An Overview of Digital Edition Domains and URLs
Part of setting up a new collection includes choosing a domain where readers will be able to access your digital publication on the web. GTxcel will acquire and manage the domain you select as part of our basic service (option 1). For an additional fee, you may either transfer ownership (option 2) or allow GTxcel to use a domain you already own via CNAME (option 3). Each of these options is outlined in more detail below.
Each document that is converted will be available via a unique URL. The document URL structure is:
- The domain is typically something like www.collection-digital.com.
- The collection_path is how the collection is identified. This needs to be at least 5 characters long.
- The document_path identifies the specific document. You will have the opportunity to define this path when you create a new document via the Publisher Dashboard. Each document must be uniquely identified, e.g. by date or name of document. For example, If you have a seasonal document you would want to specify this as “spring2022” or “spring_2022” instead of just “spring.” Each document_path can only be used once.
Option 1: You pick a domain that GTxcel acquires and manages
You choose the domain you would like to use for your digital edition and we take care of the setup, as long as it is available for purchase and meets formatting guidelines.
Ideas for domains:
- www.collection.com (e.g. if the digital edition is the primary web property for your publication)
GTxcel can only acquire domains that are available for purchase, so please do not purchase the domain yourself. Check that your domain is available here: http://www.whois.com
Option 2: Transferring Ownership of an Existing Domain to GTxcel
If you already own the domain that you would like used for your digital edition, you may transfer that domain to GTxcel. Per ICANN rules, this can only be done after 60 days of initial purchase. To accomplish this, please provide contact information for the domain owner/admin to your GTxcel Customer Success Team Member to coordinate the transfer. Once complete, the domain will be set up as a GTxcel-owned domain.
*Should you choose to terminate your contract with GTxcel, ownership of this domain can be transferred back to you (upon request).
Option 3: CNAME Setup of Publisher-Owned Domain
Using a domain that you already own can be done with a “CNAME” solution.
Domain mapping is done using a canonical name or “name-to-name” mapping in DNS. The publisher owns and controls the master domain, and assigns a CNAME record which maps to a GTxcel-owned and controlled hostname. So, for example, a publisher’s site is collection.publisher.com and the site that is mapped to that publishers digital content is publisher.GTxcel.com, where the latter is owned by GTxcel. When the reader goes to a page on the publisher’s site they will continue to see the publisher’s name as the root URL, but the page, in fact, is mapped to the GTxcel site.
The DNS zone record for this setup would be as such: collection.publisher.com. in CNAME publisher.GTxcel.com.
*NOTE: This is an example only, not for use as an actual zone record.
Why a CNAME?
GTxcel does not support “ANAME” mapping where a customer maps to an IP address. This restricts our ability to move magazines to different machines in our hosting facility, as well as causing problems if you are experiencing problems with your site configuration. The CNAME removes those downsides.
Concerns and Considerations for CNAME Setup
There is additional troubleshooting which is not present with our standard domain set up. If readers complain of not having access, there is a question as to whether the owner of the domain’s DNS is having a problem or GTxcel is having a problem.
Also, if you decide to change your set up to convert to using a CNAME, then the tracking database will cut over to the new URL, and there will be a discontinuity between the old tracking data and the new data. This will essentially start tracking all over again. The old data will not be lost but it will not be contiguous with the new data after the cutover.
CNAME Setup Process
- You provide the hosting domain to GTxcel.
- GTxcel assigns a hostname and provides this information to you.
- You create your CNAME which maps to the GTxcel CNAME target.
- GTxcel tests the name and that it is working correctly.
- GTxcel then creates the CNAME target on our end and the CNAME mapping is complete.