The term “custom domain” can be a confusing term to the average Joe. What is it? Why do I need a custom domain? How is this even related to my ChurchSpring site? We’ll get you up to speed on what a custom domain is and guide you step-by-step to updating your custom domain.
What is a Custom Domain?
A custom domain is the URL or website address where you can find your non-ChurchSpring website. For example, if you had a website before your ChurchSpring site, it’s probably the URL you type in to find your church website (yourchurchname.com).
A Custom Domain is like a street address for your house. You can have a street address (custom domain) but you also need your home at that street address (your website). If you still have your old church website “living” at your custom domain’s address, you need to push your new ChurchSpring site to instead live at that address.
ChurchSpring hosts your website but does not host your custom domain, which is why you still need your custom domain provider, or registrar. Commonly known custom domain providers are GoDaddy, NameCheap, or Google Domain.
Still with us? You’re doing great!
Fun Fact (at least for all the geeks out there!): All ChurchSpring sites first live on a subdomain (yourchurchname.churchspring.org). It’s a live site where you can update content in real time and direct visitors; however, we recommend you point your ChurchSpring site to your custom domain after you’ve updated it with your content. That way, members and new visitors can easily find your website and remember the URL! It’s also more professional and updated looking.
Ready to update your custom domain? Let's go!
Option 1: Contact Customer Support to update your Custom Domain for free
Don’t want to deal with updating your custom domain? We got you! We want your church website experience to be as stress-free as possible.Simply fill out this secure form with your registrar login information, and we’ll update your custom domain free of charge!
Not sure who your registrar, or custom domain provider, is? Go to WhoIs.net, type in your church URL (without the www), and look for your registrar name in the search results.
Questions? Send in a Support Ticket located in the Settings of your ChurchSpring website.
Option 2: (Advanced) Update your Custom Domain yourself
Step 1: Configure Your ChurchSpring Site
If you entered your custom domain at the time of signing up for your account, the first step to use your own domain name is complete—woohoo! The domain name you indicated during signup <yourchurch.com> has been set up on the ChurchSpring servers.
If you have not yet entered your custom domain or don’t remember if you updated it, follow these steps:
- Log in to your ChurchSpring website and click on Settings.
- Look for the field that says “Custom Domain”. Enter your custom domain information in that text box.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the "Save information" button. That’s it!
Step 2: Update Your Custom Domain’s DNS Records
This is the fun part! You’ll feel tech savvy and ready to take on the world. You must add one CNAME Record and two A Records via your domain name provider’s DNS records.
- Sign into your custom domain provider. Not sure who your domain name provider is? Type in your name at WhoIs.net to find your Registrar provider.
- Navigate to the DNS settings for that domain name
- Add a CNAME Record for the www to work for your custom domain: Create one CNAME record with www in the Name (or Host) Field and dns.churchspring.org in the Value Field (some registrars call this field *Points To or Data)
- Add two A Records: Both A Records will have the @ symbol in the Name (or Host) Field.
- A Record #1: Add 126.96.36.199 for the Value (Some registrars will call the value *Points To or Address)
- A Record #2: Add 188.8.131.52 for Value
- If your registrar is SiteGround: Place the custom domain (yourchurchname.com) in the Name field instead of @ for both A Records
- If your registrar is Google Domains: To create two A Records in Google Domains, add your first A Record for IP Address 184.108.40.206 and then click the + symbol next to your 220.127.116.11 A Record. A new text box with “IPv4” will appear—add the second IP Address (18.104.22.168) in this field and click Save,
- Make sure to remove any existing A Records that point to a previous IP address or a previous CNAME record with “www” in the Name field first or you may choose to simply update those records with your new values.
- Save the changes and you’re set!
- Once your custom domain DNS records are updated, an SSL certificate will be automatically issued by ChurchSpring. It may take 5-15 minutes for the SSL certificate to be issued after your custom domain has propagated, and you may see a security issue within that time frame. Please wait at least 1 hour for the certificate to be issued to your website before reaching out to Support.
Note: The changes you make to your domain DNS may not reflect right away. Usually changes to DNS take up to 6 hours to update.
Not sure how to add new Records in your registrar? Click your domain name provider below and follow the instructions to update the domain name
Not using one of these providers? No problem. If you have purchased your domain name from a different domain name provider, simply do a Google search for “[insert provider name] Update DNS Records” to view how-to articles for your specific provider or send in a Support Ticket to our Customer Support team, and we’ll help you out!
Step 3: Victory Dance
That’s it! Congrats, you did it!
- “Help! I just went through each step, but it’s still not updating.” Remember that the changes you make to the DNS records can take a few hours to apply. So if you haven't waited a few hours at least, you may just have to be patient to see your changes take place. Walk around the block a few times, write a sermon, learn how to use social media for your church. If you have waited more than 6 hours and your changes haven't taken place, contact your custom domain provider and ask for their assistance.
- “I put your IP Address for domain forwarding. That’s the same, right?” Simply put, no. You must add 1 CNAME Record and 2 A Records and that’s it! We know, it’s tempting to update all those empty fields. We want to tell your ChurchSpring website to appear on your custom domain not “mask” or pretend to be your website. If you’ve updated domain forwarding, this is your not-so-subtle hint to remove those additions. ;) Then, add in those Records in Step 2 above!
- "I don’t want to deal with this. ChurchSpring, can you do this for my church?” Yes, we can update your custom domain for free! If you want our team to take it off your hands, simply fill out this secure form with your registrar login information.
- “Is my site secure on my custom domain?” Yes! We issue an SSL Certificate for your site free of charge making every single page on your website secure (Don’t worry, the important pages on your site such as Settings and Give are already secure on your subdomain!).
- Bonus Tip: Tune into ChurchSpring Live, Episode 002 to learn how you can update your domain name or submit a domain update request to ChurchSpring Support. You can jump ahead to 50:30 in the video to see the live demo. Click here to see it in action.