One of the biggest values of being an EAN partner is the availability of fully private-labeled platforms to build your travel business upon. But we do frequently hear from partners concerned about establishing a proper private label over the travelnow.com domain that appears by default. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution, and its name is CNAME.
What can I do with a CNAME?
You may have noticed that linking over to your EAN template pages initially only works if you keep the travelnow.com domain name. However, you can easily mask your own domain over the travelnow.com default by means of a domain record called a CNAME.
You can set up a CNAME either to mask your travelnow.com template pages, or to mask images hosted under the origin-images.travelnow.com or media.expedia.com domains to ensure your brand is secure even in your page source.
What is a CNAME?
In simple terms, a CNAME is just a different label you’ll put on top of the travelnow.com domain in the form of a prefix for your own existing domain. It takes a customer request sent to your domain and redirects it to the appropriate travelnow.com domain in the background.
Why use a CNAME instead of other services your domain host may offer, such as “domain forwarding”? More often than not, these services rely on hacks with iFrames and other methods that will literally break the functionality of your EAN template. CNAMEs are a reliable solution because they work at the domain name level, well out of the way of the inner workings of your and EAN’s web pages.
How do I set up a CNAME?
If you’re creating a CNAME to mask your template pages, you should first configure your intended CNAME and the domain it will belong to in your template settings in the EAN Affiliate Center. If not, just skip to the main steps in the next section.
To configure your EAN template settings for a CNAME, log in to the Affiliate Center and navigate to Control Panel, then Account.
In the Define URL Masking section, enter your full custom domain in the format cname.yourdomain.com. Pick an easy-to-identify CNAME such as “hotels” or “reservations.” When you’re finished, click Add and then click Save on the very bottom of the page. Now you’re ready to set up the CNAME itself in your domain host’s settings!
Adding your CNAME to your DNS records
Even if you’ve never dived into the settings for your domain, setting up a CNAME is easy. If you know your away around your domain host’s configuration pages, follow the instructions below. If you have difficulty finding the settings for CNAME or alias configuration on your domain host’s web site, ask your account manager for instructions specific to your hosting company or call the company itself for support.
In your domain host’s DNS settings, add your desired CNAME to the domain you use with EAN. For example, to create hotels.yourdomain.com, create a CNAME record with a value of hotels in the configuration for the yourdomain.com domain.
- If you added a CNAME to your Affiliate Center settings for use with your template, set the CNAME’s destination value to cname.travelnow.com
- If you’re not using the template and just adding a CNAME to mask our hosted image URLs, set the destination value to origin-images.travelnow.com
Leave any other settings for TTL, nameservers, A records and IPs as they are and save your changes.
Now all you have to do is wait! Changes to DNS records can take up to 24 hours to propagate throughout all of the systems in the Internet, so don’t worry if your CNAME doesn’t resolve properly right away. If 24 hours pass and your CNAME for your template still doesn’t work, verify the CNAME itself is working via a tool such as MXChecker’s CNAME Lookup.
If your domain passes that test but still fails to forward properly, double-check your settings in the Affiliate Center. Even if your CNAME is correctly configured to point at cname.travelnow.com, we won’t know where to send your domain’s requests if you don’t have it correctly set in your settings with EAN.
Remember that for image masking, you only need to configure your domain host records – the Affiliate Center settings have nothing to with image URLs. If you can successfully replace media.expedia.com or origin-images.travelnow.com in an EAN image URL with yourcname.yourdomain.com, you’ve done it!
If you’re building a full template site, don’t worry if you can’t get your domain to mask your travelnow.com homepage address! This requires some more complicated work in your domain records to achieve – just contact your account manager or support for help.
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