What is a CNAME?
A Canonical Name (CNAME) is a type of Domain Name System (DNS) record which maps one domain name to another. There are two parts to setting up a CNAME: the Name and the Value.
- Name: Is also commonly known as alias, subdomain, or host
- Examples: sli.example.com, sli.liveintent.com
- Value: This is the destination that the alias “points to”
- For Legacy configurations set up in Akamai: c3d45614c6bd2d41b208ce05bea5da8e.edgekey.net
- For New configurations set up in CloudFront: g1gn3p04daxrh4.cloudfront.net
- Connecting the two together:
- The name sli.liveintent.com is pointed to the value d34z6ij80rp1wx.cloudfront.net
What is the benefit of using a CNAME?
Mailbox Providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc. inspect the number of 3rd party links and use this as a part of their spam score. A secure CNAME will lower the chances of your newsletters from being sent to a subscriber’s spam folder or promotions tab.
What is a spam score?
Most email and security companies have software that rates how likely an incoming email is spam. This rating is known as a spam score and this will impact email deliverability.
What are some restrictions with setting up a CNAME?
- A CNAME record must always point to another domain, never directly to an IP address.
- A CNAME record cannot co-exist with another record for the same name. It’s not possible to have both a CNAME and TXT record for www.example.com.
- A CNAME can point to another CNAME, although this configuration is generally not recommended for performance reasons.
- The publisher must own the domain that is being used for the CNAME.
Where does LiveIntent get CNAME records from?
LiveIntent issues CNAMEs from Amazon Web Services (AWS). There are a few legacy names using Akamai - if you would like to update to use AWS, please reach out to your account team.
What is a Domain Name System?
A DNS translates human-readable domains (eg: liveintent.com) into machine-readable IP addresses.
What is the difference between the CNAME Record and the Validation Record?
- The CNAME Record points to a Cloudfront function on AWS which handles web traffic
- The Validation Record is the SSL secure certification which auto-renews every 395 days in AWS.
What is a Secure CNAME vs. a Non-Secure CNAME?
- A Secure CNAME guarantees the use of a secure connection and is best practice for ad rendering. It uses a https protocol.
- Ex: https://sli.example.com
- A Non-Secure CNAME allows the potential of nefarious actors intercepting traffic between the web browser and the website, and can cause ad rendering issues. It uses a http protocol.
- Ex: http://li.example.com
How do I set up a Secure CNAME?
Please review the Setting up your CNAME Knowledge Base article, and reach out to your LiveIntent Account Team.