There are several ways to configure your DNS servers, and you'll have to decide which one works best for you. We think the first option is probably best for you unless you have atypical DNS requirements (discussed below).
Option 1: Let Us Manage Your DNS (RECOMMENDED)
We use Cloudflare as our DNS provider. Cloudflare is one of the largest and most innovative web infrastructure companies out there today. By letting us host your DNS servers with Cloudflare, you'll never have to deal with DNS configuration or server moves again. We will update your DNS settings for you. As we grow our platform to be more distributed, your site will be among the first to take advantage of the speed and reliability improvements. Cloudflare will also let your site domain look like site.com, which is better than www.site.com (more on this later). FInally, there is no extra charge for this service, so if you pay for DNS hosting right now, you could save some money.
The primary reason not to use this setup is if you change your DNS configuration a lot or need direct control to your DNS. When you use our nameservers, you will have to contact us to change your DNS settings. We are happy to make any changes you need and will handle all requests promptly, but if you edit your DNS settings regularly, you may prefer to make the changes yourself.
For most of you, we recommend this setup. Here's what you have to do:
- Add your domain to the custom domains list in your site's domain settings.
- Send an email to email@example.com to let us know that you want to use a custom domain name. Use the subject "Custom Domain" and include your site's name and the domain you want to use.
- We will copy your current DNS configuration into our system, so all of your existing services (e.g. email) keep working.
- Once the copy is done, we will notify you to switch your custom domain to our name servers. We can help you with this step, or do it for you if you'd like.
- That's it! After you switch to our nameservers, we'll take care of everything else.
Option 2: 3rd-Party DNS Provider + Root Domain
If you don't want us to manage your DNS for you, but still want to keep your custom domain clean and nice-looking (site.com vs www.site.com), you'll have to make sure that your DNS provider supports CNAME-like behavior at the root domain (also called bare, naked, or apex domain). Most providers do not support this because it is technically a mistake according to the DNS specification. A few providers have created technology that gets around this issue, or at least masks it. Unless your DNS provider explicitly says they support this, they probably don't. Even if they allow you to create a CNAME record for the root domain, that doesn't necessarily means that it will work correctly (it could mean that the provider is letting you shoot yourself in the foot by not validating things properly).
If you're sure your DNS provider supports this, you'll need to create two DNS records. The first record is the CNAME record for your root domain (some providers call this an ALIAS or ANAME record). It should point from your domain to usetopscore.com. The second record is a normal CNAME records that points from the www subdomain to your root domain.
Cloudflare does allow the shorter domain style, and there are a few other options. However, we recommend you only do this if you understand how DNS works and are comfortable doing your own DNS configuration. We can provide some assistance, but we are not familiar with the particulars of every DNS service.
Here's an example using Cloudflare:
Option 3: Stick With Your Current Provider (NOT RECOMMENDED)
Using your current DNS provider, you can create an A record for www.yoursite.com and point it at our external IP Address.
Choosing this option has multiple downsides:
- You will have to provide and pay for your own SSL certificate, and we will need to install it for you manually.
- You will not be able to use custom email domains for your mailing lists (e.g. your lists will be firstname.lastname@example.org instead of email@example.com).
We only recommend this if you absolutely need to retain control over your own DNS. If this is the only option for you, contact our support team so they can get you the correct external IP and verify the records are set up correctly.
Why Is All This Necessary
When you type yoursite.com into your browser, it needs to know how to find our service. The internet uses a system called DNS to figure out what server is in charge of hosting your website. There are two common ways to tell DNS how to find the server: A records and CNAME records. An A record says "the server is at this IP address". A CNAME record says "the server is at the same IP address as this other domain".
Our IP address can change at any moment without notice. When it changes, we will update our own DNS records so that our domain points to the correct IP. However, we cannot update your DNS records for you, and your domain will stop working if you're not set up for it.
CNAME records are great for this, because they will keep working if the underlying IP address changes. However, they cannot be used as the record for root domains (this is a limitation of the DNS protocol). In other words, www.yoursite.com can be a CNAME record, but yoursite.com (no www) cannot. Therefore, if you want to use your root domain with our service, you have to go through a DNS provider that explicitly supports this behavior (through some magic on their end).