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Apex & www subdomain & SSL question - confused on proper set up

Hi All,

I’m pretty new to Netlify and DNS in general. The actual site is hosted at Vercel, not Netlify. The dns records are at Netlify.

Here is the setup:

  1. Apex domain is usearcade.com → . The A record is pointing to Vercel’s IP. This is working as far as I can tell. (https://usearcade.com)
  2. www sub domain, www.usearcade.com → This isn’t working. Error I get is: “We can’t connect to the server at www.userarcade.com

When attempting to add a cname record, Netfliy says:

“A subdomain, like www or ftp - we automatically append userarcade.com

While I think this is supposed to be helpful, it is confusing, at least to me.

Does this mean…

  1. I don’t need to create a cname record for “www” to have www.usearcade.com work? The docs are unclear to me on this point. The UX doesn’t make this clear either.
  2. Does this mean that the SSL is automatically created for the www subdomain as well?

Right now it would appear that I do need a cname record and that Netlify doesn’t do this automatically for non-Netlify sites that do use Netlify for the dns records.

If I do need a cname record, what should the values be? How do I setup SSL for the www subdomain through Netlify?

Or if I don’t need it, what else could be wrong? Perhaps I just need more patience?

Hi there! We’ve created this DNS Quickstart guide for this very purpose - to get you up and running as quickly as possible.

Please take a look - we have many resources listed at the bottom, too. And, there are tons of DNS questions you can access through our search! If your problem still persists after reading through all relevant guides, please post again and we will troubleshoot with you.

Hi Perry,

That did not answer my question. I’ve read the guide you posted and the help docs at Netlify. After I couldn’t find an answer, so I posted here.

The guide you posted says this:

One other scenario: Domain purchased through Netlify
If you purchased your new domain through Netlify it will already have Netlify DNS enabled! So you are all set. :tada:

I purchased my domain through Netlify. What cname value for www do I need to use if my domain is pointing to an external host, in my case Vercel? Do I need to put my apex domain as the cname value for www? Something else?

Related, how does Netlify provision SSL for the www subdomain in this case?

I’m happy to read any docs that answer the above. I haven’t been able to find any.

Netlify does not provide SSL for sites not hosted on Netlify. You will have to contact Vercel or make other arrangements to secure your non-Netlify hosting.

Ah, thanks Greg! That’s what I needed to know. It would be great if this was mentioned in the docs somewhere. And if it is, I apologize that I missed it.

@leslie It has been discussed several times here in the community. I don’t remember if it is covered in the docs.