Get Started: Host Your Hub on a Custom Domain

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When you make your Hub publicly available, you probably want it to be part of your website. To do that, use a custom domain.


 

What is a custom domain?

When you set up a brand new Hub, the default, co-branded domain usually looks something like this:

http://mycompany.uberflip.com

This is fine for testing, but of course it's your Hub, filled with your content. That means you'll probably want your customers and prospects to consume your Hub content on your own website — not Uberflip's.

To achieve this, you can replace the default domain with a custom domain. A custom domain allows you to cleanly integrate your Hub with your website by hosting it under a URL that is part of your website, for example resources.mycompany.com.

 

Why use a custom domain?

There are two main reasons to host your Hub on a custom domain:

SEO

Using a custom domain is good for your SEO. Having your Hub content be part of your website means that search engines will consider it your content instead of Uberflip's content. This can mean higher and more relevant search results for your content.

 

Aesthetics & branding

When you use a custom domain, anyone who visits your Hub will always see the domain you chose, no matter where in the Hub they go. They should never notice that the Hub is actually hosted on Uberflip's servers — from their perspective, it's all part of your website. All link references, email marketing and system notifications will reflect your domain. This allows your visitors to be entirely immersed in the content experience that you create.

 

How does a custom domain work?

Sounds great, right? But here's the challenge: Uberflip is SaaS, which means we host your Hub on our servers. Meanwhile, your website is hosted on your servers. They're in two different places.

So how do we solve this problem? The answer is that we use a little web trickery: we make it seem to your Hub's users like they're on your website, while the content they're seeing is actually coming from Uberflip's servers. This is totally transparent to your users — as far as they're concerned, they're still on your website.

There are two main ways to do this, depending on what you want your custom domain's URL to look like.

 

How do I use a custom domain with my Hub?

If you want to use a custom domain, you first have to choose what you want the URL for your Hub to look like. More specifically, you need to decide which part of the URL will refer to your Hub. You have two main options: subdomain or subdirectory.

To understand what this means, let's look at a simple URL:

Untitled_document_-_Google_Docs.png

As you can see, a basic URL consists of a protocol, a domain name and a path:

  • Within the domain name, each element separated by a period is a subdomain of the domain to its right. In the example URL above, resources is a subdomain of mycompany.com (and, in fact, mycompany is a subdomain of com).
  • The path is anything after the domain name, separated by a slash. It typically refers to a file or folder on the web server associated with the domain name. If it's a folder, it can also be called a subdirectory.

Here's how this applies to your Hub and its URL. Say your website's domain is mycompany.com, and you want to incorporate your Hub's URL into that domain under the label resources:

  • If you choose a URL based on a subdomain, it could look like this:

    Untitled_document_-_Google_Docs.png

  • Alternatively, if you choose a URL based on a subdirectory, it might look like this:

    Untitled_document_-_Google_Docs.png

So why does this distinction matter? Because the process for setting up a Hub on a subdomain is completely different than the process for a subdirectory, so your choice will determine how you proceed.

Finally, we should also mention that there's technically a third option: you can also choose to create an entire domain just for your Hub. For example, you could decide that you want your Hub to live under a URL like:

http://www.mycompanyhub.com/

 This option isn't very popular, because you usually already have a website that you want to integrate your Hub with — but it is a possibility. For setup purposes it's identical to the subdomain option, so if you want to go this route, proceed as if you're setting up your custom domain as a subdomain.

 

Which option should I choose?

It really depends on your preferences, and to a certain extent on how your website is set up.

In some ways, using a subdomain is the "default" option. It's much simpler from a technical standpoint, and is very easy to set up. We recommend this for most customers, as it should work no matter what your website hosting situation looks like.

Using a subdirectory is the advanced option. It's more technically complex to set up, and has certain prerequisites in terms of your website hosting configuration. However, using a subdirectory can offer SEO benefits compared to using a subdomain, because a Hub on a subdirectory of your primary domain will benefit from the existing SEO authority of that domain. In addition, some customers simply prefer the URL of a Hub on a subdirectory for aesthetic reasons.

If you're not sure which one to choose, understanding a little more about the requirements and setup process for each option might help you to make your decision. See the links below for detailed information on each one.

 

How do I set up a custom domain?

Ready to get started with setting up a custom domain? Learn how with these articles:

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