With an Individual plan and above, you can use a custom domain name (a custom URL) to mask your Atavist subdomain with a CNAME (a Canonical Name). This is a great option for individuals and publishers who don’t want “Atavist” to appear in their URL, and instead want it to be something of their own design.
You can edit your subdomain, at any time, on the Info page:
You will also see the option to use a custom domain. Turn on that radio button, and then follow the steps below.
1) Purchase your domain name.
You must have a domain name registered to use a custom domain with Atavist. Skip this step if you have one already! But if you need to register a new domain name, use a registrar like Gandi or GoDaddy to purchase a domain name.
2) Edit the DNS settings.
The first steps all take place within the domain registrar; we’ll get back to Atavist in a few steps. Login to your domain name registrar, and find the DNS settings for the domain name you would like to use. Then, click to edit the DNS settings.
Note: Different registrars will have slightly different set-ups at this stage, so we do recommend checking out their Help Docs as well, to make sure everything is going well. For example, Gandi and GoDaddy both have detailed instructions.
3) Create a new DNS record, with the type set to CNAME.
Click “add” or “new” in the registrar, and you’re going to create a new DNS record, with the type set to CNAME.
4) Set the “name” of the CNAME record.
For example: If you own test.com, you might set the “name” to mysubdomain.test.com. Or, if you want all of your “www” traffic redirected, use www.test.com as your name.
Note: at this time, we don’t support “A” DNS records, e.g.test.com.
5)Set the “value” of the CNAME record to "yoursubdomain.atavist.com"
Take the subdomain you have set on the Info page, and set that as the value. It will look something like “yoursubdomain.atavist.com” or “docs.atavist.com” or “myprojects.atavist.com.”
It’s important to note that this URL will be your homepage URL, not a project URL. For example I would use my homepage link, “docs.atavist.com,” in this case, and not my project link, “docs.atavist.com/cname.”
6) Enter the custom domain on the Info page.
In your Atavist account, set the Custom Domain Name on the Info page. Add the full URL that will redirect to your Atavist account (e.g., subdomain.yourdomain.com) and hit save.
7) …wait a little while.
Domain name settings may take several hours to take effect, while the new domain name setting propagates across the internet.
In short, in order to protect your customer’s credit card data, we require all “for sale” stories use one of our secure URLs, which is a URL with Atavist in it, e.g. “youraccount.atavist.com/yourstory.” When a user visits the URL for a “for sale” story at a custom domain URL, like “stories.yourcustomurl.com/yourstory,” they will be automatically redirected to the Atavist version of the link, “youraccount.atavist.com/yourstory.”
To explain: we do this because SSL, the technology used to secure connections in the browser, is finicky about domain names. When a browser makes a secure connection to one of our servers, the mechanics of that connection stipulate that the domain name requested matches the domain name on the SSL certificate. The institutions that administer SSL certificates (called “Certificate Authorities”) require that each SSL certificate be specific to the domain name in question. And to complicate things further, because of the way that we scale our servers to handle larger amounts of traffic, adding a new secure domain is a time-intensive process, where we spin up a new server that’s dedicated solely to handling secure connections to the browser for every secure domain we serve.
If you are interested in serving your “for sale” stories securely with your custom URL, we do have a yearly service where we can serve your pages securely using our servers. This service requires that you purchase an SSL certificate.