SharePoint Cloud and Office365 Part II – Vanity/Custom Domain Setup

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Following on from Part I where I showed how easy it was to setup a new Internet facing site I decided to go a bit further and get the site up and running on my own domain name. As I am not yet moving my whole site to SharePoint Online I setup up a subdomain http://cloud.sharepointrescue.com .  This requires a bit of Admin knowledge, any business user will probably not have this knowledge or the access to do this. It is fairly straight forward but because of the nature of DNS propagation it seems a lot more difficult. So what are the steps you need to do?

Step One – Confirm your domain ownership with Office365

To be able to use a “Vanity” or custom domain with SharePoint you must first add the domain to Office365 using the admin portal. To be able to do this, select “Domains” from the left menu and add a new domain and click check domain. Now you need to verify the domain. To do this you need to add a CNAME record to you DNS, along the lines of:-

Office365_domain

Once you have added the record you can try and verify the domain.

Verify_Domain

This part took a relatively short time to wait for the record to propagate, probably about 10 minutes in my case. If successful this will add the domain to Office365.

Step Two – Change the intent of the domain to SharePoint Online

Right, this is a part I got stuck on briefly, if you thought you could use the same domain for Lync, Exchange and SharePoint online you would be wrong, like I was. If you want to use the domain for SharePoint untick Lync and Exchange, then tick SharePoint. A few words of help would be useful here as it is not very intuitive (hint hint MS).

domain_intent

 

Step Three – Change the domain of the SharePoint Internet Site to your new domain

Assuming you have created an Internet Site in the Site collections part of SharePoint online select your site and  click on the Website Domains option on ribbon. The domain that you have added to Office 365 will be in the dropdown, select this and click ok.

Rename_your_website

 

Step Four – Amend the DNS of your domain to point at SharePoint Online

Now the difficult bit, for your domain to resolve to SharePoint online you will need to change the DNS once again to point at SharePoint Online. Again in the site collections part of SharePoint Online select the site you have just renamed and click the DNS Information button on the ribbon. This gives you the target for the CNAME record that you now need to add to your DNS. The Alias or Host name should be the (root), which it doesn’t tell you in the help. I also did two other things here that are not mentioned in the help, firstly I deleted the previous CNAME records that had been created to get the domain verified with Office365 and secondly I deleted the A record for my domain. Whether you need to do the second step is debatable (DNS admins probably know), but it worked, so I am leaving it as it is. This took a good day to propagate so it is difficult to know if you have it right the first time, be patient.

sharepoint_domain_DNS

Great you now have a SharePoint Internet facing site on your own domain in the cloud!

Here is  mine http://cloud.sharepointrescue.com

For Part III I will be looking at the design options that you get with SharePoint Online, come back to see how I get on.

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