If your first thought was, “C-What?”, don’t worry! Your IT guy or gal is likely going to be pretty familiar with CNAMEs and how to set them up. You’ll only need to give them our suggested configuration and they can take it from there. However, if you happen to be an army of one, we’ll be happy to help you navigate the process.
A CNAME record, or Canonical Name Record, is just an alias domain name for a pre-existing website. This means that multiple domains can “point” to the same site.
OwnLocal's products are hosted separately from your publication's server. For this reason, we’re asking you to create a new subdomain that will act as an alias for your OwnLocal Platform site. To do this, you’ll need to set up a few CNAME records that point to OwnLocal’s servers. So, for example, if your publication’s domain name is www.yourdomain.com, then you would be creating the CNAME record “local”. The result is the subdomain local.yourdomain.com, which has your domain name in it, but displays your OwnLocal Platform site.
Why Does OwnLocal Use CNAMEs?
Search engines recognize that local newspapers are authorities on their respective communities. Therefore, newspaper sites tend to rank very highly in search engine results. This means that whenever your website links to another website, you help bolster their search engine performance. We set up our OwnLocal Platform on subdomains of your website in order to leverage this advantage to benefit your local advertisers.
So, How Do I Set Up CNAMEs?
In order to connect the OwnLocal Platform with your own domain (local.yourdomain.com), you must create CNAME records through your domain registrar or DNS host (wherever you bought your domain) and point them to OwnLocal’s servers. OwnLocal cannot access your accounts for you, and therefore we cannot point CNAMEs on your behalf. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy. Every registrar or host will be a little different, so we recommend checking out the unique CNAME tutorial provided by your DNS host. However, generally you’ll need to:
- Find the appropriate page to update DNS records for your domain
- Add a record
- Select a record type (CNAME or Alias)
- Fill in the “Host” or “Alias” field (with local, admin.local, or widget.local)
- Fill in the “Value” or “Destination” field (with local.ownlocal.com, admin.ownlocal.com, widget.ownlocal.com)
In most cases you will have control over when these CNAME changes go live. Under normal circumstances, we suggest setting changes to go live immediately, and then allowing up to 24 hours for changes to take effect. If CNAMEs are still not pointing correctly after that time, reach out to your Onboarding Specialist for next steps.
OwnLocal’s CNAME Configuration
Here is the recommended CNAME configuration that you’ll need to set up:
CNAME >>> POINTS TO
local >>> local.ownlocal.com
admin.local >>> admin.ownlocal.com
widget.local >>> widget.ownlocal.com
Here is a very basic view of what a common CNAME record may look like:
|Name / Host / Alias||Time To Live||Record Type||Value / Answer / Destination|
An A record, or Address Record, is just a handy way of locating the IP address of a computer that hosts a certain domain.
Why Does OwnLocal Use A Records?
You'll need to set up an A record in order to offer brochure sites to your advertisers. Fortunately, getting them set up is going to be super simple for your office web guru.
How to Set Up A Records
Step 1: Subdomain Set Up
Get your IT guy or gal. They’ll need to setup a subdomain off of your existing newspaper domain.
1. Log into your web hosting control panel.
2. Go to the Domains section and click on Subdomains.
3. Type in pages.YOURNEWSPAPERURL and select your newspaper’s domain to create it under.
4. For example, pages.lmtribune would be the subdomain under www.lmtribune.com
Step 2: A-RECORD Set Up
Keep your IT folks around for this one! They will need to point your new subdomain’s DNS A-Record to the following IP address → 188.8.131.52
A-Record >>> POINTS TO
pages.NEWSPAPERURL >>> 184.108.40.206
Important note! You only need to change the domain's A-record. Keep in mind that you don't need to change any nameservers, redirect or forward anything. You may need to wait up to 72 hours for the change to take effect.