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SocialGo and Custom Domains

Posted on | August 8, 2009 | 8 Comments

Do you plan on using SocialGo for your entire community? Do you want to brand it with your domain name?

Then you may have a few questions about how that is done. Or you may need clarification on what that all means. Well know you are not alone. This is a journey I also found myself on with a site I was creating.

It was my first exposure to SocialGo and I knew I wanted to use my domain name as I already had a reputation as well as I wanted the .socialgo.com suffix removed from the url. However, as I started that journey I seemed to have more questions then answers. I found the documentation a bit confusing and I was unclear as to the implications of my options.

So I began by laying out what I wanted to be able to do with my site in regards to the administration.

First and foremost I wanted the ability to have site specific emails like support@ or tammy@ and then the domain name.

Second, although I love the socialgo photo gallery, I didn’t want my product images or other site graphic visible in the photo gallery by the public or members. I only wanted them visible on the pages I determined.

Third, I have some downloads that were important for my visitors and at this time socialgo does not offer a way to upload them on the site.

With those 3 features as some of my requirements I investigated into how I achieved that and still use my domain name with SocialGo.

This is what I discovered. SocialGo only requires an ‘A-record’ change to your domain name to their IP. When I emailed the text from my SocialGo site seen below to my hosting service, they were able to help me understand what was really happening.

Custom Domain documentation on your SocialGo site

Custom Domain documentation on your SocialGo site

So what does that really mean? Well it means that your current hosting service can ‘redirect’ your url (http://www.yourdomain.com) to the SocialGo IP #, but keep the access to your server, email management through their service allowing you to ftp files, set up new email accounts, etc. using the root domain http://yourdomain.com (note there is no ‘www’ in front of the root domain).

In my case BlueHost has set this up as above and I can ftp product images to the root domain and upload my ebook download pdf to the root, then using a img code and a link code on my SocialGo site, display that image where I determine and the link to download my ebook.

In my opinion it is worth the $6.95/month hosting fee to have this flexibility. I really like my SocialGo sites and having my hosting service on the side make the package complete for me.

If you have any questions about ‘custom domains’ with SocialGo, please post them below and I will try to answer them for you.

Cheers,

Tammy

 

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Comments

8 Responses to “SocialGo and Custom Domains”

  1. James Martell
    August 10th, 2009 @ 11:04 pm

    Hi Tammy, thanks for the clarification on this. As you know I am about to switch my .socialgo version of my kit car site to my own domain name. This helps.

    Thanks,
    James

  2. Kelly Swaggerty
    August 12th, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

    Tammy,

    Thanks for the information.

    Can you give more details on how to get images to appear on SocialGo that are on the root directory?

    Thanks,
    Kelly

  3. admin
    August 12th, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

    Kelly,

    Glad it was helpful.

    Yes, I will do a tutorial on how and where to upload images for your site that will not be visible in your ‘photo gallery’ on SocialGo.

    Thanks for the idea.

    Cheers,
    Tammy

  4. admin
    August 12th, 2009 @ 10:06 pm

    Kelly,

    Here is the tutorial on adding images to your root directory.

    http://www.starburst-multimedia.socialgo.com/members/profile/1/video/46

    Cheers,
    Tammy

  5. Mike Martin
    August 14th, 2009 @ 2:07 pm

    Hi Tammy,

    Thanks for writing a great article on this. If there’s anything we can do to help regarding documentation on settings for custom domains, please let us know your thoughts.

    The reason why we wanted to do an A record and CNAME was so users can just type blahblah.com without the www’s to get to the site. Your method is a great way of being able to serve custom content from your own server.

    Do you think we should cover more advanced scenarios like yours in our documentation on the owners network?

    Thanks,

    Mike Martin

  6. Tammy
    August 15th, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

    Mike,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    First I would like to congratulate you and the rest of the SocialGo team for an outstanding product. I look forward to seeing it grow and expand.

    In regards to the custom domains, my initial confusion came from the direction to point the domain. Not understanding what the A-record was or how it relates to my domain caused me to think that my domain was going to be transferred to SocialGo. I hesitated and considered using a different (but similar) domain when I discovered that SocialGo would not allow me server access (something I completely understand).

    As you see above, I discovered that is not what it really meant.

    You are correct that having the A-record point to SocialGo does allow for the domain whether with www. or not to direct to the SocialGo site. That said, it may be helpful for some of your users to know that if they keep a small hosting package with the company they purchased the domain from, they can still use the ftp to host images, files and stand alone web pages that can be accessed using the domain without the www.

    Here is an example on the site that I was moving that started this path of discovery for me.

    I have had this domain live for just over 12 months so it was important to keep the domain name as it was and not use a variation http://www.ScrapbookersInnerCircle.com. As you can see it now goes to my community powered by SocialGo whether with the www or without. However I have an ebook that I offer for download and a promotion page that I did not want to change the access to due to the current traffic. It was a standard html page and is still accessible here http://scrapbookersinnercircle.com/Stylish-Scrapbook-Storage.html. (Note the www are not being used)

    I think there may be some value in SocialGo providing the owners with some more advanced scenarios. I know there have been a few of my customers, when they get to this point, that I have had to describe this to in detail so they don’t turn their back on the project. It is also important that they understand that to have this flexibility they will need to pay not only the SocialGo plan fee, but a small hosting fee.

    I know this scenario may not be SocialGo’s primary customer profile, but it is definitely a workable option for many in my circle.

    If you have any questions while developing additional documentation, don’t hesitate to ask.

  7. Johan Sandstrom
    September 2nd, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

    Tammy
    Thanks.
    With interest I am as of today [just discovered] your starburstmultimedia.com by search on Google and SocialGo’s keys….
    I will try to learn the intricacies of SocialGo as a CMS and intend to ‘Switch’ to…. I am already and presently with BlueHost.
    Thanks . Your info very useful.
    Johan

  8. Tammy
    September 3rd, 2009 @ 9:27 am

    Johan,

    Thanks for coming by. I have found SocialGo to be the best solution for those looking for a CMS without the technical headaches.

    SocialGo’s great team is quick to respond to any questions and that leaves me the time to do what I do best – develop content for my websites.

    Glad I could help.

    Cheers,
    Tammy