When it’s time to set up staging for and eventually deploy your new website, you or your IT staff will need to make the change to your DNS. It’s important to understand that if Campus Suite does not already manage your DNS, then this change is made by you, and not Campus Suite.
If you do not manage your DNS yourself, you may need to put in a case, or “ticket,” with your provider to make the change. Once you have identified who and how the change will be made, you will need the information for what records need to be changed or added.
(Do you manage your own DNS? See below for more specific instructions about identifying and changing your site’s records.)
If you are an IT person and understand DNS, jump to heading below "Update your DNS"
If you are unfamiliar with DNS and need more specific information, continue reading.
Your website domain
Let’s first break down the parts of your domain.
A “naked” domain is simply yourDomain.org. (no www in front) The “www” in front would be called a sub-domain. You can have as many subdomains on your domain as you need.
Ex: You might also have mail.yourDomain.org, or even staff.yourDomain.org, each pointing to different IP addresses based on where those resources are located.
For your website deployment, let’s focus on the “www” subdomain. In DNS-speak, this “www” subdomain can be added as one of two types of records in your DNS. There is an “A” record type (that points directly to an IP address) and there is a “CNAME” record type (that points to an alias). Here is an example of both record types:
“A” record type:
www (points directly to an IP address, i.e. 188.8.131.52)
CNAME record type:
www (points to an alias, i.e. app.campussuite.com)
BOTH of these values would make www.yourDomain.org bring up your website.
Updating your DNS
For Staging domain:
Add a CNAME record and set the subdomain (or “host” field) to "staging" and add the alias (“points to”) app.campussuite.com
Update your DNS to put your Campus Suite website live
If your current “www” record is set up as an A record (that points to an IP address provided to you by your current website provider), it needs to be DELETED, and a new CNAME record created (using the value: app.campussuite.com)
We also ask that you set the TTL to 120 seconds at least 24 hours in advance of switch (this may also be found by editing DNS zone file)
If your current “www” record is already set up as a CNAME record (that points to an alias provided to you by your current website provider), you can simply modify this record, setting its new value to: app.campussuite.com. Ultimately, to point “www” to your new Campus Suite website, you need to use a CNAME record that points “www” to: app.campussuite.com.
Redirecting your 'naked domain'
Having done the above, we are still left with redirecting the “naked domain”. That is, if someone types in your domain without the www. For this, create an A record using @ (instead of www) and point this to IP: 184.108.40.206 - This is our redirect server… that redirects your naked domain to the CNAME.
Example of how your DNS zone file might look with the two records in it
If you need to keep your old website accessible when you new website deploys
Your DNS admin will need to create an additional A record.
The record should be named "oldwww" and pointed to the same IP address as your current website. Having this done ahead of time will make this more seamless on deployment day. The idea is is so that you can hit http://oldwww.yourDomain.org to continue to access your old site after the new one is responding to WWW.
Managing your own DNS
Many companies provide specific directions for adding CNAME and other records to your site. Here are a few…
G Suite (Google): https://support.google.com/a/answer/47283?hl=en
Network Solutions: http://www.networksolutions.com/support/cname-records-host-aliases/
(Or search “(Company name) add CNAME record to your DNS”)
Changes have been made to both your records and on the Campus Suite side, but the site still isn’t working? Here are some tips on checking how your system is functioning. NOTE: In order to assist, Campus Suite needs screenshots of each of these steps, in order to diagnose where the issue exists.
Click Start, run cmd.exe
Use the following commands:
Run ping WEB ADDRESS HERE (Ping will show if it's reachable)
nslookup WEB ADDRESS HERE (NSLookup will show if the dns change is working)
Use snipping tool to get screenshot of results; this is critical to allow Campus Suite to see how your new website is functioning.
Open Terminal application (typically found under Applications > Utilities)
Use the following commands:
ping WEB ADDRESS HERE (Ping will show if it's reachable)
dig WEB ADDRESS HERE (Dig will show if the dns change is working)
3. Use snipping tool to get screenshot of results; this is critical to allow Campus Suite to see how your new website is functioning.
Verifying your DNS setup
Network-Tools (http://network-tools.com/) is helpful in showing your active DNS setup, which allows us to help you understand what might be going wrong with your website.
Select “DNS Records (Advanced Tool)” from the left sidebar, and type your FULL website address into the box below. Screenshot the result from the center panel, and send it to us, along with your other testing info.
(Note: For re-testing, be sure to follow the above tip for flushing your DNS, in order to get accurate results.)
Campus Suite Tip
- Some windows users may need to flush their DNS in the event that they are not able to access sites that they should be able to. You can try flushing the DNS for your computer by doing the following;
- Click Start and select Search Programs & Files
- Enter CMD in the the search and press Enter
- In the command box type: ipconfig /flushdns and press Enter
- How do I clear my DNS cache?
- Accessing your website when your Active Directory domain matches your website domain
- Why do we use a CNAME record instead of IP address in your DNS?