If you own a domain not registered with Squarespace, domain mapping allows you to link it with your website by changing a few settings within its provider account.
Once your domain is connected, a panel will appear that contains all the records you should create in your provider’s DNS settings for correct website and email functioning. This guide will walk you through how to add these records for optimal operation of both.
1. Use a Host Name
When connecting a third-party domain to your Squarespace site, it’s vital that a host name be established. This ensures your emails and content are correctly identified without being mistaken as spam by mail providers. Luckily, this process can be accomplished easily.
Before beginning, first ensure your domain points in the right direction by checking its DNS records in Squarespace’s dashboard – this may take up to 72 hours for updates to take effect.
Select the domain you’d like to check from the Domains panel, this will open a new panel displaying current record settings; its Status field will reveal whether or not Flywheel is linked with it – something you are searching for.
If a record with green status indicates it has successfully been pointed to Flywheel, simply visit your domain’s DNS records on Squarespace’s dashboard to confirm whether its status remains unpointed or whether it has changed to “Pointed.”
Log into the control panel for your domain host and open its DNS settings for the domain you wish to add a host name for. In the Host field, type @ and remove www from its end; for Data field enter website’s name (make sure gray placeholder values have been replaced if saving doesn’t occur automatically).
Once you’ve added this host record, it will show up in your DNS settings on Squarespace dashboard within 72 hours – so be sure to do this well in advance of launching your website or sending any marketing emails.
Brad Good’s team often receives inquiries from customers asking how to connect their third-party domains to Squarespace websites, with similar answers being given for every domain type used. The best course of action depends on what domain type is being utilized.
Transferring a generic top-level domain (gTLD) to Squarespace can be the simplest option available to you. Simply follow your domain registrar’s specific instructions – many provide helpful guides in their help center pages such as GoDaddy which makes this step straightforward and seamless.
2. Use a Subdomain
If you use a subdomain, be sure to set it up with an SSL certificate – this ensures any mobile traffic will be encrypted when accessing your site from mobile devices. Squarespace makes this straightforward process.
If your domain is already associated with another site, use a DNS record called CNAME to point it at Squarespace instead. This is the easiest way of linking third-party domains without disrupting email service or changing nameservers.
Create subdirectories instead of using subdomains if your website goals better suit a certain area. For instance, pet adoption agencies could set up subdirectories for each animal they offer so as to optimize each page towards reaching that specific goal and signal to Google that these pages belong together.
Cons: Subdirectories can require more work to keep each page optimized for SEO. While not impossible, you will have to check each new page added as they arrive to ensure its permalink and URL are optimized. While larger websites with multiple authors might make this easier than small teams with only one author on board.
Squarespace provides some powerful SEO tools within its platform; however, for advanced features that may not be readily available within Squarespace you might wish to explore other solutions – for instance WordPress with custom domain may provide additional options but this process may prove more complex than expected.
If you need assistance choosing between forwarding, pointing and moving a custom domain, consult this guide from Brad Good at BradGoodTech for guidance. It outlines the differences between forwarding, pointing and moving so you can determine which method best meets your needs. You will also gain an understanding of setting up DKIM and SPF records which help prevent spammers from impersonating your site.
3. Use a MX Record
If your website uses Squarespace email (formerly Google Workspace), MX records are essential in enabling it to send and receive emails successfully. MX records serve as DNS (Domain Name System) entries which inform servers where your site is hosted as well as which mail server handles incoming messages – without properly functioning MX records, no one would be able to send or receive mail messages through your domain name.
Once an MX record has been added to your domain, it is critical that its preference value be set correctly. This will dictate which server will be utilized first in order to ensure email arrives at its intended destination on time. Priority values range from 0-255; lower numbers indicate higher priority; for instance a server with priority of 255 has greater preference over one with priority of 2, as an example.
To add an MX record to your Squarespace domain, first navigate to its DNS settings in the Domains panel and then to its Advanced settings menu in order to select an MX record type – as soon as you’ve done this click Save in order to save.
Make sure that you also create a backup MX record, should your primary one become compromised for any reason. This can be added by following the same process.
Brad Good and his team have been providing businesses with effective branding and marketing for more than 15 years, from developing strategic online marketing plans, website redesign services or helping to connect their Squarespace domain to email providers – the Brad Good team can assist!
As part of our free consultation service, we can help you get started and address any queries or needs you may have. For additional support, connect with us using live chat or schedule a time with one of our specialists from our calendar.
4. Use a TXT Record
TXT records store text-based data associated with domains. TXT records are typically required for domain ownership verification; however, they can also serve other purposes, including email authentication and anti-spoofing measures such as SPF or DKIM information for authentication and anti-spoofing measures. Google Workspace or G Suite email providers may require TXT records in order to verify your domain. To create one in Squarespace account simply navigate to Domains page of domain in question then DNS settings -> TXT record and select it from Type drop-down menu while in Data field enter DKIM or SPF values which start with either v=spf1 or d=spf1 values beginning with either v=spf1 or d=spf1 respectively from email provider into Data field which starts with V=SPF1 or D=spf1 values starting with V=SPF1 or D=SPF1.
Note: Before creating a TXT record to connect to a third-party service, make sure that any existing MX records from that domain have been deleted as any remaining ones can cause email delivery problems and prevent these services from working as they should.
Metadata is essential to SEO, so it is imperative that any metadata pertaining to pages, products, images, events and blog posts migrated during a site migration. Unfortunately it’s easy to forget this step in migration which could negatively affect SEO rankings; additionally if your metadata exceeds Squarespace’s character limits (80 characters for tags and 25 for categories), they could get cut off prematurely, leading to reduced search engine rankings.
Before connecting a new domain to Squarespace, be sure to delete any MX records associated with previous email providers, or they could conflict with our mail servers and stop your emails from reaching their intended destinations. When adding new MX records, include both priority numbers from providers in Priority field as well as mail server address in Value field; remove periods from Value field because our system cannot save records formatted this way and click Save once done.