Kartra Documentation TECHNICAL DOCUMENTATION

A bit of house cleaning before we start…

Before you go ahead and initiate an integration with your own domain, please note the following:

  1. The integration process is very simple, but there are some technicalities involved. Nothing to be scared of though! Just make sure to follow this guide step by step.
  2. While the actual configuration barely takes 5 minutes, it might take a few hours to be activated.
  3. If, upon initiating the Custom Domain integration, you don’t complete it within 24 hours, the system will revert the process and you will have to start the integration again.  This will show by removing/deleting the custom domain in Kartra.
  4. If you’re already hosting existing pages in your domain, or if it’s already integrated with another 3rd party app, be aware that all that existing content might cease to work. Once the integration is completed, Kartra will point your domain to your Kartra pages, membership portals, checkout pages, etc, so anything you might have previously hosted in your domain will likely not be accessible any more.
  5. That being said, you can remove the Kartra integration at any time.
  6. When you connect your domain to Kartra, we will automatically grant a secure SSL certificate to your domain so you can safely use it to host checkout pages. Regardless of whether your domain already has a SSL certificate or not, we will provide one for you.
  7. The entire Kartra network (as well as every integrated domain) is protected behind CloudFlare Enterprise, so you don’t need to connect your own CloudFlare account.
  8. One important thing to note is that this custom domain feature is a re-branding tool for your Kartra based URLs.  Though we do have options to help forward/redirect your users to your pages when the visit the primary URL, our system is not intended to fully replace a website and all the micromanaging you may be used to.

Root domain vs Sub-domain

The first step of the configuration process is to decide whether you want to point your Kartra integration (and thus your Kartra Pages, your Kartra checkouts, etc) to www.Domain.com or to SubDomain.Domain.com.

177

Some users might prefer to keep their different pages organized around subdomains. For example:

Imagine you sell different 3 products through your website, and thus your have 3 sales page and 3 checkout pages:

  • http://www.YourDomain.com/sales_product_1
  • http://www.YourDomain.com/sales_product_2
  • http://www.YourDomain.com/sales_product_3
  • http://www.YourDomain.com/checkout_product_1
  • http://www.YourDomain.com/checkout_product_2
  • http://www.YourDomain.com/checkout_product_3

Well, instead you might prefer to use a separate subdomain for your sales pages, and another one for your checkouts pages:

  • http://sales.YourDomain.com/product_1
  • http://sales.YourDomain.com/product_2
  • http://sales.YourDomain.com/product_3
  • http://checkout.YourDomain.com/product_1
  • http://checkout.YourDomain.com/product_2
  • http://checkout.YourDomain.com/product_3

It’s entirely optional, but some users argue that it helps keeping your site URL structure cleaner and, according to some experts, it yields some SEO benefits as well.

Point your CNAME record to Kartra

The CNAME is a record that has to be created in your domain registrar, which is the service managing your domain property and DNS. This CNAME record is what’s going to bind your domain with your Kartra account.

So, you will need to log into your domain registering service and create a new CNAME record. Every registrar has a different interface, so it’s difficult for us to navigate you from here, but chances are that you should see a “DNS Management” or “Domain Management” area when you log in. At any rate, if you ask their support team to show you how to create a CNAME record, they will definitely be able to point you in the right direction.

This new CNAME record needs to target your desired subdomain to username.kartra.com (replace “username” with your Kartra username). Alternatively, if you chose to integrate your main domain instead of using a subdomain, enter “www” as the subdomain.

Again, every domain registrar’s interface is different, but the following screenshot should illustrate most common cases:

4

  1. Type: select CNAME.
  2. Host: this will be either “www” or your desired subdomain, depending on which option you chose to integrate. If your desired custom domain is meant to be “sales.YourDomain.com“, then enter “sales“. If, in the other hand, it is meant to be “www.YourDomain.com“, then enter “www“.
  3. Target or Value: enter username.kartra.com (replace “username” with your Kartra username).
  4. Finally, use TTL, set to whatever automatic or default value they offer.

 

Note that if you might already have a CNAME configured for “www” or your desired subdomain – perhaps from a previous integration with another app like Kartra. In that case, you must delete it and create it anew. You cannot have two identical CNAMEs in order to avoid conflicts and malfunctions. Needless to say, the domain integration with your previous provider will stop working.

Forwarding your root domain

IMPORTANT: this step is ONLY required if you chose to integrate your Main (also known as Root) Domain. It is NOT needed if you’re only integrating a Subdomain.


If you’re integrating your Main Domain, Kartra will be effectively using “www” as a pseudo-subdomain. For that reason, we need to make sure that if someone types in their browser http://YourDomain.com, they’re indeed redirected to https://www.YourDomain.com.

This is called URL redirecting or URL forwarding, and your domain registrar is likely to also have this feature. Once again, if you ask their support team, they will point you where to find it in their interface. It should look, more less, as follows:

5

Note the following:

  1. Replace “YourDomain.com” with your actual domain.
  2. You don’t need to enter any subdomain, because we want to redirect the root (Main Domain) itself.
  3. You must enter the forwarding URL as https and www. It is irrelevant whether your domain doesn’t actually have a SSL secure certificate – Kartra will automatically provide it, which is why you must add the “s” in “https” (“s” stands for “secure”).
  4. The configuration must be set to Permanent Redirect (301) and Forward Path.
  5. Finally, not all domain providers support this type of redirect.  You will want to contact your domain provider’s support for details on formatting and use of their system.  The important goal of this step (that you may need to point out to external support teams) is to ensure users who go specifically to “http://yourDomain.com” are sent to the specific domain “https://www.yourDomain.com” and not some generalized or altered version of either.  And only the domain provider’s support will be able to confirm if this is possible.  If not possible then we would recommend to utilize our sub-domain options to avoid this entire step; you can then use standard page forwarding options for your primary URL to send to your sub-domain via the domain provider.

Waiting for activation

Once everything has been configured, you will see your domain in “Processing…” status.

6

Your new DNS configuration might take up to 24 hours to propagate through the whole internet. Kartra automatically checks every few minutes to verify whether the process has been completed, in which case the status will change to “Connected“. At this point, you’ll have the green lights to use your domain within Kartra in its full glory!

Editing your pages

Once your custom domain is activated, you just need to edit your individual Kartra Pages (or Memberships, Checkout pages, Video pages, etc.) in order to switch them from being hosted in Kartra to your domain.

When you publish a page, the system will prompt the default Kartra-hosted link. Simply click on the EDIT button to modify it:

8

 

Finally, select your domain in the dropdown, type your desired page name, and click the SAVE button. So, in the example below, the page will be hosted at https://YourDomain.com/sales:

10

GoDaddy users*

As GoDaddy’s interface is quite unique and does not quite work like all the other domain hosting companies, we’ve prepared a separate article to cover GoDaddy users. If  you’re not a GoDaddy user, you can ignore this particular article and go back to our standard Custom Domain integration articles.

 

Before we begin, so you know where we are going…

We want to take a moment to go over some details if you happen to be using GoDaddy as your primary domain provider.

There will be a lot to unpack here as GoDaddy is very unique in how their system runs compared to most domain providers.  If you use our generic instructions for custom domains, then you will see the following behavior:

  • https://yourDomain.com – Won’t work
  • http://yourDomain.com – Won’t work
  • yourDomain.com – Won’t work
  • https://www.yourDomain.com – Works
  • http://www.yourDomain.com – Works
  • www.yourDomain.com – Works

This is because the step shown here: https://documentation.kartra.com/forward-yourdomain-com-to-www-yourdomain-com/  cannot be executed via the interface of GoDaddy as they don’t allow a “blank” field to be located in the forward setup.

So what can you do to fix this? Well we do have a workaround but even that will not be ideal as it will have the following result:

  • https://yourDomain.com – Won’t work
  • http://yourDomain.com –Works
  • yourDomain.com –Works
  • https://www.yourDomain.com –Won’t work
  • http://www.yourDomain.com – Works
  • www.yourDomain.com – Works

Now at this point you may have noticed anything with https is not working, this is because we are using a forward to redirect customers to the actually secured website and the URL itself cannot be secured by definition.  The take away is that the URL will function as it does above but despite that you can be assured the content itself once they get forwarded will be secure.  One last thing, if you use forward with masking then it will show as not secure while a forward without masking will show as secure.

 

You want to use the classic method?

So after all of this, we are not left with a completely ideal solution.  This is due to the odd nature of GoDaddy’s interface and there is nothing on our end we can do about it.  So how you proceed here is really up to you.  You can use either of the options I mentioned above or you can try a different domain provider where our generic instructions will work as expected.  What decision you make is entirely up to you.

But lets say you want to use our classic method and get the following settings:

  • https://yourDomain.com – Won’t work
  • http://yourDomain.com – Won’t work
  • yourDomain.com – Won’t work
  • https://www.yourDomain.com – Works
  • http://www.yourDomain.com – Works
  • www.yourDomain.com – Works

You will want to go here: https://documentation.kartra.com/category/custom-domains/ and follow all our instructions EXCLUDING the section on setting up a forward.  As this feature does not work in GoDaddy and you would merely want to setup the CNAME only.

For those who want to utilize our workaround, follow the instructions in the sections below.

 

How to set up a domain with GoDaddy (using our workaround)

We will now cover the work around that will yield the following behaviors:

  • https://yourDomain.com – Won’t work
  • http://yourDomain.com –Works
  • yourDomain.com –Works
  • https://www.yourDomain.com –Won’t work
  • http://www.yourDomain.com – Works
  • www.yourDomain.com – Works

From these instructions, you will want to use a subdomain option in Kartra. Domain Names do not work correctly with GoDaddy, but we will cover a remedy for that in the instructions below. In the end you will have two major steps that must be done on GoDaddy.

  • Step 1 ) Add A CName
  • Step 2) Setting up Your Forward.

The second step is very important for your GoDaddy domain to work properly.

Afterwards you will need to go back to Kartra to:

  • Confirm Kartra Index and 404 Pages
  • Set up your domain on Pages, memberships, video pages, and more

 

Steps Inside GoDaddy:

1 . Add a CNAME to Your Subdomain Domain

    • Visit  “Add a CNAME Record” for GoDaddy’s instructions on how to add a CNAME record.
    • In the “Type” drop-down menu, select “CNAME”
    • In the “Host” field, enter the subdomain to which the CNAME applies
      • For example, you’d enter “sales” if you’re using “sales.mysite.com” or “pages” for “pages.mydomain.com”
      • Reminder only your subdomain will work.
    • In the “Points To” field, enter “YOURID.kartra.com “
    • Leave the “TTL” field as “1 Hour”
    • Click Save to update the changes you’ve made

Changes can take up to 48 hours to propagate, but when your domain is ready to be used, it will be marked in your Kartra account as “Connected” under your Custom Domains

2 . Setting Up Your Domain Forward:

If you want your whole domain to go to Kartra, you will need to do the following in GoDaddy.

Set up DNS

    • Click “Manage DNS”
    • Scroll down to the Forwarding section and select your domain name (domain.com)

Set up the Forward

    • Under “Forward to” (Marked #1 Below) select: https://
    • Enter the URL (pages.mydomain.com) that you want to forward your domain to.
    • Select your “Forward type”: “Permanent (301)” (Marked #2 Below)
    • Select your “Settings”: “Forward only:” (Marked #3 Below) or “Forward with masking”.  Just be mindful that masking will remove the complex URLs and replace them with your primary domain, but it will not show as secured (even though it is).

NOTE: The “FORWARD TO” option must be HTTPS.
To automatically update your nameservers to accommodate your forwarding changes, check “Update my DNS setting to support this change.” and click Save.

Forward 01

Note: That the word “pages” here is just a placeholder and you can use any word you wish when making the sub-domain.

 

Steps Inside Kartra

1 . Confirm Your Index and 404 Pages

This part of the process is the same for all domain registrars, next you want to confirm your Custom Domain settings in Kartra.  Go to your profile then Custom Domains, click edit.

From here you will set up an Index page, which is the first page of your domain. And choose an error page which is also called a 404 (not found) page.

You can use external or you can choose a page you’ve created on Kartra.

NOTE: You can not use an external page that is the same domain as what you have used for Kartra. This will create a infinite loop.

Additional NOTE: In our image examples we use the domain “www.Katiekartra.com” and the username Katiekartra, this is merely an example of a domain and Kartra username, which can be any custom domain and username created by the Kartra user such as “www.bobsbarginbin.com”. The word Kartra is not required in either the domain or username of the user and we even recommend you don’t use the word Kartra except during the setup of the CNAME record where you must utilize “username.kartra.com”; where you replace username with your Kartra username. Also, they don’t have to be the same, as your domain and username can be different.

2 . Set up your Kartra Pages

You can choose to have more that one domain connected to Kartra, or may choose to use your Kartra based link. Thus you will need to set up the domain name for each page (membership etc). For each that you want changed as adding a custom domain will not apply to all your content, go to Pages, choose “Get Link” then the pencil, so you can edit and choose which domain you want to use (Marked #1 Below)

Rename (Marked #2 Below) and Save (marked #3 Below).

You can also do this with any other content with similar link options (such as memberships, calendars, helpdesks, and etc.)

© 2020 Kartra All Rights Reserved