Custom domain setup

Custom domains are only available to paid plans (see Functionality by billing plan).

When you create a Wild Apricot account, you are provided with a free website address. If you already have your own custom domain address, you can use your custom domain name in place of your free Wild Apricot address. For example, instead of using a free Wild Apricot address like, you can use

Wild Apricot does not provide nameservers. You must use the default nameservers provided by your domain name provider.

Correctly setting up your domain can be tricky, and this is further complicated by the fact that domain setup process is different from one domain registrar to another. We have provided an overview of the process and key instructions – if you need any assistance with it, you should contact your domain name registrar.

1. Choose and register Your domain name

Choose a domain name registrar. There are many companies that offer this service. From our experience, and offer a competitive price and all the necessary capabilities for domain management.

Make sure that your selected domain name registrar offers online self-service for DNS management. This will give you direct control over the DNS records for your domain, and the ability to create and modify A, CNAME, and SPF records as needed. (Most registrars offer this as part of the basic domain registration, but there are still a few that do not.)

2. Set up your custom domain

Setting up with your domain name provider's assistance

Contact your domain name provider directly and ask for their assistance with the setup.

Don't know who your domain name provider is? Click here then enter your domain name in the field and click the Search button. Within the search results – or further down in the raw details – look for the name of your domain name provider in the Registrar field.

Use the following email template – just copy and paste it, and adjust as required.

Please assist me with my domain name setup 
by modifying / adding the following DNS records to it:
Name: www
3) A record
4) TXT record
Value: v=spf1 mx ~all

Within your email, replace all occurrences of with your custom domain name. With some domain registrars, the name is not required.

If you encounter any errors with these settings, try specifying default._domainkey (without the as the CNAME.

Setting it up yourself

If you want to set up your custom domain yourself, follow the instructions below.

We have also provided more detailed examples for two domain registrars – see GoDaddy DNS setup instructions and Network Solutions DNS Setup instructions. Even if you are using a different domain registrar, you might still find these two examples helpful.

CNAME record for www

Set up the following CNAME record to point the www version of your domain to

Name: www

Copy this code exactly as shown above – do not replace with anything else (except the legacy domain

This only sets up and not
"A" record

If you want (without the leading www) to work as well, you need to set up an A-record for to point to our server IP address

For example:

Name: @

The required value of Name could vary from provider to provider. In most cases, you would use @ or It may also not be required, in which case it would be blank. Follow up with your domain provider support for more details.

CNAME record for DKIM

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is a method of authenticating emails sent from your domain, reducing the chance of your messages being identified as spam or junk. DKIM associates your domain name with your messages, thereby vouching for its authenticity.

You need to set up DKIM authentication only for your primary domain, minus the www if you're using the www version of your domain as the primary domain (since email addresses never use www).

To set up DKIM authentication for your domain, add the following CNAME record:


and replace with your primary domain name (minus the www if you're using the www version of your domain as the primary domain).

If you encounter any errors with this setting, try specifying default._domainkey (without the as the CNAME.

TXT record

You need to create a TXT record for your domain (this is usually in the SPF setup section). This specifies that Wild Apricot servers are allowed to send emails on your behalf. Without a TXT record, the From email address will be automatically generated from the free sub-domain we provide you, and you will not be able to create a custom From address that is based on your custom domain. (For more information, see Organization details.)

If your domain currently does not have an SPF record, you should add one as follows:

Name: @
Value: v=spf1 mx ~all

Copy the code exactly as shown above – do not replace with anything else (except the legacy domain, and make sure there's a space between and ~all.

If you already have a TXT record then simply modify it by adding before ~all. For example:

v=spf1 ~all

With some domain registrars, the name is not required, or it can be set to your domain (e.g.

If you are already using an email hosting service to handle emails from your domain, you need to merge the include statements for both Wild Apricot and your email host. For instructions, click here.
AAAA (IPv6) record

If you have an AAAA (IPv6) DNS record specified, you should remove it as it would prevent Wild Apricot from being able to install a security certificate on your domain.

3. Add your custom domain to your Wild Apricot account

To add your custom domain name to your Wild Apricot account, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Website module (by clicking the Website menu) then click the Settings option.
  2. Within the Settings screen, click Domain name (under Site settings).
  3. From the Domain name management screen, click the Add custom domain name button.
  4. Enter your domain name, then click the Save button.
    If you add a custom domain name without the www prefix, we will automatically add domains both with and without the www prefix. 
  5. If you want to automatically install a custom security certificate from Let's Encrypt for your custom domain, make sure the option to install a free SSL certificate from Let's Encrypt is checked. If you use a custom domain without a custom security certificate, visitors who access your site by manually entering https will typically see a security warning displayed by their browser (e.g. "not secure" or "connection not private").  For more information on Let's Encrypt security certificates, click here.
  6. Click the Save button to save your changes.
  7. If you don't want to use both domains, you can remove one by clicking the Remove button beside the appropriate entry. If you want to keep both, you must designate one at the primary domain by clicking the Set as primary link beside the domain name.
While the process on Wild Apricot's end takes only a few minutes to complete, the process on your registrar's end can take 24-48 hours. During this time, your free Wild Apricot can function as a backup option.

Custom security certificates (SSL)

If you are using a custom domain name, you need a custom security certificate for your domain. Otherwise, visitors who access your site by manually entering https will typically see a security warning displayed by their browser (e.g. "not secure" or "connection not private").

You can order a free custom security certificate from Let's Encrypt while you're adding your custom domain name on the Domain name management screen, or anytime thereafter. For more information on securing your custom domain using a free Let's Encrypt certificate, click here.

Optional settings


Subdomain is a type of domain address. For example, if you have an existing website at, you can set up Wild Apricot on a subdomain like For more information on how to set this up, contact your domain name provider.

Email hosting

Wild Apricot does not include email hosting so if you are using your own domain, you have to set it up so that web traffic is sent to our servers while email traffic is sent to your email hosting company. You can use free email hosting, for example from Google (see Using email hosting services).

Traffic encryption

Wild Apricot provides free encrypted access to domains. You can use the secure domain in addition to your regular website address, or you can switch your website to the domain. For custom domains, you can also use the domain for secure access, or we can install a security certificate on your custom domain.

For example, if your custom domain is, a free secure URL for your account would be Your own secure custom URL would be

Do not enable traffic encryption for a custom domain without an installed custom security certificate. If you do, visitors will be warned of a possible security issue with your site.


Here are solutions to common issues with custom domain setup.

Browser displays a security warning when visitors access your site

If traffic encryption is enabled for a custom domain without an installed custom security certificate, visitors will be warned of a possible security issue when they try to access your site. To resolve this, you can get a security certificate installed.

How to access your site when custom domain malfunctions

Your Wild Apricot account comes with a free domain (e.g. that can always be used to access your account if your account's custom domain name malfunctions. This domain is always available, it cannot be removed but you can rename it if required (see Domain name management). If you do not remember this domain name, you can always find it in the emails that were sent to you when you first opened your Wild Apricot account.

Check your DNS records

On average, it might take up to 48 hours for DNS records on the Internet to pick up your new settings (though usually it happens much faster). If it is not working after this period you might need to check your settings. As a first step, check that your DNS records are showing correct information. For more details and help on this contact your domain name host.

Check your setup

It is important that you follow setup steps, see Custom domain setup, since it is the only correct way to set up your Wild Apricot account to work with your custom domain name. Make sure to avoid the following mistakes:

  • One of the most common mistakes for custom domain setup is a domain redirect to your Wild Apricot domain.
  • Also, avoid setting up your custom domain by putting Wild Apricot site within an iframe (aka domain masking).
  • Make sure that you add a custom domain to the domain list and set it as primary. See: Domain name management

These mistakes can create all kinds of problems, including the following: PayPal payment problems, reset password problem, broken registration links etc.

Google Suite domains

The synthetic records used on some Google Suite domains can conflict with custom domain verification. These records are not essential and can be removed. If you are encountering errors setting up your Google Suite domain with Wild Apricot, consider removing the synthetic records from your Google Suite domain setup.

DNS Servers

We do not provide DNS servers ourselves since most domain registrars already provide this service at no charge for every domain (e.g. registrar in our example). However, if you have registered your domain through one of small reseller domain registrars you might not have direct access to your DNS settings, just the ability to change your DNS servers. Here are your options in this case:

  • Contact your domain registrar and ask if they can set it up manually for you - use their domain servers to point your domain to our server (via CNAME or IP address). This is the best option as many domain registrars can do this even if they do not provide web-based self-service interface for you to do it. The biggest challenge is to get hold of a knowledgeable service rep at the domain registrar - since this is a relatively rare situation, many service reps will have a hard time understanding what you need them to do.
  • Contact your hosting company (the one whose DNS servers you currently use) and ask them to change their name server settings to point website to us. Whether they would do it or not - and what would they charge - depends on a particular hosting company. This is the option to follow if you will still use the hosting company for email hosting.
  • Transfer your domain to another registrar which provides DNS servers and online access to their settings. This takes a few days and incurs a one-time charge (depends on each registrar).


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