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Setting a domain

Setting a domain

Setting your domain is one of the first steps to improving your practice’s online discoverability. In today’s virtual world, your domain is how potential clients will find you online, so it’s best to select a domain that identifies your practice.

You can customize the domain for the Client Portal and the Professional Website using our readily available Default Domain, or you can choose to connect a Custom Domain hosted by a third-party domain provider.

Note: The Professional Website and Custom Domains are only available with the Professional Plan.


Setting a Default Domain

The Default Domain included in your SimplePractice account allows you to customize a portion of the URL used for accessing your Client Portal and your Professional Website. You may choose to include your name, your practice’s name, or whatever else you’d like to use to identify your business. We recommend keeping the domain as short as possible, to maintain easy access for your clients.

Tip: If you’re looking for more customization beyond the free text field that’s included in the Default Domain, you may want to establish a custom domain with a third party domain provider. See Setting a Custom Domain to learn more. 

To customize the Default Domain, start by going to Settings > Domains.

  • Under Default Domain, if you haven't already locked the domain, you can easily customize it by clicking the text field

editdomain.simplepractice.domains.png

  • After you’ve finalized your default domain, you will want to lock it. As long as the URL you’ve entered is available, you can click Save & Lock to update your domain

Important: Saving and locking the default domain cannot be undone from your SimplePractice account. This is designed to prevent clients from losing access to your website by attempting to reach an outdated domain.

Once you've locked your default domain, click View Link to see the client’s perspective when landing on your site, or you can click the copy icon to share the link elsewhere.


Setting a Custom Domain

Setting up and connecting a Custom Domain is a great step toward building your practice’s online presence. Your domain is an extension of your brand, how people will find you online, and the first impression for potential leads landing on your site.

In this section we’ll walk through the process of purchasing a custom domain from a third party domain provider, and connecting a custom domain to your SimplePractice account.


Purchasing a Custom Domain

There are various domain providers to choose from when purchasing a custom domain. In this section, we’ll walk through the steps for GoDaddy, one of the most popular providers used by our customers. 

Tip: If you already have an actively registered custom domain, you can jump ahead to our steps for Connecting a Custom Domain.

Important: You don't need to purchase an SSL certificate with your domain. When you connect your domain to Simple Practice, it will be automatically provided.


Purchasing a Custom Domain from GoDaddy

  • Navigate to GoDaddy.com and click find your domain
  • Use the search bar to find an available domain name that suits your practice
  • Click Add to cart and follow the onscreen prompts to purchase the domain name. You can choose the basic package without adding on any of the additional features that are offered by GoDaddy

Connecting a Custom Domain

Now that you’ve purchased a custom domain through a third party provider, you can follow the steps below to connect your Custom Domain to your SimplePractice account.

We’ve outlined the specific connection steps for connecting domains hosted by GoDaddy and Google Domains, but the same setup requirements will apply for other providers. If you have any specific questions about connecting a custom domain from a different third party domain provider, you may need to work with your domain provider’s support team so they can help you to navigate their platform.

Note: After these steps are complete, it’ll take some time for the new connection to process. This will typically take 24 hours but, in some instances, may take up to 72 hours. Please keep this timing in mind when planning your target go-live date for linking your custom domain to your Professional Website.


Connecting a Custom Domain hosted by GoDaddy

  • Navigate to your My Products page in GoDaddy
  • Scroll down to All Products and Services
  • Locate the Domains section
  • Next to the domain you want to connect to your SimplePractice account, click DNS

dnssettings.simplepractice.domains.png

Note: Your options may look slightly different depending on your GoDaddy account settings. 

  • Review the table in the Records section to check if you already have a listing with either of the following properties:
    • Type: CNAME
      • Name: www
    • Type: A 
      • Name: @
  • If so, click the edit icon to the right of it

editrecord.simplepractice.domains.png

  • Edit the information to match the following:
Type Name Points to TTL
CNAME www

website.simplepractice.com (exactly as written)

½ Hour
A @

99.83.227.95

½ Hour
  • If there are no records, or only one record, select ADD and enter the record(s) with the information above

If you cannot edit an existing A record, it may be because you have domain forwarding enabled.  To remove domain forwarding:

  • Scroll down the page to the Forwarding box
  • Select the Edit pencil icon
  • Delete the existing forwarding

Note: If you didn’t have, or removed forwarding and still cannot edit the A record, contact Godaddy support for additional steps to edit your A record.

  • When completed, you should have at least two records in the table with fields matching the CNAME and A records below:

managedns.simplepractice.domains.png

Return to your SimplePractice account.

  • Navigate to Settings > Domains
  • In the field at the bottom, enter your full custom domain name including the www. at the beginning
  • Click Connect Domain

connectdomain.simplepractice.domains.jpg

Note: Until the connection processes and is linked successfully, you’ll see the status indicated as Pending. We’ll notify you via email if the connection is successful, or if there are any other steps you’ll need to take in order for it to be set up properly.

Important: If you make any changes to your domain settings after clicking Connect Domain, you'll need to disconnect the domain and connect it again. Changes in domain settings are not frequently sent to SimplePractice, and are received by SimplePractice during the 72 hour connection process.


Connecting a Custom Domain hosted by Google

  • Click this link to view your My Domains page in Google
  • Next to the domain you want to connect to SimplePractice, click Manage
    • If you only have one domain you’ll be in the manage domain page by default

managedomain.simplepractice.google.png

Note: Your options may look slightly different depending on your Google account settings. 

  • In the menu on the left, choose DNS

dnssettings.simplepractice.google.png

  • Scroll down until you get to the Custom resource records section

customresource.simplepractice.google.png

  • Create a custom record
  • In the fields at the top, add the following information:
Host Type TTL Data
www CNAME 1H


website.simplepractice.com (exactly as written)

 


completedcustomresource.simplepractice.google.png

  • Select Website from the menu options on the left
  • Click Forward domain
  • In the Forward from section click Edit 
  • Select the trash can icon next to the field including www
  • In the Forward to section type your custom domain with the www prefix 
  • Click Advanced options and make the following selections:.
    • Permanent redirect (301)
    • Forward Path
    • SSL On
  • Click Forward

Return to your SimplePractice account.

  • Navigate to Settings > Domains
  • In the field at the bottom, enter your full custom domain name including the “www.” at the beginning
  • Click Connect Domain

connectdomain.simplepractice.domains.jpg

Note: Until the connection processes and is linked successfully, you’ll see the status indicated as Pending. We’ll notify you via email if the connection is successful, or if there are any other steps you’ll need to take in order for it to be set up properly.

Important: If you make any changes to your domain settings after clicking Connect Domain, you will need to disconnect the domain and connect it again.  Changes in domain settings are not automatically sent to SimplePractice, and are only received by SimplePractice during the 72 hour connection process.


Connecting a Custom Domain hosted by other domain providers

There are many different domain providers available for you to choose from and we cannot provide specific directions for all of them. We do not directly endorse GoDaddy or Google Domains, but these are two of the most common domain providers that are effective for connecting to your SimplePractice Professional Website.

If you already have a subscription with a different third party domain provider, you may follow these general steps for connecting the domain with the SimplePractice Professional Website. If you need additional assistance beyond the steps provided here, we recommend that you contact your domain provider’s support team directly so they can help you navigate their platform when managing your DNS settings.

  • Log in to your domain provider’s account and locate the domain you want to connect to SimplePractice
  • In the domain’s settings, locate the area where you can manage your DNS
  • You should see a table that looks similar to the one below. There may be a separate table just for CNAME and/or A records

advancedDNS.simplepractice.customdomain.png

  • Check the list of records to see if there is a record with the either of the following properties:
    • Type: CNAME
      • Host: www
    • Type: A
      • Host: @
  • If there is a record like either of the above, edit them so they include the following information in the table below 
    • Please note that the fields may have different names or may be in a different order, depending on the domain provider
Name Type TTL Domain/Data
www CNAME 1H website.simplepractice.com (exactly as written)
@ A 1H 99.83.227.95

Note: Make sure you type the address exactly as follows: website.simplepactice.com. TTL may not have 1H or 1 Hour as an option. In this case, select the next shortest timeframe.

  • If there are no records, or only one record, find a button where you can ADD a new record with the information above
    • Please note that the fields may have different names or may be in a different order, depending on the domain provider
  • When completed, you should have at least two records in the table with fields matching the A and CNAME records below:

connectingcustomdomain.simplepractice.professionalwebsite.png

Return to your SimplePractice account.

  • Navigate to Settings > Domains
  • In the field at the bottom, enter your full custom domain name including the www. at the beginning
  • Click Connect Domain

Note: Until the connection processes and is linked successfully, you’ll see the status indicated as Pending. We’ll notify you via email if the connection is successful, or if there are any other steps you’ll need to take in order for it to be set up properly.

Important: If you make any changes to your domain settings after clicking Connect Domain, you will need to disconnect the domain and connect it again.  Changes in domain settings are not automatically sent to SimplePractice, and are only received by SimplePractice during the 72 hour connection process.


Active Domains

After your Custom Domain has been linked to your SimplePractice account, it must remain actively registered with your domain provider for the entirety of the time that you’d like to use it for your Professional Website and/or Client Portal. If your subscription with your domain provider expires, this will cause the link to become disconnected from your website.

  • If a custom domain is successfully connected, both the custom domain and the built-in domain will work 
  • If a custom domain has not been connected, only the built-in domain will work 

Understanding the status of your Custom Domain

Failed - Failed means the Custom Domain failed to connect, indicating that something was entered incorrectly in the DNS settings through your domain provider. You'll see one of the following explanations:
  • “A CNAME record could not be found. Follow the instructions again to add this record”
  • The CNAME record points to {url}, but should point to "website.simplepractice.com" exactly as written
  • Your custom domain {custom_url} could not be found. Please confirm that you followed the instructions and entered the correct domain.
    • Next steps: Double check that you've entered your custom domain correctly in your Domains settings within your SimplePractice account. You will need to enter the full domain including the www. at the beginning and the appropriate ending based on which custom domain you own the rights to
Disconnected - This status means something was changed such that the URL no longer works.
  • Next steps: Log into your domain manager account and double check that the DNS settings are still correct and that you still own the rights to the custom domain

FAQs


How do I disconnect a Custom Domain from the Professional Website?

If you successfully connect a custom domain as the domain for your SimplePractice Professional Website and later decide that you would like to disconnect the custom domain and use a different website provider, you can do so at any time.

To disconnect a custom domain from your SimplePractice account:

  • Navigate to Settings > Domains
  • Under Custom Domains, slide the toggle to the off position to disable the connection
  • Next, you can work with a representative from your domain provider's support team to remove the custom CNAME record type and the naked domain forwarding from your DNS settings
    • Please keep in mind that, because these settings are managed by a third party, this is a process that SimplePractice cannot assist with

This will make your custom domain available again, so that you can connect it to a website hosted by a different website builder.

Note: Once the custom domain is disconnected from SimplePractice, your Professional Website and Client Portal will be accessed using the default domain included in your SimplePractice account. It’ll be important to tell your clients that your Professional Website and Client Portal domain has changed.

If you choose to reconnect at a later date, you can follow the instructions in this guide to connect the custom domain again.


If I leave SimplePractice can I take my domain with me?

If you choose to leave SimplePractice, or decide to use a different website provider, you can disconnect your custom domain from your account, so that it can be connected to a different website.

However, if the domain for your Professional Website is set up using the default domain provided by SimplePractice, this URL will not be available to set up with a different website builder. In this case, you’ll want to purchase a custom domain to connect to your website builder, or use the default domain that is provided by the website builder you choose to use. 

If the domain for your website is changing, it will be important to make sure that you relay the address change to your clients and potential leads.


Can I transfer my Custom Domain to be hosted by SimplePractice?

SimplePractice is now compatible for custom domains to be used as the domain for the Professional Website, but SimplePractice is not a domain provider itself. Transferring a custom domain to be hosted by SimplePractice is not possible.

If you'd like to connect a custom domain to your Professional Website, it’ll need to remain actively registered through a third party domain provider.

There are many domain providers that you can choose from as long as they offer full DNS access and naked domain forwarding. If your existing domain provider does not offer this functionality for websites hosted by third parties, you'll need to transfer your domain to a domain provider that does. We recommend using Google Domains or GoDaddy as two reputable options that work well when connected to the Professional Website.

If you need assistance with transferring a custom domain to a new domain provider, you'll want to reach out to the support teams from your old domain provider and the new domain provider for step by step assistance with this process. Please keep in mind that, because this is managed through third parties outside of SimplePractice, this is a process that SimplePractice cannot assist with.

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