When you first start your Zendesk subscription, the URL for your Zendesk web portal is some variation on mycompany.zendesk.com. Since all companies take great stock in managing their brand, Zendesk offers you a feature on our Regular, Plus+ and Enterprise plans called host-mapping that allows you to show your own branded URL to all customers accessing your Zendesk.
Note: For additional information about host mapping, see Changing the address of your web portal (host mapping) in the Zendesk Administrator's guide.
Modify Your CNAME Record
To get this working, you’ll need to make a few changes to your subdomain’s DNS. When dealing with DNS changes like CNAME records, Time To Live (TTL), and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates, things can get complicated. Here’s a walk-through that should make this easier to understand.
Assuming you already have your desired subdomain ready to go (ie. support.mondocameras.com), you’ll need to make a DNS change. This is done through the host where your domain resides. The change you will be making is to the CNAME record.
As shown above, point the CNAME record for your subdomain (shown in the “Host Record” field in this example) to your Zendesk subdomain, as shown in the “Points to” field. The end result should look like the following:
Once this has been done, allow some time for DNS propagation. DNS changes typically take anywhere from a few hours to a day – depending on your Time To Live (TTL) settings – to reflect the changes. In the meantime, you may see some redirects. TTL can be altered at the host level if you have access to this.
Enable Host Mapping
Next, log in to your Zendesk. Go to Settings > Account > Branding, and under the Host mapping field, add your custom subdomain; ie. support.mondocameras.com. This enables the host-mapping to occur.
If you don’t do this, your subdomain will point to a Zendesk error page, rather than your page.
Host Mapping and SSL
Keep in mind when host-mapping your subdomain, Zendesk provides a free SSL certificate for all *.zendesk.com domains. Now that you’re using your own subdomain, our SSL certificate will no longer apply, and you may experience a certificate error. Or rather than seeing your subdomain map to your Zendesk, your customers will be redirected from your support.mycompany.com URL to the mycompany.zendesk.com URL.
If you are on the Plus+ or Enterprise plan, you have two options:
- Turn off SSL, and stick with HTTP (non-encrypted communication) for your custom domain. To do this, go into your Zendesk under Settings > Security > SSL. Uncheck the Regular SSL box and click Save. This will stop any incorrect redirections you or your customers may be experiencing.
- Use Hosted SSL in order to enable HTTPS (encrypted communication) for your custom subdomain. To do this, go into your Zendesk under Settings > Security > SSL. Below Hosted SSL, you will see a description as well as a link to generate a certificate request (CSR). Clicking this link will download a .csr format file to your computer. You will need to provide the CSR to an SSL Certificate Authority who would then generate a certificate for your custom subdomain (ie. support.mondocameras.com) and provide you with a certificate bundle. Before paying for the certificate, make sure the certificate authority supports SHA-2 encryption. The CSR uses SHA-2 encryption.
If you would prefer to use a wildcard certificate, you can upload that here, along with your private key and passphrase if applicable.
Note: When using Hosted SSL make sure you enable Regular SSL again or you may run into complications.
Next, simply upload that in the same location you generated your certificate request within Zendesk. The installation process on our end takes up to five business days, at which point our wonderful Ops team will reach out to you with next steps. You will be given instructions to make an additional CNAME record change for your subdomain, to a new CNAME record URL reference which is created when your SSL certificate is installed. (ie. support.mondocameras.com to mondocam.ssl.zendesk.com).
If you are a Regular plan customer, Hosted SSL is not supported. So you will have to choose option 1 for now or upgrade to Plus+ or Enterprise. While using SSL is not a requirement, it is definitely suggested as a best practice.
Hope this helps you customize your Zendesk URL and continue providing your users with great support, branded to match your company! If you have any additional questions, you can contact our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org