Custom URL

When a client's initial Terra Dotta site is created, it will have a URL in the domain. For example: However, most clients wish to change this URL to something within their own institution's domain, for example:

Changing the URL to a custom URL is optional. If you do decide to use a custom URL for your Terra Dotta site, the exact name of the custom URL itself is up to you; we just need you to tell us what it will be. You may however need to get approval for this URL internally within your institution; check with your IT department for more information.

A custom URL must be a subdomain of your institution's main URL. This means the custom URL must be in the format of A URL such as is not supported.

Changing the URL of the site to a custom URL has two benefits:

  1. Marketing -- a custom URL is easier for your applicants and stakeholders to remember, so it is more effective than a generic URL when used on posters or other promotional materials.
  2. Perception -- A custom URL is another way to make it apparent that the site is associated with your institution.

However, there may be an additional cost to using a custom URL for the site, as Terra Dotta requires you provide us with a security certificate (SSL certificate) for the site. To be clear, Terra Dotta does not charge any additional fees for the custom URL; the potential extra cost is in purchasing the certificate itself. Depending on your institution's policies, your office may be required to pay for this certificate. The cost of the certificate (usually about $100 per year) is not out of reach for most offices, but please take note if this cost needs to be included in your budget. Terra Dotta does not sell SSL certificates; your institution's IT will usually have a preferred vendor, as well as more information about costs and policies regarding these certificates.

Please note Terra Dotta cannot accept "wildcard" SSL certificates. The SSL certificate provided must be for the exact custom URL of your Terra Dotta site.

Technical instructions

  1. Create the custom URL as a CNAME in your DNS, referencing the initial URL of your production site. Do not create an A record. Your Terra Dotta Implementation or Integration Specialist can confirm the URL of your site if you are unsure.
  2. Once your integration has begun, we will provide you with a CSR for the custom URL you have chosen.
  3. Use the CSR we provide to obtain the SSL certificate.
    • The SSL must not be a wildcard SSL
  4. provide the SSL certificate to us to install. You can send the certificate to us as an email attachment.
    • Provide the entire SSL certificate chain, including any root or intermediate certificates

After the custom URL is configured, any existing websites or pages that link to your Terra Dotta site will need to have their link URLs changed to the new URL. For that reason it's a good idea to wait until after configuring the custom URL to establish any links.