Unbounce Answers/FAQ/Setting Up Custom Domains and CNAMEs

My CNAME isn't working! How can I troubleshoot it?

Ryan Engley
posted this on July 28, 2011 05:10 PM

You can quickly verify  your CNAME record using a web based dig tool.

To do this:

  1. Visit http://www.mxtoolbox.com/CNAMELookup.aspx
  2. Enter your custom domain's URL in the 'Domain Name' field
  3. Click 'CNAME Lookup'

The results show you:

    • Type - the type of record created for your subdomain
      • If your DNS settings are correct, you will see 'CNAME' in this field
      • If you do not see 'CNAME' in the response and only see 'A' then there may be an A Record in your DNS that is overriding your CNAME Record.  This A Record will need to be deleted or changed because you cannot have an A Record and a CNAME record created for the same subdomain.
    • Domain Name - the domain you searched
    • Canonical Name - the host your domain points to
      • If your DNS settings are correct, you will see unbouncepages.com in this field
      • If you see a different value, you will have to edit the host (or points to) value of this subdomain in your DNS settings to be unbouncepages.com
      • Note: you might see something like  unbouncepages.com.yourdomain.com in this field.  If you do, you'll have to return to your host and edit the points to value of your CNAME record to be unbouncepages.com. (note the extra . at the end)
    • TTL - your time to live value
      • This is the amount of time your server holds on to older cached information before it refreshes to show any new changes.  If your custom domain does not seem to be working properly, you may just need to wait the amount of time indicated before your custom domain will work.

For example:

If you look up the domain www.cheapelephants.com you will see the following result:

MXTOOLS.png

This shows that the domain www.cheapelephants.com is correctly pointing to unbouncepages.com with a CNAME record.

This is the kind of result you're after.


For instructions on setting up a custom domain in Unbounce, see our step-by-step guide.

 

Comments

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Cyrus Altschuck

Hi Ryan, thanks for the clear explanations. For the Type error 'A': a conflicting A Record created in your DNS settings that is overriding your CNAME Record.  This A Record will need to be deleted or changed...how would one go about doing this?  thanks.

September 15, 2011 05:32 PM
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Ryan Engley
Unbounce

Hello Cyrus!  The way you would go about editing the A Record depends on your hosting provider's interface.  Generally, you should be able to access your DNS settings where you will see list of A, CNAME, and MX records.  Once you find the A record for the subdomain you are trying to use with the CNAME record, you should be able to edit or delete it.

Hope that helps!

September 16, 2011 12:20 PM
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Eirik Larsen

I used this test to get the result I'd wanna see, and still "One or more of your Custom Domains isn't working yet."

And that's after 1 day of waiting :)

Any ideas?

October 12, 2011 11:16 AM
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Ryan Engley
Unbounce

Hi Eirik - sorry for the late reply to your question.  You would see this message if Unbounce is unable to verify that your DNS settings are correct (though there are variables that might interfere with the accuracy of this message).  Using a dig tool is a more reliable method to check your DNS. If you have any further questions, just send us a message and let us know which of your domains is producing this error.

October 25, 2011 04:16 PM
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Chris Lucero

I am getting "unbouncepages.com.kirklandstorageandwarehousing.com" for my canonical name.  Any help?

November 06, 2011 08:07 AM
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Ryan Engley
Unbounce

Hello Chris - Getting that kind of result tells us that the CNAME record has been misconfigured.

When you create a CNAME record, there are two main parts to the record:
- The subdomain and
- The points to value for that subdomain

The subdomain is the part of your custom domain for which you are creating the CNAME record.  
- If your custom domain were 'www.cheapelephants.com' then your subdomain would be 'www'.  
- If your custom domain were 'ads.cheapelephants.com' then your subdomain would be 'ads

Since you saw the result 'unbouncepages.com.kirklandstorageandwarehousing.com', we can infer that your subdomain got mixed up.  Instead of putting 'www' or 'ads' (or whatever subdomain it is you wanted to use), you must have accidentally put in 'unbouncepages.com' as your subdomain.

This should be an easy enough fix as its just a matter of revisiting your DNS to edit the CNAME record.

November 14, 2011 04:58 PM
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Martin Müller

Hi Chris,

some DNS hoster need you to add a dot behind the .com, else the frontend assumes you are referring to the same domain and adds it at the end in the background.

In short: type in "unbouncepages.com." with a dot at the end as the CNAME target and it will work.

cheers,

Martin

January 19, 2012 05:43 AM
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Patrick Wagner

Thanks for the help.

January 19, 2012 10:32 AM
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Amanda McClean

 

When I go to promos.mysite.com (yes I am substituting my actual URL for 'mysite') I get the message : 

The requested URL / was not found on this server."

When I use the dig tool, I find:

AuthTypeDomain NameCanonical NameTTL
N CNAME promos.mysite.com unbouncepages.com 4 hrs
AuthTypeDomain NameIP AddressTTL
N A unbouncepages.com 111.111.111.11 (changed for privacy) 1 min

When I open up my Cpanel and access Advanced DNS Zone editor, I see several A records, BUT not the one listed above.  Please advise.

January 19, 2012 11:05 AM
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Patrick Wagner

I've set mine up but nothing is displaying - same thing when I go to unbouncepages.com

this is what I get:

The requested URL / was not found on this server.
January 19, 2012 11:09 AM
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Ryan Engley
Unbounce

Hi Amanda - those results are brilliant.  They confirm that the CNAME is configured properly.

 The message:

The requested URL / was not found on this server

tells us that your domain is pointing to Unbounce, but that no landing page has been set to appear at the address you visited.  To sort this out, you just need to tell your landing page at which URL you want it to show up.  We have a video at http://support.unbounce.com/entries/20316578#4 that outlines how to go about doing this.

Cheers

January 19, 2012 11:09 AM
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Ryan Engley
Unbounce

Hi Patrick - my previous response should help address the issue you've encountered as well.  You may also want to clear your browser's cache/cookies, restart it then visit your domain again.

Amanda - I also noticed the second part to your question.  The A Record you see in the response is fine.  That's actually on the Unbounce side so it's nothing to worry about.  As long as you see something like:

N	CNAME	promos.mysite.com	unbouncepages.com	4 hrs

as the first line in your dig, then you can rest assured that you have configured the CNAME record properly.

January 19, 2012 11:21 AM
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Amanda McClean

Ok, great, Thanks!


January 19, 2012 11:33 AM
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Peter Davis

When I try and set up a CNAME it asks for a Canonical name, I tried entering unbouncepages.com and I get the following warning

Error: The canonical name must contain Latin characters, digits, hyphens and points only and end with '.' .
Please help
July 16, 2012 02:14 AM
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Martin Müller

See my comment above.

>> In short: type in "unbouncepages.com." with a dot at the end as the CNAME target and it will work.

Martin

July 16, 2012 02:48 AM
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Jonathan Rowe

Currently I have www.mysite.com as a A record.

If I simply change it to a CNAME record, where will a user who simply types in our home page be taken? Does this imply that our home page would need to be on unbounce?

I would prefer not to have something like "ads.mysite.com". I prefer: www.mysite.com/landing-page-path

Can I do that without having the homepage be on unbounce?

August 06, 2012 12:15 PM
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Ryan Engley
Unbounce

Hi Jonathan - if you've already got your existing website at http://www.mysite.com/ then unfortunately you cannot use the www subdomain with Unbounce since that subdomain is configured to show your website's pages hosted your own server.  If you change your www subdomain's A Record then your existing website will seem to disappear.  A subdomain can only show pages hosted in a single place.  To avoid this, your best bet is to use a custom subdomain such as http://promos.mysite.com/ for your landing pages.

August 08, 2012 12:54 PM
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Becky Arendt

Would I be able to create a simple URL for my landing pages? For example, www.simple.com.  And can I create an infinite number of these simple URL's for all my landing pages?

April 15, 2013 10:39 AM
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Ryan Engley
Unbounce

Hey Becky - you sure can. Our custom domain set up article explains how to configure your domain and customize your page's URL.  And for your second question, all plans include 1 complimentary domain and you're free to add as many domains as you like $5/month per domain after that.

April 15, 2013 03:31 PM
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Bradley Pierce

Ryan, I have a slash after the end of my subdomain for my landing page. My landing page works fine. However, if a visitor deletes the characters after the slash, they get:

The requested URL / was not found on this server

Now, I know that you said this was actually a good sign that the domain was set up correctly. However, how do I get the subdomain with nothing after the slash to redirect to my home page or some other page?

May 16, 2013 11:03 PM
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Ryan Engley
Unbounce

Hey Bradley - I've double checked and the issue is that you haven't got a page published to the root domain

Let's pretend, for example, that your domain is www.pierce.com and the one landing page in your account is published to www.pierce.com/promo/Visitors need to go to that exact URL to see your page.

Your two options are to either:

  1. Change your page's URL to www.pierce.com (to the root domain) or to
  2. Publish a separate page to the root domain.
Does that make sense?
May 17, 2013 02:43 PM
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Natalie Peluso

Hello! Help :)

 

I changed the CNAME on my server (Bluehost) and it's coming up in the MX Lookup as an "A" type not a CNAME. And the option to search CNAME is not there, only DNS lookup. So super confused. Unbounce thinks my pages are pointing correctly but when I visit the landing pages I am still getting my default Bluehost placeholder page. 

Should I change the A name record to Unbounce, too? Or is there something I'm missing?

June 04, 2013 05:57 PM
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Natalie Peluso

Don't worry, I followed the Bluehost specific instructions and now waiting to see if they work. :)

June 04, 2013 06:09 PM
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Natalie Peluso

This is very frustrating - Bluehost seem to be changing only thhe A record not the CNAME despite me specifically doing it three times in 24 hours to no avail. Will email Bluehost but seriously I could have been testing this on my own Wordpress install with a landing page theme 36 hours ago. Major pain. Sorry guys I'm sure either I'm doing something wrong or Bluehost have no idea but I just want to test my pages now!

June 05, 2013 01:58 AM
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Ryan Engley
Unbounce

Hey Natalie - I completely understand why you're frustrated here. Based on what you've described, you should be able to track down that errant A record in your DNS and delete it. (If there's both an A record and a CNAME record for the same subdomain, the A record takes precedence.)

Try it out but if you continue to run into any issues, email a screenshot of your DNS to support@unbounce.com and we'll take a look. We can always hop on a call as well to help troubleshoot.

June 05, 2013 09:55 AM
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Bradley Pierce

@ Ryan Engley May 17, 2013 02:43 pm

 

Ryan - Thank you for your answer, but I am not sure what you are saying.  If by root domain you mean (hypothetically) "www.pierce.com", then I do have something published there.  My unbounce page would be at landing.pierce.com/etcetera.  When people go to landing.pierce.com, I want them to be forwarded to www.pierce.com.  How can I do that, or is it even possible?

June 05, 2013 03:37 PM
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Ryan Engley
Unbounce

Hey Bradley,

Is there a reason you don't want to publish a landing page to "landing.pierce.com" and also have subsequent pages at "landing.pierce.com/etcetera"?

Regardless, you can (sort of) create a redirect from "landing.pierce.com" to "www.pierce.com" instead. You'd have to build and publish an Unbounce page to "landing.pierce.com" in which you include a javascript redirect to forward visitors to "www.pierce.com".

The redirect script  would look like this and would need to be placed in the head of the page. Just replace www.pierce.com with the actual URL you want visitors forwarded to:

<script type="text/javascript">
<!-- window.location = "http://www.pierce.com/"
//-->
</script>

Give it a shot -- that should do the trick.

PS. You can find the redirect script and an explanation of how it works here.

June 06, 2013 09:36 AM
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Jordan Elpern-Waxman

I'm having a number of DNS/redirect weirdnesses:

  1. When I look up join.beerdreamer.com on mxtoolbox.com, it says I have a Type A record pointing to domain name unbouncepages.com, IP address 74.220.199.6; and the CNAME lookup fails.

    However when I look at my DNS settings in Bluehost, I do not have such an A record. My A record points at Bluehost's IP, and then I do have a CNAME record pointing from join to unbouncepages.com.

    Empirically, join.beerdreamer.com works.

  2. When I look up www.beerdreamer.com, I get the same thing (replace "join" above with "www"). I also get the A for join.beerdreamer.com.

    In my Bluehost DNS, I have a CNAME record pointing www to join.beerdreamer.com, which then points to unbouncepages.com per the above.

    What's weirder is, when you go to www.beerdreamer.com, you get a different page than at join.beerdreamer.com. The two pages are similar but the difference can be seen if you go directly from one to the other. What's particularly strange about this is that I only have one page on unbounce. 

    Also, www is not redirecting to join, despite the CNAME record. In my domains tab in Unbounce it shows www.beerdreamer.com as not working.

  3. When I use the dig tool to look up beerdreamer.com (the naked domain), I get the same results as looking up www.beerdreamer.com (plus the actual MX records, which aren't relevant here).

    However in my .htaccess file I added 

    RewriteEngine on
    rewritecond %{http_host} ^beerdreamer.com [nc]
    rewriterule ^(.*)$ http://join.beerdreamer.com/$1 [r=301,nc]

    per the Unbounce help page at http://support.unbounce.com/entries/307687-How-can-I-use-a-naked-do... (I initially tried to do a standard 301 redirect with Bluehost, but that didn't work, so finally the help desk there just copy-pasted your code despite that fact that neither they nor I understand it).

    As a result, beerdreamer.com redirects to join.beerdreamer.com, which is correct.

  4. I had a site up at beerdreamer.com before, which had various subdirectories, e.g. beerdreamer.com/gift. I took this down temporarily and replaced it with the unbounce site. Those links to the subdirectories are still out there, in email marketing etc. How can can I set those subdirectories to point to the landing page? In the meantime, beerdreamer.com/gift is redirecting to join.beerdreamer.com/gift/, which then displays an Unbounce error reading

    "The requested URL /gift/ was not found on this server."

    Not a great user experience!!

Thanks!

July 23, 2013 06:01 AM
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Aaron Noparstak

HI Ryan,

Thanks for the great support articles. I've gone through them and made sure that my cname is setup correctly. However, I'm still getting a 404 error. I wasn't sure if this is an issue with my host (HostGator) or something with unbounce. The weird thing is that the landing page was working yesterday afternoon, but by the time I got home from work, it had stopped working.

 

The URL is: www.prana-health.com

 

Thanks for your help,

 

Aaron

November 06, 2013 02:55 AM
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Johnny Opao
Unbounce

Hi Aaron - I just tested your page now and I can confirm the page is working. Your home computer may be caching the 404 page. Try clearing your cache and reloading the page. That should do the trick but let me know if your still having issues.

November 06, 2013 02:36 PM
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Matt brown

You can set the TTL (time to live) to 5 minutes (300s) instead of the 14400 (4 hours) in the instructions.  I did, and it worked within 5 minutes.  

November 12, 2013 07:08 AM
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Lou Sturm
Unbounce

Thanks for sharing that Matthew!

November 12, 2013 09:16 AM
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Anna Hiltunen

Hello,

 

I am trying to publish at root domain but at publishing get two slashes after my page

http://www.getaradiome.com//

How do I get rid of the slashes?

January 17, 2014 06:24 AM
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Johnny Opao
Unbounce

Hey Anna - I believe your seeing this when you hit "Change URL", is this correct? If so there's no need to worry about it. It's simply there to show there's no path specified after the domains URL. So you should be able to access the page with or without either of the slashes.

www.getaradiome.com

www.getaradiome.com/

January 17, 2014 09:47 AM
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Nestor Vives

This article helped me solve my problem very quickly. Thanks!

March 19, 2014 10:53 AM