Custom domains explained

29/06/2010

Web-to-print portals running on ZetaPrints web-to-print and dynamic imaging platform need to be placed under custom domain names to get full functionality and API access. This post explains how custom domain names are used.

API key and branding

API access to web-to-print portals and customization (branding) are only available via custom domain names. You need to configure and activate it before these features are turned on. Read on to find out how.

CNAME set up

All you need to do is to point your domain or subdomain to zetaprints.com via CNAME. E.g. orders.my-print-shop.com CNAME zetaprints.com.

Skip the rest of the post if you know where and how to do it. Go to that domain name once the record is created.

ZetaPrints domain names

What is a “domain name” and what is a “sub-domain”?

zetaprints.com is a domain name.

www.zetaprints.com, magento.zetaprints.com are domain names as well but are also sub-domains of zetaprints.com.

All of them resolve to certain IP addresses that ultimately define the location of the website for the web browser.

Examples:

  • www.zetaprints.com – informational website about web-to-print
  • zetaprints.com – zetaprints web-to-print system
  • magento.zetaprints.com – zetaprints web-to-print portal used for a demo Magento website

New web-to-print portals

When a new customer registers for our web-to-print and dynamic imaging service, ZetaPrints creates a new virtual portal accessible via zetaprints.com. The customer can log in using the email address provided during the registration. ZetaPrints identifies who the customer is and shows the site as a standalone portal.

Custom domains

The primary purpose of putting web-to-print portals under custom domains is to identify which portal users want so see.

Identifying a portal by domain names

A customer web-to-print portal is like a standalone website. It needs a web address other than zetaprints.com to be identified. E.g. if www.my-print-shop.com has a DNS record as “www CNAME zetaprints.com” it tells the browser that www.my-print-shop.com is located at the same address as zetaprints.com, which is ZetaPrints web-to-print platform. At the same time, when the request comes in for www.my-print-shop.com ZetaPrints knows which portal the user wants to see.

Sub-domains

ZetaPrints is not a content management system. You probably already have a standalone www-my-print-shop.comwith information about your company and other features. In this case you can create a sub-domain, e.g. orders.my-print-shop.com or w2p.my-print-shop.com and point is at zetaprints.com via a CNAME record.

Configuring a domain

A domain name needs to be set up as a DNS CNAME record pointing at zetaprints.com. No other option will work. Do not use “hiding“, “cloaking“, “A“, “forwarding” or  “redirect“. They have a totally different purpose and won’t work in this situation.

Contact the support of your domain name registrar to set it up for you, if you don’t know where or how.

ZetaPrints cannot help you with configuring your DNS.

Activating custom domain

A domain name configured a CNAME record may take a few hours to become visible. Navigate to the domain to see if it’s visible. You should see a default ZetaPrints page with instructions on how to activate the domain name.

In this example we created orders.zetaprints.com

Log in with your web-to-print admin login and password. It will be the first time ZetaPrints encounters this domain name and will assign it to your web-to-print portal. From then on you need to use this custom domain name to access your web-to-print portal. Do not access it via zetaprints.com unless your domain name stops working.

Troubleshooting

We recommend using www.iptools.com website to check the DNS record. A correctly configured domain name should be similar to this example:

; <<>> DiG 9.3.4-P1.1 <<>> -t CNAME  magento.zetaprints.com
 ;; global options:  printcmd
 ;; Got answer:
 ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 51857
 ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 2, ADDITIONAL: 2

 ;; QUESTION SECTION:
 ;magento.zetaprints.com.		IN	CNAME

 ;; ANSWER SECTION:
 magento.zetaprints.com.	3600	IN	CNAME	zetaprints.com.

Contact your DNS support or find a qualified system administrator or a qualified programmer to help you with the configuration.

See also: