Custom Domains

Setup your own sub-domain to brand your survey links. For example:   to

Choosing a Custom Domain

This guide will, unavoidably, be a lot more technical than most of our other help guides. If you're not familiar with terms such as subdomains, DNS, CNAME, TXT, MX, you should probably refer this process to someone in your organisation that deals with setting up your website, such as your IT or Web team.

It is likely that you will want to choose a domain that matches one of your existing domains but there are two things you should consider.

Access to Domain Settings

Firstly, you will need access to the DNS settings for the domain you want to choose in order to verify that you own the domain and are permitted to use it for your surveys. If some domains/DNS entries are harder to access than others (perhaps through another remote IT team) then you might prefer to either create a new domain/sub-domain just for your surveys or choose one that you can access easily.

Conflicts with Email Domains

Secondly, if you are also setting up Email Sending Domains, you cannot use the same domain for your survey link and your email sending domain.

The reason for this restriction is that Email Sending Domains uses a TXT DNS record to route failed emails back to SmartSurvey so that failures can be tracked. This record would also exist if you used your own email server. Custom domains for the survey link, on the other hand, use a CNAME which points the browser to a different IP address hosted by SmartSurvey.

CNAME is not allowed at the same host name as A, TXT, or MX records since a CNAME is like "refer to this other domain", which would conflict with A, TXT and MX records. e.g.

  • and would not be possible
  • and would be possible.

To get around this restriction, it is common to use a single custom sub-domain for the surveys like and then to have individual email addresses at the base domain for each survey like and If you cannot easily add these mailboxes at your base domain, you can, of course, use your own sub-domain for emails also like or

Adding a Custom Domain

  1. In the Account drop down menu in the black navigation bar, select My Account
  2. In the menu on the left click Custom Domain
  3. Enter the domain or sub-domain you wish to use for your surveys into the box, then click Add Domain
  4. You'll need to set up a CNAME in the DNS settings of your custom domain to point to the "answer" value that is provided ( You may need to send this request to your IT department
  5. Once the CNAME is in place, click the Check CNAME button to verify
  6. If successful, your custom domain will now be active on your account and you can set up the Redirect URL
  7. Enter a value for the Redirect URL. This is a location that will be loaded if for some reason anyone tries to access the custom domain without specifying a valid survey. It can be any URL. Many users will set this to be their own website homepage or something similar.


SSL should be enabled automatically within 24/48 hours after activation, if your account is eligible to receive one. Check the padlock colour positioned to the left of your custom domain listing to see the status


  • If the survey is being used over the public internet, then the CNAME must be setup on your public DNS configuration and not on your internal company DNS i.e. not in Active Directory. In most cases, it should not be setup in Active Directory at all
  • When setting up a CNAME, some DNS providers require that you add a full-stop/period at the end of a domain name to specify that it is absolute and not relative to your main domain. In other words you should specify the target of the CNAME as e.g. (note the trailing full-stop) and not just otherwise it might be interpreted as
  • Do not use ping to test for setup of DNS. You can either use Powershell's Resolve-DnsName domainname cmdlet or nslookup domainname in the command prompt or linux shell, both of which will show you a cname trail from your custom domain back to its final location and IP address.
  • Do not point your custom domain to an IP address, which could be changed, use the CNAME from the admin page
  • Don't use the CNAME target from another account since it will fail verification at SmartSurvey

If the status is still pending after 48 hours or if it's disabled and you wish to have it enabled then get in touch with us by creating a support ticket

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