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About Custom Domain Names

Making your website link user friendly

Up to this point, we've been using the default domain name given to us by the Zappa project. It looks pretty ugly:

We would much rather use a friendly domain name that users will recognize:

If you have access to a CDN, then you can leave your Zappa project alone and place the CDN upstream while registering the friendly domain name with the CDN. But if you don't want to go down that route, or if you don't have a CDN easily accessible, Zappa provides a way to achieve the same result.

So, let's get started.

A quick overview of HTTPS and domain names#

To get your custom domain name working (along with HTTPS), there are a handful of elements needed from various organizations:

  • A domain name registered with a domain registrar. The domain name (e.g. zappaguide.com) is well known to internet users - it's what they type into the browser address bar. There are many domain registrars, including AWS, who provide domain registration for periodic service fees.

  • A DNS provider. An organization provides Domain Name System (DNS) services (also for periodic service fees) that allow web browsers to translate the human recognizable name into an IP address. Many domain registrars provide DNS services, but sometimes they don't.

  • An HTTPS certificate created by a Certificate Authority (CA). A CA is an organization that is trusted on the Internet to hold a whitelisted set of certificates. Browsers across the globe then validate HTTPS connections with CAs to ensure an encrypted connection with websites. There are a few CAs that provide certificates for free, including AWS.

 

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