Netlify Subdomain vs Custom Domain

Hello, I am creating a lab website for my lab group and was wondering if I could get an explanation on the Custom Domain vs The Netlify Subdomain that is automatically given to you as “[name-of-your-site]”. Can we use the subdomain to set up and make the website public instead of buying the domain. My college’s IT team says we also need the CNAME, is there a way of getting a CNAME without buying the Custom Domain?

Hi @acroke

If I understand you correctly, you wish to know if you can use a address (e.g. as a public URL? The answer there is yes.

You could also use a custom domain (e.g.

Hello coelmay, thank you for the response! This may be a dumb question but if my institute’s IT department is asking for a CNAME, what exactly is that? Is it related to the domain?

CNAME is a type of DNS record. If you wished to use a custom domain that was configured externally, a CNAME record needs creating.

If you are not using a custom domain, I don’t believe they would need this.

Hello, sorry for the lack of clarity, I’m a big dumb moron. I would like “” to point to me website on GitHub/Netlify.

My IT department was able to get back to me and they said “If so, then you need to tell netlify to expect traffic from via the settings outlined in their help article, then separately provide to us the DNS target we need to point to from our end”

If I can get an explanation on how to do this that would be lovely as I read the article and am quiet confused.

Check out the Configure a subdomain documentation which explains how to add to a Netlify site.

Under Site Settings > Domain Management you need to add as a Custom Domain. The CNAME record for this needs to then point to your Netlify site (e.g.