How do I create a custom tracking domain?

You can track opens and clicks with your own custom tracking domain to improve deliverability.

All Mailshake users track links and opens using one of Mailshake's shared domains. We monitor these domains and block abusers, but you can take tracking into your own hands by setting up your own custom domain.

In this guide:

  • Set up steps - Includes set up in your DNS settings and remaining steps in Mailshake
  • Common Verification Errors
  • Resolving Connection Not Private Error
Why set up a custom tracking domain? Using your own domain for link and open tracking will help with deliverability. When you set up your own custom tracking domain, your tracked links will match your sending email which is helpful for deliverability.

Additionally, using your own tracking domain will help to build your sender reputation. Default tracking domains are shared among many customers. Your email deliverability could be affected by other senders using default tracking. Using your own domain will help build your sender reputation - this is helpful for making sure you end up in the inbox.

In your web host DNS settings:

1. Create a sub-domain and set up a CNAME DNS record (this is done outside of Mailshake)

In order for you to edit your domain's DNS (domain name service) records, you'll need some kind of administrator access to your domain's DNS settings. The process of editing DNS records is different from web host to web host, but the basic steps are this:

  1. Create a new DNS record (example: links.mycompany.com; "links" would be the host part of the URL)
  2. Choose CNAME as the type of record
  3. In the points to or value textbox, enter tracking.mailshake.com
Tip: Your Host Name or Name value for your CNAME record can be anything. Most people choose to use "tracking" as their host name value like in the example pictured below.

Here are a few guides and tips for specific web hosts:

  • GoDaddy
  • BlueHost
  • Namecheap
  • Network Solutions
  • Google has this page that lists variety of providers (just remember to use tracking.mailshake.com instead of whatever they specify in their help pages).
  • Cloudflare: when setting up your CNAME record, set it to DNS proxy only (the default is set to http and DNS)
Note: If you don't see your web host on this list or you aren't sure how to access your DNS settings, you'll need to reach out to your web host directly for steps to set up a CNAME record.

Here's an example of how your DNS settings might look:

In Mailshake:

2. In the left side menu, click "Settings," then click "Team Settings"

3. Click "Tracking Domains" and enter your tracking domain in Mailshake. 

4. Click "Verify and Save"

Your tracking domain is usually not your main domain, but rather a tracking domain you set with your CNAME record.

We'll do a check of your DNS records and see if everything looks good. 

Note: If this doesn't work right away, please note that it can take up to 72 hours before these kinds of changes get distributed around the Internet.

That's it! Future emails sent for your team will use this domain to track clicks and opens.

Important: If your domain host, such as Cloudflare, offers protection or a proxy for records, make sure to disable that by selecting DNS Only. 

My Tracking Domain can't be verified?

If you don't see a green checkmark or you see an error message when trying to verify your tracking domain, this means either:

  • The domain isn't live yet. It can take up to 72 hours before these kinds of changes get distributed around the internet.
  • Your tracking domain wasn't configured correctly. You'll want to check your tracking domain setup in your DNS settings and/or reach out to your DNS provider's support for assistance.

Why am I receiving "Connection Not Private" errors?

If your or a prospect are seeing a "Connection Not Private" error when clicking links from your messages, it's likely due to using https URLs.

Our tracking system currently supports http URLs but your domain and browser will usually redirect to https even when the https URL is not used.

To avoid this issue, use http URLs when adding links in your messages.

Note: Https requires unique certificates for each domain which is why we can't currently support https. We are planning to add in more functionality around this in the future.

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