Use Your Own Custom Domain With Docs
Your Docs site comes with its own URL that's your Sub-domain at helpscoutdocs.com. By default, your first Docs site's Sub-domain is your company name, and company-name.helpscoutdocs.com the address for your Docs site.
You can share that address with your customers, or you can set up a custom domain, e.g. help.yourdomain.com, to use with your Docs site instead. There is no additional charge to use a custom domain name with your Docs site.
This article walks you through setting up a custom domain for Docs. You will need access to edit your domain's DNS records or zone file at your DNS hosting provider to follow these steps. If you're not sure what that is or if you have access, reach out to your IT team or web development team and they should be able to help you get this set up.
In this article
Create a CNAME Record at Your DNS Provider
- The Docs custom domain must be a subdomain of a domain that you own that you have already set up with a DNS hosting provider.
- You will use a CNAME record to create and redirect that subdomain to point to Help Scout servers. A CNAME record tells computers that when someone types in your custom domain (help.yourdomain.com) that you want to actually load your Docs site (company-name.helpscoutdocs.com).
- The CNAME record you'll create is to point the subdomain address you'd like to use, e.g. help.yourdomain.com, to the Docs site URL in your Help Scout account, e.g. yourcompany.helpscoutdocs.com.
Note: You do not need to create a directory or subdomain with your website's hosting or on your webserver for the subdomain; when you create the CNAME record that points to your Docs site, that redirected URL will be your subdomain.
Find your DNS hosting provider, if you're not sure who that is
Your DNS hosting provider is likely to be the service where you've registered the domain name or the hosting service where you host your website. MX Toolbox's DNS Lookup is a helpful tool to discover public information about your domain — enter your domain there and you'll see a box near the bottom that will show the DNS hosting provider for your domain.
Create the record at your DNS hosting provider
Each DNS hosting provider will have their own terminology and formatting for creating a CNAME record.
For example, to set up a CNAME for help.jgclothing.co to point to jg-clothing.helpscoutdocs.com, here's what it would look like at a few different DNS hosting providers:
See our guide for Cloudflare specifically for a bit more detail on the setup here as well.
Help for your DNS hosting provider
These are some of the bigger DNS hosting providers out there, but there are literally thousands (if not millions) of DNS hosting providers out there. We’ve included links to some popular providers’ help pages on CNAME or DNS below.
If you don’t see your provider listed here, you need additional help, or you’re not sure how to log in to your account at your DNS provider, you’ll want to reach out to their support for an assist. The support team at your DNS provider will be able to help you find the right format if these articles don't get you there — you can send them the link to this article to help them understand what you're looking to do if you're not sure how to explain it.
- GoDaddy: Domains Help: Add a CNAME record
- Namecheap: How to Create a CNAME Record For Your Domain
- Network Solutions: Host Aliases (CNAME Records)
- DNSMadeEasy: CNAME Record
- Google Domains: Create an A or CNAME record
- Hover: Managing DNS records
- Rackspace Cloud DNS: Create DNS records with Cloud DNS
- Bluehost: What Is A CNAME - How To Create & Edit CNAME
- Cloudflare: Create CNAME Records at Cloudflare to Work With Help Scout
Note: These providers may make changes to their knowledge bases or help pages that we aren't aware of. If any of these links do not lead to a help article about CNAME or DNS records for that provider, please let us know!
Add the Custom Domain to Docs Settings
Head over to Manage > Docs > [Choose your Docs site] and enter your full custom domain name (e.g. help.yourdomain.com) in the Custom Domain field. Scroll to the bottom of that page and click Save.
Note: In most cases, the SSL certificate for your custom domain will be automatically issued within a few minutes of saving these settings and you're all set. DNS propagation can some times take a little longer, especially if you edited a CNAME record that existed previously. If more than a couple of hours have passed and you're not seeing your Docs site at your custom domain, reach out to our support team and we will check into things for you!
Can I have more than one custom domain point to my Docs site?
You can only point one CNAME record to a single Docs site at a time. Additional CNAME records pointing to a single Docs site will not work as intended and could result in security vulnerabilities.
Can I use a directory like https://domain.com/help? Can I point just the root domain, e.g. domain.com, to Docs?
We are only able to support using a custom subdomain with Docs. Your docs site custom domain must be a subdomain of your root domain.
You're always welcome to build your own site structure and pipe in the content using the Docs API. That's a do-it-yourself project, but you can build your site in your own space but still manage it in Help Scout that way.
What steps do I need to take if I want to change my custom name or remove it?
If you change your custom domain, delete the previous CNAME record you created at your DNS provider first, then create your new CNAME record and update your Docs site settings. The propagation time will apply to this change.
If you want to remove your custom domain name, remove the custom domain from the Docs site settings first, then delete the CNAME record at your DNS provider.