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How to add a custom domain on Ghost CMS without killing your emails

You can use a custom domain in different ways on Ghost. However, beware when using the root domain.
How to add custom domain without killing emails on Ghost.

Adding a custom domain on Ghost is the most complex task if you use managed hosting. And this is a blessing, trust me.

It's a blessing because managed hosting takes a lot of work from your plate, and adding a custom domain isn't hard.

Yet, you can add the custom domain with success but mess up the emails for the domain.

Yes, you might not receive emails after adding a custom domain if you make the same mistake I did.

So, let's see how you can add the custom domain without running into problems.

Affiliate Disclaimer: Some links are affiliates. This means that if you buy after clicking on one of those, I get a commission at no additional cost for you.

How to add a custom domain on Ghost

See Ghost's documentation on how to add custom domains here. They explain the different methods.

In short, there 3 ways to add a custom domain:

  • Root domain: Example, yourdomain.com;
  • www subdomain. Example, www.yourdomain.com;
  • Non-www subdomain: Example, blog.yourdomain.com;

To activate the custom domain, you need to change the DNS settings of your domain. In the link above, you can see examples of DNS records for Ghost (Pro).

It's easy. You need to add 2 records in the settings. Let me show you how to do this in cPanel. Don't worry if you use another method; the process is the same.

First, find your domain and press "Manage".

Click on "Manage" to change the DNS settings of your domain on cPanel.
Go to Zone Editor and click on "Manage"

Then it's time to add 2 records: CNAME and A.

Also important to note the following Name/ Host:

  • Www means the www subdomain;
  • @ means the root domain;

This is like a shortcut, so you don't have to type the domain name.

For the www subdomain, add the following records:

Record Type Name/ Host Value/ Record
CNAME www yourdomain.com
A @ The IP address your host company tells you

Name or Host has the same meaning. And Value or Record is also the same. Different companies call them different names, so I included both on the table to avoid you getting lost.

DNS A records for The Stack Junction website.
My hosting company asked for 2 A records. So make sure to double-check this article vs your host's instructions

Also, you can use any registrar of your preference. Even Cloudflare is a viable option!

However, if you want to use the root domain, you must use a registrar with ALIAS in the DNS settings.

Keep reading to learn how.

How to use root domain without running into problems

If you want to use the root domain (yourdomain.com), you should use Namecheap.

Namecheap is one of the few, if not the only, registrar that offers ALIAS for DNS records.

This ALIAS is required for using Ghost CMS on your root domain without putting your email addresses at risk.

So, the process goes like this:

Record Type Name/ Host Value/ Record
ALIAS @ yourdomain.com
A www The IP address your host company tells you

Check Ghost's documentation for Namecheap here.

If you use the ALIAS record, you'll be fine and keep your email working.

Final considerations

Ghost allows you to use a custom domain in different ways. And it's up to your preference to pick one.

However, if you want to use a root domain, please do yourself a favor and use ALIAS in the DNS records. Namecheap should be your registrar of choice for that.

Don't do it as I did. It took many hours to find the source of the problem that was killing my emails on Ghost: not using an ALIAS record.

So, now you know.

If you want to use Ghost, I recommend using managed hosting for several reasons. The main one is not worrying about technical stuff. You can read more about the differences between managed hosting and self-hosting here.

This article is part of the series where I help you to use and optimize Ghost CMS. And if you want to use Ghost, please consider using my affiliate link below.

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