Configuring External Domains in Pages

Setting up an external domain for your landing pages in Element451.

Ardis Kadiu avatar
Written by Ardis Kadiu
Updated over a week ago

Overview

All landing pages built in Pages are assigned a primary domain. This is a system generated by Element451 and can not be edited. They usually look something like this: 

  • fireuniversity-2155.page451.sites.451.io

While this URL is totally functional, it doesn't share the same institutional brand identity and trust as a URL ending in .edu. 

To that end, in Pages, you can configure external domains, allowing you to mask or hide the primary domain and use a URL ending in yourschool.edu.

Primary domains for Pages cannot be accessed by Google or other web crawlers. This prevents unbranded URLs from appearing in search results. Consequently, ad providers, including Google Ads, may not allow you to direct ads to the primary domain. To use landing pages in ads, configure an external domain for the page and use that external domain URL.

Accessing Domains in Pages

Navigate to Engagement > Pages > Domains.


Edit/Create CNAME Entries

Recommended Options

There are two recommended ways of configuring your CNAME entries for Pages to show a branded URL. CNAME entries will likely need to be edited by your IT or web development team(s). Learn more about CNAME entries.

Option 1: Create a CNAME entry for each new page to point to the primary domain URL. 


For example, by creating a CNAME entry that would point inquire.fire.edu to page451.sites.451.io, your inquiry form landing page could be reached by the user going to inquire.fire.edu.

Creating CNAME entries for each page allows the greatest flexibility in naming; however, it will likely require more frequent configuration from your intuitional IT or web development team as you create and deploy additional Pages. 


Option 2: Create a CNAME entry that includes a wildcard. This will allow a single CNAME entry to mask the primary domains on multiple Pages.  

For example, a CNAME entry could be created that points *.admissions.school.edu to page451.sites.451.io. Note the wildcard "*" at the start of the CNAME entry.

With this single CNAME entry, you can, on the fly, create additional landing pages and simply add external domains that conform to the proper naming convention. For the above entry, all of the domains listed below resolve without any additional CNAME entries being created: 

  • biology.admissions.fire.edu

  • inquire.admissions.fire.edu

  • waitlist.admissions.fire.edu

  • deadlines.admissions.fire.edu

How to configure an external domain for Pages

  1. Determine the custom URL (CNAME). Consider working with your campus marketing team to decide what would work best for your campus. Usually, schools choose CNAMEs/URLs for landing pages info.school.edu or admissions.school.edu, or if you have program-specific landing pages, biology.school.edu, psychology.school.edu, etc.

  2. Forward the information to your IT team.
    Forward the chosen URL (CNAME) to point to:

    • Landing pages CNAMEs should point to page451.sites.451.io.

    • Or, if setting up a wild card, *admissions.school.edu should point to page451.sites.451.io.

  3. Enter the chosen URL/CNAME under Domains in Element451. Once you have the URL/CNAMe pointed, edit your page in Element451 and enter the URL under Domains --> Add Host. If you are using a wildcard, for every page, you can directly add a domain replacing the "*" with a word of choice, followed by .admissions.school.edu


Click on Add Host

You can now send students to the custom URL for the page.

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