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Running Coursedog Under a Custom Domain

Table of Contents

Overview
How to Do It
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Overview

  • Coursedog can set up a vanity URL if an institution wants their public catalog or events page to be located at a school.edu website address for branding or search engine optimization purposes.

  • Coursedog can create one vanity URL for your public catalog product (or possibly two, i.e. a grad catalog and an undergrad catalog) and one for your public events website.

  • Vanity URLs will not change year to year; rather, the same vanity URL will be transferred to your current, public-facing catalog. 

  • If an institution wants public URLs for archived catalogs, create a PDF of that old catalog and link the PDF from an “Archived Catalogs” navigation link in their current catalog or accept a coursedog.com address for older catalogs. 

  • Custom domains are only supported for production instances of your Coursedog Events or Catalog on app.coursedog.com. They are not supported for staging or development instances on staging.coursedog.com and are not supported for Academic Scheduling or Curriculum Curriculum Management.

How to Do It

When Coursedog provides you with a catalog or events site, the site is accessed from a coursedog.com domain, e.g.yourschool-catalog.coursedog.com. If you want to use your own domain such as myschool.edu, you essentially need to do three things: 

  1. Decide what URL you want for your catalog or public event site.

  2. Add two CNAME entries to your DNS server.

  3. Stay in touch with your Coursedog Customer Success representative as outlined below.

 

Step 1: Determine a URL

  1. Decide on the URL you want for your production Coursedog catalog (e.g. catalog.yourschool.edu).

  2. Load the desired URL in your browser. If it comes back with “not found” and no page loads then we CAN PROCEED.

  3. If a page loads but you land on another URL other than the one you typed in, then examine the certificate for the page using https://www.digicert.com/help/. If you notice that the certificate has either a common name or alternative names that matches the desired URL, then we CANNOT PROCEED. You must choose another name. If it does not contain the desired URL then we CAN PROCEED.

  4. Tell your Coursedog Customer Success representative what the desired URL is.

 

Cannot Proceed Example

In the example below, the desired URL is spacefinder.jcu.edu, and it is listed in the Alternative Names section so it becomes a CANNOT PROCEED situation.

 

 

Step 2: Add CNAME Record to Your DNS Server

  • Since Coursedog catalogs are served over an encrypted https connection, we will generate, host, and serve an SSL certificate for the desired URL (i.e. catalog.yourschool.edu). This step involves adding a Coursedog AWS-generated CNAME record to your DNS that gives Coursedog the ability to generate the certificate for your desired URL.

  • Coursedog will provide you with a CNAME record in the following format that you will then add to your DNS: Domain Name,Record Name,Record Type,Record Value

  • You have 24 hours to add the CNAME from the moment it has been generated for you.

  • Once you've added the CNAME record, you must let Coursedog know immediately as we have limited time to generate the certificate.

 

Example CNAME Record

catalog.yourschool.edu,_xxxxxx.catalog.yourschool.edu.,CNAME,_yyyyyyyy.auiqqraehs.acm-validations.aws.

 

Step 3: Coursedog Generates an SSL Certificate for the Desired URL

This step is executed entirely by Coursedog and does not require your involvement. Once the CNAME entry outlined above has been added to your DNS, Coursedog will generate the certificate and install it on the catalog server.

 

Step 4: Update Your DNS Server to Point to the Custom Domain

  • Let's say your school website runs under www.yourschool.edu. You own the yourschool.edu domain name and probably control the DNS server that directs traffic to any domain under yourschool.edu.

  • Your DNS server will need to be updated to send requests for catalog.yourschool.edu to your Coursedog hosted catalog. This is done by adding a CNAME record (different from the one in step 2) to your DNS server. Think of a CNAME as an alias, one where we're telling anyone looking for catalog.yourschool.edu to actually get the catalog from coursedog.com.

  • CNAME records are common in the industry, for example, many companies use them to link their country specific domains to their .com address such as  mydomain.com.au and mydomain.co.nz both being aliases for mydomain.com.

  • Once DNS has been updated, it could take up to 48 hours for the DNS change to be fully available when accessing the custom domain.

  • Add a CNAME record like the following (note that you might not call it “catalog” or “events” – these are samples only. In other words, if instead of “catalog” you call it “calendar”, then adjust accordingly).

 

CNAME Examples

Host Name,Type,Destination

 

Catalog 

catalog.yourschool.edu.,CNAME,prod-public-catalog.us-east-2.elasticbeanstalk.com.

 

Public Events Site

events.yourschool.edu.,CNAME,prod-public-events.us-east-2.elasticbeanstalk.com.

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