Requesting help with Branch Subdomain

Per this article: Branch subdomain on NetlifyDNS are not working (But preview does)

I am requesting help with branches that are setup with subdomains. I didn’t want to set them up with subdomains, but that’s the only way it can be done. Unfortunately, now it doesn’t work and I have no way to troubleshoot or fix it.

I get a ‘server not found’ error. I would have posted it, but somehow I’m considered a new user, even though I’ve posted before?

Thanks for your help!

Am I missing something? I got an alert that “perry” replied, but I see nothing?!?

Now it looks like someone named futuregerald replied, but… once again I can’t see anything. If I scroll through 3 of 3 posts, they are all… mine, repeated?!

Hi, @ccoffman. I’m showing that you have Netlify DNS zone for this domain here:

However, the domain isn’t using Netlify DNS. This is referred to as an “inactive DNS zone”". We have a support guide above why this is not supported and how to fix it here:

So, first things first, the inactive DNS zone must be deleted or activated. Once that is resolved there are two possibilities.

  1. If you activate, the branch subdomain SSL will be automatic.

  2. If you delete, the instructions can be found here: [Support Guide] How to use Netlify’s branch deploy feature without Netlify DNS

If there are other questions or concerns, please let us know.

So, I am sure I’m missing something simple, but… the problem is not the external DNS setup. The problem is that I have 2 branches deployed - but I CANNOT find the Netlify DNS (e.g. the " /happy-scientist-123456" reference in the docs).

Where do I find that? If I’m not asking the right question, it’s because the docs aren’t resonating with me.

Hi, @ccoffman. The site name is found several places. It is the slug in the URL when looking at the site settings. Is is also the subdomain of the site under Using this URL below as an example:

The “site name” setting above is “example”. This makes the site subdomain at Netlify and that is the target hostname to use when making CNAME records for the external DNS for that site.

If the branch names were branch-1 and branch-2 and the primary custom domain was the CNAMEs would look like this:    1800	IN	CNAME    1800	IN	CNAME

I can tell you what DNS records to make for your site but we don’t normally share private details publicly unless you have given us permission to do so (or unless you have already stated them publicly yourself). Do you give me permission to publicly state the exact CNAME records to create for external DNS for this site if using these branch subdomains?

If there are other questions about this, please let us know.

Thank you, but I DO NOT want you to share the DNS here, publicly. I guess I can sort it out based on your conventions, but my question still is - if YOU can see it, why can’t I see it in my account? If these settings are private - why can’t I see them?!?

Hi, @ccoffman. DNS is typically not secret. (There are definitely many exceptions to this but they don’t apply here.)

I mention this because I want to point out that is is trivial for anyone to see the DNS records in question if they want to. Despite this, I’ve sent you a PM with the information but must include the caveat that I have just broken one of our rules about this forum:

  • We don’t provide private technical support here.

Maybe that should be “we shouldn’t provide” not “don’t provide” because I clearly just did. :slight_smile:

For troubleshooting which does include private information, for example issues like billing and login troubleshooting, we will always move those to the helpdesk to do so in private. We also provide private helpdesk support for all team plans of Pro or higher as covered on our pricing page.

To summarize, I PM’d the DNS records to make but once you do so they won’t be private.

Also, did you read the inactive DNS zone support guide I linked to above? I ask because the zone is still inactive and that will definitely cause issues (unless you are uploading your own SSL certificates).

EDIT: I also want to make it clear that all team plans are welcome here. People using all plan types (Starter, Pro, Business, Enterprise, etc.) use these forums and we appreciate everyone that wants to ask questions or have discussions here.



First, I want to say I appreciate your response, and your help.

That said, I wasn’t asking you to provide anything more than this forum allows. I apologize if you construed this as such. You had asked if I minded about the DNS records, so I replied in kind ("…we don’t normally share private details publicly"). I guess it was a moot point, so apologies for making it a bigger deal than I thought it was.

I did review the documentation above, but that was the original reason I replied back - I am just not understanding the full process for getting this setup. I reviewed the docs, found them inconclusive and that they did not provide enough information to be actionable. So I replied back.

All this to say, we cannot use Netlify DNS for this, as we already have this domain setup elsewhere. I am familiar with and happy to setup the DNS outside Netlify. What I still don’t get is how to configure Netlify properly. I have already setup a site using this DNS, so I am not sure how it worked on our master branch, but NOT on other branches? To restate - this is a problem with branch subdomains only.



Let me restate one more time, so I can be sure I am understanding properly.

You gave me 2 options - neither of which I can do because the domain in question IS being used and is working on our master branch.

So, first things first, the inactive DNS zone must be deleted or activated. Once that is resolved there are two possibilities.

  1. If you activate, the branch subdomain SSL will be automatic. - Can’t do this since it is a domain that is used for a LOT of other infrastructure and is in AWS. This is not an option.

  2. If you delete, the instructions can be found here: [Support Guide] How to use Netlify’s branch deploy feature without Netlify DNS - Don’t understand why I would need to delete it if it’s working for another branch (master) and why / how this would help? Put differently, it does not appear to be inactive, as proved by going here and seeing the Netlify password-protected page:

@luke Sorry for all the back-and-forth. I had my head all confused about what an ‘active’ vs ‘inactive’ DNS meant in Netlify. Turns out I just needed to step back and click around a bit more to figure out what was required.

  • First, I setup the CNAME records, as you suggested, in our private DNS service. Immediately, I was able to get to the site, but with SSL warnings.
  • Next, I found where to upload our own cert in the Netlify UI - solved the SSL problem.

Again, I really do appreciate your help! I just think maybe laying out these steps makes it a lot more clear. Add in some documentation for the way to derive your Netlify CNAME, per above, and I think anyone would be able to self-serve going forward. I think the Active/Inactive DNS thing is a bit of a distraction :slight_smile:

Sorry for the hassle!

  • Chad
1 Like

Hey there, @ccoffman :wave:

Thanks for following up and sharing that feedback! I am glad you got this working, and I appreciate you outlining your steps for future Forums members who may encounter something similar :slight_smile: