Custom Domains

Get rid of the samcart.com in the checkout page URL by using a custom domain!

Connecting your Domain to SamCart

SamCart gives you the freedom to connect a Custom Domain and discard the .samcart.com suffix on your checkout pages. You can use a Custom Domain for one page, a few of your pages, or all. You can also setup multiple Custom Domains within the same SamCart marketplace and use them for separate checkout pages.

Custom Domains require SSL security via Cloudflare. This ensures the security of your customers' data and keeps your checkout pages PCI compliant. There is a more detailed explanation about why Cloudflare is involved in the process at the bottom of the article in the FAQs if you would like to check it out! 

Step 1 - Get a registered domain 

If you don't already have a domain, you'll need to purchase one for your business. You can obtain a domain name from Google Domains, GoDaddy, Namecheap, or the domain registrar of your choosing. 

Once you have a registered domain, you are ready to move to Step 2! 

Step 2 - Getting Setup With Cloudflare

1. Register for a Cloudflare account by using your email and selecting a password.

2. Enter the Custom Domain you purchased from the domain registrar then select the Free plan and press the Confirm plan button to continue.

3. After confirming the plan, review your DNS records.  

If you are using a newly registered domain, you will not need to worry about what's on this screen. If you're using an existing domain, you'll want to double check that anything you previously had set up with your domain is still present. If anything is missing you can add it now or get it set up later. 

After you've verified everything looks good, press the Continue button to proceed. 

Essentially, what we are doing here is making Cloudflare your new domain’s DNS (Domain Name System). Any previous entries you had for your DNS will now be brought over and managed inside Cloudflare. 

4. The final step of the Cloudflare onboarding process is to change your nameservers over to the ones that Cloudflare provides you.

Cloudflare has many guides for changing nameservers with the most common domain registrars. Find your domain host on the list, then follow the instructions. Please contact your registrar if you have any questions. https://support.cloudflare.com/hc/en-us/articles/206455647

Step 3 - Setup a CNAME record inside Cloudflare DNS

Now that your domain is set up with Cloudflare, you'll need to setup a CNAME record that will point your domain to SamCart. 

The CNAME essentially sets up the subdomain for your custom domain. A subdomain being the portion of the URL before the domain. For example, "www" is a subdomain that will show as www.example.com. If "products" is the subdomain, it will show as products.example.com.

So now, go to the DNS tab on the top menu of the Cloudflare dashboard.

Then you will add a record based on the subdomain you would like to use.

If you are setting up a domain using www as the subdomain, Press the +Add record button and add the CNAME record as follows:

Type: CNAME

Name: www

Domain: custom.samcart.com

For "Domain" be sure to enter "custom.samcart.com" exactly, and NOT your own SamCart subdomain!

If you already have a CNAME record for www on the site brought over from your DNS you will receive an error stating "An A, AAAA or CNAME record already exists with that host. (Code: 81053)." You will need to locate the existing record in your Cloudflare list and remove it by clicking on the X at the end of the record. Then repeat the step above again.

If you would like to setup a different subdomain than www, press the +Add record button and add the CNAME record as follows:

Type: CNAME

Name: product

Domain: custom.samcart.com

For "Domain" be sure to enter "custom.samcart.com" exactly, and NOT your own SamCart subdomain!

This example uses product as the subdomain but it can be shop, checkout, or any subdomain of your choosing.

Once you've added your record, you'll need to make sure it's enabled. Records are enabled when the cloud with the arrow to the right appears orange underneath the Proxy status column: 

When the record is enabled, you are ready to move onto the next step.

Step 4 - Enable Full SSL

With your record all set up, the last thing you'll need to do is enable Full SSL for your domain.

Click on the SSL/TLS settings from the top menu. In the first section labeled "Overview" you'll want to select "Full" from menu. This will result in a certificate being issued which can take a bit before it's active. When the two green lock icons show the Browser and Origin Server connected to Cloudflare, this step is completed.

Step 5 - Add Your Custom Domain to SamCart

Now for the super easy part! After you've configured Cloudflare, you're ready to link your SamCart Products to a Custom Domain.

The required format for inserting a URL is subdomain.yoursite.com (i.e. www.example.com or checkout.example.com). 

Click the +Add New button, enter the Custom Domain, and select which Product you'd like to link the Custom Domain to. 

Click Save, and that's it! The Default Product you selected can now be accessed by your shiny new Custom Domain! 

Step 6 - Add a Custom Domain to Additional Products (optional)

After a Default Product has been selected in your SamCart Marketplace Settings, you can add additional Products to a Custom Domain by going to any product settings page and clicking the Advanced Settings tab:

 

Scroll down to the Advanced section, click Default Custom Domain, and select the Custom Domain you'd like to use for the Product. 

Once you save changes, go back to the Product Details tab, and the Checkout Page URL will now reflect the Custom Domain: 

Save your changes and you're done! 

Step 7 - Add your Custom Domain to Referral Links inside your Affiliate Center (optional)

Once the Custom Domain is connected to SamCart, you can use it for your referral link inside the Affiliate Center.

When you create or edit a Link, it will be available as an option in the Custom Domain dropdown.

When you add the Custom Domain to the Link, it will appear in your affiliate's dashboard like this: 

If you use a Custom Domain for the referral link, it will only track SamCart checkout pages that use that same Custom Domain as well. This is because the affiliate's tracking cookie uses the domain in the referral link. 

So, if you are using a Custom Domain for all your SamCart pages, be sure to use it on all the referral links. If you are not using a Custom Domain for your SamCart checkout, stick with the default URL for the referral link. 

Check out the chart below for examples.

For more information on the Affiliate Center, check out this support article. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I completed every step but my Custom Domain still is not working. What do I do? 

A: Keep in mind that some steps like changing over the nameservers or enabling SSL can take hours. We recommend waiting for about 24 hours to pass and checking over the steps above again. If there are still issues with connecting the custom domain after this time passes, reach out to SamCart support.

Q: Can I setup multiple CNAME records for one Custom Domain?

A: Yes. Repeat Steps 3-6 and you can create multiple subdomains with the same Custom Domain. 

Q: I already have shared my SamCart URL without a custom domain. If I add a custom domain, will users still land on my checkout page?

A: Yes! Adding a custom domain will not deactivate the checkout page URL with the Samcart suffix. If a user clicks a previous link, they will still land on your checkout page even if a custom domain has been added.

Q: I added the domain www.example.com but when the user is going to http://example.com  it is taking them to another page. How do I fix this?

A: If you want to redirect all non-www traffic (example.com) to (www.example.com) create a new CNAME record with example.com and point it to www.example.com. The record will look like this: 

Once you add that record, anyone who ends up on http://example.com will be redirected to www.example.com automatically.

Q: Why is Cloudflare involved in this setup?

A: SSL certificates are installed on web host where your website resides. If you already have an SSL certificate, that applies to your existing web hosting company where they install your SSL certificate on their server.

Cloudflare is the only service that allows the use of our own certificate on our servers while providing free SSL for your domain itself, as we can not install additional certificates on our servers.

Cloudflare will be just the name server and they do provide option (per domain record) to bypass their cloud and send traffic directly to your web hosting company. You just need to disable the cloud icon for each domain record not for use with SamCart.

In Cloudflare DNS page, we only need a CNAME that points to our custom URL for a custom domain URL that would be used with a SamCart checkout page. It can be the domain main URL (www.domain.com) or a sub domain (portal.domain.com).

B
Breanna is the author of this solution article.

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