the domain name (“g” or “r”).


Step 5 – Configuration Problems With Cloudflare

The most common problem with setting up custom domains is having conflicts in your DNS settings. Let’s cover these one-by-one …
 
a)    Duplicate “A” records

If you’ve set up yourdomain.com (with nothing in front), the host name setting should be either blank, or the “@” character, depending upon the DNS editor you’re using.

You’re only allowed to have one “A” record with the “@” setting so double-check the “A” records for your domain. If you find another “A” record with the “@” character for the host name, you have a conflict that needs to be fixed.

To correct this, delete the duplicate entry that is not set to either of ClickMagick’s IP addresses: 50.97.212.250 or 50.23.66.138:
 
 


If you don’t have any “A” records that point to ClickMagick’s IP addresses, then you’ll need to add one if you want to use yourdomain.com with ClickMagick. Review this article:

How do I set up a secure custom tracking domain?
 
 
b)    Duplicate CNAME records

Let’s say your domain is www.yourdomain.com or track.yourdomain.com. For these, you would have a CNAME record with the host name www or track, respectively. You need to ensure that there is only one CNAME record with the host name that you’re using.

To correct this, delete the duplicate CNAME record that is not set to either of ClickMagick’s domains: www.clkmg.com or www.clkmr.com:
 
 


If you don’t have any CNAME records that point to a ClickMagick domain, and you want www.yourdomain.com (or any other variant of yourdomain.com) to work with ClickMagick, you’ll need to add a CNAME record to your settings. Review the article:

How do I set up a secure custom tracking domain?
 


Step 6 – You’re Editing the Wrong Set of DNS Records

If you’ve gotten this far, and everything looks absolutely PERFECT, then you’re probably editing the wrong set of DNS records for your domain.

This happens more often than you would think. Here’s the scenario:
 
a)    You buy a domain with a domain registrar.
 
b)    You point that domain to Cloudflare.
 
c)    You edit the DNS records for the domain at the domain registrar’s control panel when you should be editing the records in Cloudflare.

So if you bought a domain with GoDaddy for example and pointed the nameservers to Cloudflare, then you should be editing Cloudflare nameservers, not GoDaddy’s.

There are many online tools you can use to look up the nameservers of a domain. ViewDNS.info is a good one because it has a TON of tools you can use to track down different types of problems.

Go to ViewDNS.info, enter your domain in the DNS Report box and click the Go button:

 


If you are seeing the Cloudflare nameservers, then you should be changing your DNS settings inside of Cloudflare, not GoDaddy.
 
 


Alternatively, if you are NOT seeing Cloudflare nameservers, then you need to go back and point the nameservers to Cloudflare from GoDaddy as per the very first paragraph of this article.

Editing the wrong set of DNS records is common so if you can’t get your domain to work, and everything looks perfect, check your nameserver settings to make sure you’re editing the right set of DNS records!


Step 7 – What If You Still Can’t Get Your Custom Domain to Work?

If you’ve gone through this entire troubleshooting guide and you still can’t get your domain to work correctly, simply contact the Helpdesk.

Please provide us with the name of your custom domain, who your domain registrar is, and a screenshot of your current DNS settings.

If you don’t know how to take a screenshot, this article will explain how to do it:
 
How do I take a screenshot on my computer or mobile device?


Article 116 Last updated: 07/09/2020 7:05:13 AM
https://www.clickmagick.com/kb/?article=116