When supporting multiple Brands -- or multiple divisions within a company -- on Hosted SmarterTrack it's generally a good idea to use custom domains for each
. For example, you can use support.your-brand.com, support.your-other-brand.com, help.yet-another-brand.com and more.
When you add a custom domain to your account, SmarterTools automatically creates an SSL certificate for each, installs it for the custom domain and manages the renewal of the cert. That means you don't need to purchase your own SSL certificate for use on our servers! (As an aside, SmarterTools leverages Let's Encrypt
for the automated SSL process, and SSL certificates are renewed every 60 days.)
Even though we take care of all of this for you, customers can encounter occasional issues with SSL. Generally, these issues occur at the very beginning of the process, when custom domains are added and getting set up. Below are a few things you can do to ensure the use of your custom domain and the implementation of the SSL certificate goes smoothly.
- Create your CNAME in DNS before you add your custom domain. Adding your CNAME first means that the DNS change can begin propagating, which ensures that once you DO add the custom domain to your account, and SmarterTools makes the necessary adjustments in IIS for your site, the custom domain will be ready to use relatively quickly. DNS propagation these days can take a very short time, but there still may be a delay before your custom domain is active. Therefore, adding it to your DNS first helps shorten that delay.
- Set an appropriate "Time To Live" (TTL) for the CNAME. Setting the TTL for your CNAME to a higher value can increase the delay in when the DNS change propagates throughout the web. A shorter TTL means that change will propagate faster. You can even set the TTL for your CNAME to a lower value initially, then raise it once the propagation takes effect.
- Make sure your CNAME is created properly. Misspellings, incorrect values, poor formatting and more can impact the availability of your new record. Therefore, make sure it's set up and conforms to the structure that's appropriate to your DNS provider. Each DNS provider has their own way of setting up DNS records, so be sure to review any help articles or documentation before you make any change. If you're using a managed DNS service, they can set up the record for you.