How do I set up a Branded Short Domain?
HOW DO I SET UP A Branded Short Domain?
A Branded Short Domain is the domain that takes the place of "bit.ly" or “bitly.com” in a shortened URL. To start using a Branded Short Domain, follow these steps:
1) PURCHASE THE BRANDED SHORT DOMAIN YOU'D LIKE TO USE
Note: Your Branded Short Domain name needs to be 15 characters or less, including the dot.
2) CREATE A DNS RECORD FOR YOUR BRANDED SHORT DOMAIN.
The Domain Name System (DNS) is what allows a web browser to translate a domain to a website. You will need to tell DNS that your custom domain now should point to Bitly.
The way you update DNS varies depending on your domain registrar. In general, the process goes something like this:
Log into your domain registrar's website.
Select the Branded Short Domain you want to modify.
Find the section for managing DNS entries. The name of this section varies, but is usually something like ‘DNS Configuration, DNS Records, or Advanced DNS. Links to instructions for popular hosting providers can be found here.
For a domain:
Edit the existing A records for your site and change the IP addresses 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52. If there is one or no existing A Record, add new ones. The A Record’s host name should be either the character ‘@’ or your base domain (both mean the same thing). If you have additional A Records pointing to other IP addresses, remove all others and leave only the ones pointing to Bitly's IP addresses.
For a subdomain (such as on.wsj.com):
Set the CNAME Record for that subdomain to point to cname.bitly.com. When entering your subdomain, enter only the portion before the first dot. For example, with ‘on.wsj.com’ you would just type in ‘on’.
Note: In your DNS, you can also add a ‘www’ entry for your domain name, which you will point to 'cname.bitly.com'. For example, if your Branded Short Domain was 'fred.me' you'd point your CNAME Record for 'www.fred.me' to 'cname.bitly.com.'
3) TELL BITLY ABOUT YOUR DOMAIN.
Sign into Bitly and go to the Add Branded Short Domain section of Advanced Settings. Add your new Branded Short Domain into the text box and select the “Verify” button.
Only accounts with verified email addresses can setup Branded Short Domains. You can verify your account’s email address here.
Branded Short Domains set-up with on a free Bitly account are intended for personal and non-commercial use. If you're interested in setting up a Branded Short Domain for commercial purposes, you can learn more here.
If you are migrating short links from another platform, contact Bitly for options to import existing links.
It can take up to 24 hours for domain changes to propagate across the internet. You’ll know the DNS has been set up correctly one it is listed as valid in the Bitly Advanced Settings.
The email can say something like this:
Modifying DNS is the hardest part of this process because of the variation in registrar web sites and because of DNS's strange terminology. It may take some time and searching to find the right page. If you are stuck during this process we suggest emailing your domain registrar’s support team.
In order to point my domain [your domain here] to Bitly (http://bitly.com), a hosting service, I need to modify DNS to update my A and CNAME Records. Please let me know how I can do this through your domain management interface.
Note: A Records and CNAME Records are different from nameservers (such as ns1.godaddy.com), which Bitly does not provide. If you are being asked to enter a nameserver, please use the one provided by your registrar, which should allow you to set an A Record and/or CNAME from within your registrar’s dashboard.
If you have followed instructions but your Branded Short Domain is still not working try checking these things:
1. Have you waited up to 48 hours since you modified DNS? In some cases it can take that long before the DNS change fully takes effect.
2. Log in to your registrar's web site and confirm the A Records and/or CNAME Records you entered match the instructions above.
3. Verify your Branded Short Domain matches the one listed in the Bitly Advanced Settings.
4. If none of these steps work: if you added or changed CNAME Records, some registrars require that the CNAME value ends with a dot ‘.’. Try changing the values of your CNAME Records from ‘on.fred.me’ to ‘on.fred.me.’ (note the trailing dot).