Hosted and SaaS customers have the option of providing a host name from their own institutional domain to serve as the URL for their Terra Dotta-hosted website.
You may also choose to certify your proprietary host name with an SSL certificate so that the secure website (portions where users must log in to access) has the same host name as the public areas. Note that your hosted site is automatically secured when installed using a Terra Dotta SSL host name and certificate (e.g., https://university.terradotta.com). You are welcome to use this configuration for as long as you wish at no additional cost.
Note that Hosted and SaaS customers do not have the option of a site URL that uses a subpath/subdirectory of the institutional domain name. For example:
However, your web administrator should be able to set up those URLs to redirect users to the Terra Dotta application website.
This change can be made at any time, during or after initial site development or even following site launch.
- If the site URL is to be changed after public site launch, then any links to the site will need to be updated if the URL has already been distributed.
- If the host name to be used is the name of an existing website, then the DNS change will take time to propagate after the cutover. See special instructions below.*
- You should make plans for any DNS and/or SSL changes to your website at least a few weeks before launch to ensure adequate time to negotiate, provision and implement the settings.
The following instructions should be provided to the network administrators who manage DNS for the institutional domain.
The procedure entails the creation of a CNAME record in DNS, aliasing a Terra Dotta host name. Unless you are given other instruction, the CNAME should reference the host name you received provisionally during initial site development (e.g., myuniversity.terradotta.com, myuniversity.applicationgateway.com, myuniversity.terradotta.com, etc.). This is called the intermediary host name. (Network admins: please do not point DNS entries to the 'A' records/machine-host names for these intermediary names. For example, if myuniversity.terradotta.com responds to pings as tiana82.terradotta.com, do not create your CNAME to alias tiana82.terradotta.com. Only use myuniversity.terradotta.com. This is to facilitate a seamless transition in the event of hardware or IP address changes on Terra Dotta's side.)
After making the DNS change, create a support case requesting "Enable host name for hosted site." In the case, provide the following information:
- The host name to be used.
- Date/time (past or future) when added to DNS.
- SSL certificate installation request, if desired.
Our support engineers will respond to let you know when the site has been updated with the new host name and the CSR (certificate request).
After a new DNS host name is configured for your site, any other 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 host name to establish any links. Note, however, that the default host name under the Terra Dotta domain (e.g. terradotta.com) will remain in place.
If the hostname change is to happen in the future, for an existing URL that will be redesignated to the Terra Dotta server, be sure to note this in the case, requesting that Terra Dotta engineers verify the configuration in advance of the production cutover. See the following instructions for more detail:
Special instructions for preexisting web host names to be reassigned to the Terra Dotta server:
If you wish to use the same host name for your new Terra Dotta site as the one that you're using for your current site, it is important to understand that the transition will not be instantaneous and simultaneous for all site visitors. Due to the nature of DNS and different client browsers configurations, changes to DNS entries may take a few days to fully make their way (propagate) throughout the internet and into the systems of all site visitors.
This being the case, the most effective procedure to follow to ensure the most seamless transition is the following:
http://university.terradotta.com/ is the provisional site host name during initial site implementation, and
http://oip.university.edu/ is the existing host name that you will be changing to point to the Terra Dotta server.
1. Notify Terra Dotta of the intended change at least a week in advance and provide the cutover date.
2. Provide these instructions (and all of the above) to your campus IT Services.
3. Terra Dotta will preconfigure your site to accept traffic at oip.university.edu, but will not change the host name settings for login (Auth Host Domain). This will ensure that people can reach your site at the new URL as soon as their DNS updates.
4. IT Services should keep your old site active for about a week or so with temporary measures such as:
place a redirect to http://university.terradotta.com/ to ensure access for users whose DNS has not updated
place a message about the site change with a link tohttp://university.terradotta.com/.
5. Cutover takes place, and all users going to http://oip.university.edu/ will be able to reach the new Terra Dotta site either by proper DNS routing or by redirect. However, the portions of the site requiring login will still temporarily use https://university.terradotta.com/.
6. After about 1 week, if an SSL certificate has been provided, Terra Dotta will install the certificate and change the settings of the site to use https://oip.university.edu/ for the secured portions of the site. This should allow adequate time for all site visitors' DNS to update with the new address of the site.
If no SSL certificate is to be provided, then visitors will continue to use https://university.terradotta.com/ in secured areas of the site.
FINAL NOTE: Terra Dotta will continue to maintain a DNS host record for all Hosted and SaaS accounts based on a Terra Dotta domain name in order to manage server IP addresses. Unless explicitly requested, we will also maintain the original host header in IIS as an available addressable URL for the website. This is to permit continuity with early-stage site configuration such as scheduled tasks and direct links that may be set up during implementation. Removal of the IIS host definition for the Terra Dotta domain name is not recommended. Doing so requires some reconfiguration and may result in unexpected behaviors.