This guide will show you how to configure your domain’s DNS to point the site to an external provider like Wix, Weebly, Shopify, or Squarespace. But before we proceed, you might want to consider the downsides of doing this.
Why you should not use a proprietary website builder
- NO AUTO/FREE SSL CERTIFICATES: You cannot take advantage of our free SSL certificates if your site isn’t hosted with us. Free SSL certificates need to be handled by the host. Since we’re not hosting the website, we can’t issue a free certificate for it. If your website provider does not offer free SSL certificates, then you have two options: 1) Purchase a commercial certificate and, when the authorization phase occurs, authorize it via email or DNS, or 2) switch the hosting back to us and build your website locally using WordPress as described above.
- NO SUPPORT: We’ve got some pretty awesome support around here, but when you move your website to use an external provider we can’t provide help or guidance for anything to do with your website, including pointing the domain to them. (This guide is all we can offer). Should you wish to make use of our top-notch support, we strongly recommend keeping your hosting with us and using WordPress with BeaverBuilder, WooCommerce for e-Commerce, or other WordPress plugins to handle various types of websites, rather than an external website provider that locks you into a proprietary service. If you would prefer to drop all Websavers support for the site, read on to learn how to configure your domain or subdomain to point to a proprietary website builder like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, etc. In this article we’re going to be using the generic name “External Provider” to describe whichever of the website builders or online store providers you wish to use.
- NO FREEDOM: When you build a site using a hosted website building tool, that website can’t be moved anywhere else. Should you become disatisfied with the service, or should they suddenly increase the pricing 5 fold, you’re stuck paying more or rebuilding the site totally from scratch on another service. On the flipside, if you use our hosting to build your website using a web app like WordPress, that website can be backed up in its entirety or moved to another provider at any time. We do not lock you in like these hosted website building tools do.
Now that you know why we think you should not use an external provider, onwards with the guide! There are two ways of pointing your domain elsewhere:
- Allow your External Provider to handle all DNS for your domain by changing your name servers. (This means your External Provider will not only manage your website, but also manage your individual DNS records as well). We won’t be providing directions for this as it’s not a recommended option.
- Recommended: Keep your DNS hosted with us and change only your individual DNS records (usually just the root record or a subdomain record) to point to your External Provider. Directions for this are below.
Part 1: Obtain the correct DNS records
Here’s how to do that with some common providers:
If your provider is not listed, search their knowledge base or documentation for “DNS configuration” or “Connect domain” to find the correct instructions. If you have trouble finding the correct values to use, you need to ask the provider for help obtaining them.
Part 2: Configure your DNS records
Take a read over this article to learn how to edit your DNS settings. It shows you how to find where to configure your DNS even if you’re not using Plesk to manage the records. In that article, look specifically for the A record section and take a quick read through it.
Here’s a few tips:
- If you have multiple domains, make sure you you’re managing the DNS records for the right domain! (It’s pretty easy to mix-up a .com or .ca equivalent of the same domain).
- Ensure you are editing the correct A or CNAME record. You have many records by default and the correct one will have no subdomain/host value. (If you’re pointing a subdomain, then it will be the one with that subdomain entered). Example: if your domain is mydomain.com then it is not the A record for ns1.mydomain.com that you need to edit, but rather the A record for: mydomain.com.
- How best to configure the www. subdomain:
- If your DNS records are managed in Plesk and your External Provider indicates to also change the www. record, we recommend trying leaving it at the default instead. It should continue to work without changing it in Plesk. If, after 24 hours of changing your root DNS record the www. record still does not work, then please do change it as recommended by your External Provider (and let us know that this was required!)
- If you your domain is registered with us and you have configured its name servers with the option to “Manage my DNS records manually”, then your DNS hosting is managed within our Client Centre and not within Plesk. In this instance, we recommend setting the www. record as indicated by the provider.
As a reminder, we cannot provide support for helping you point your domain to an External Provider — it is up to your External Provider to help you with this process. However, if you should find an error in this guide, we would love to get that corrected. Please let us know in the comments.