Steps to Setup Custom Hostname and SSL Certificate for your Virtual Classroom (VC) API Domain
You can easily map your external domain to the BrainCert sub-domain using a CNAME entry in your DNS server in order to receive the performance and security benefits of BrainCert. CNAME stands for 'canonical name' and is a redirection to the zone file of the entered target domain.
After you have added the CNAME entry in your DNS server, click the 'Hostname & SSL Certificate' button in the Virtual Classroom API area and BrainCert will attempt to issue an SSL certificate for the custom hostname without any other validation or private key requirements. It's that simple!
HTML5 Virtual Classroom relies on SSL (HTTPS) to function and it will not work with external domains. BrainCert recommends using our native enterprise SSL feature for this service.
Follow the instructions below:
- Step 1 - Create a Domain in the VC API
- Step 2 - Create a CNAME record in your DNS server
- Step 3 - Generate SSL Certificate
- Step 4 - Turn off CloudFlare orange cloud
- Step 5 - Testing your SSL hostname
- Check CNAME mapping
- Check SSL Certificate
Step 1: Create a Domain in the VC API
Navigate to Virtual Classroom API from BrainCert.
Click on 'Create Domain' to create a VC API domain.
Please note that SSL certificate is only available to paid subscribers. If you are in a free plan please update your Virtual Classroom API plan to get a SSL certificate for your custom hostname.
If you already have a premium subscription, please click on the Hostname and SSL certificate.
Enter your custom hostname and click on 'Set custom hostname'.
Type the custom hostname that you would like to use and click "Set custom hostname". You don't need to type http:// or https:// as a part of the hostname. In this example, we have used live.testdomain.com as the custom hostname.
Step 2: Create a CNAME Record in your DNS Server
You can easily CNAME your domain to the API endpoint api.braincert.com in order to receive the performance and security benefits of BrainCert. After you add the CNAME entry to your DNS server, click the 'Request SSL Certificate' button above. Once you click the button, BrainCert will attempt to issue an SSL certificate for the custom hostname without any other validation or private key requirements.
Log in to your domain registrar's site and locate the Zone File Settings, DNS Manager, or similar area of your control panel. Here you will create a CNAME record that points your domain to api.braincert.com. You'll generally see three fields:
- Alias - For example, www or live(indicating that the www.yourdomain.com or live.yourdomain.com record should point to api.braincert.com)
- Record Type- Should be CNAME(indicating that you would like to point to BrainCert by using its name)
- Points To - Should be api.braincert.com
| Note: Depending on your provider you may already have a CNAME set up with your domain Alias. If so, you will need to edit this existing CNAME so that 'Points To' is api.braincert.com
Step 3: Generate SSL Certificate
After completing step 2, it is time to generate your free enterprise SSL certificate. Until today, your best bet with other platforms was to CNAME your hostname to their infrastructure, having you generate a private key and CSR, send the latter to a CA for signing, and then securely provide them with the key material (and again upon renewal). Or maybe you have engineering resources to spend and can build and maintain a solution to generate and securely store private keys, acquire and renew certificates, and push them to a CDN so TLS can be terminated in a performant manner (i.e., as close to your customers’ users as possible). Whichever route you choose, the technical complexity and burden of maintenance are high—either for your customers or your engineering and support teams.
BrainCert's free enterprise SSL certificate was built with these difficulties in mind and solves this with the simplicity that you would expect. With our highly secure SSL certificate, all you have to do is CNAME your domain to the VC API sub-domain in order to receive the performance and security benefits of BrainCert. Furthermore, there is no need to send us your SSL certificate key or CSR.
Click on the button Request SSL Certificate to get started.
Once done, click on the "Finish" green button in the popup to finish the SSL setup process. Once the CNAME is in place BrainCert takes care of the rest. We’ll provision the hostname at our edge for forwarding to your specified origin, acquire SSL certificates to enable HTTPS and HTTP/2, and sit in front of any DDoS or L7 attacks that may target your custom hostname. All the benefits of BrainCert's enterprise network, including CDN and content optimization, are extended to your custom hostname without you having to do anything other than adding a simple DNS record.
Additionally, because this SSL solution is built on BrainCert’s industry-leading SSL/TLS implementation, your customers visiting your custom VC API hostname (external domain) will benefit from all of the work we’ve done to make HTTPS fast, secure, and reliable such as deploying OCSP stapling, implementing TLS 1.3 (and 0-RTT), and optimizing TLS over TCP. Most importantly, by terminating these TLS connections as physically close to your customers as possible (as opposed to directly on your origin), your customers will benefit from the most interconnected network on the internet.
Click on the "Hostname and SSL Certificate" tab on the left navigation. You will now see that your domain field is greyed out and cannot be edited. This is because the SSL certificate is now active your this hostname. You will also see the info icon on the right side of the hostname field which also confirms that the SSL certificate is now active.
When you click on the info icon or "Request SSL Certificate" button again, you will see a popup with the success message.
Step 4: Turn off CloudFlare Orange Cloud
If you currently use CloudFlare for SSL proxying, we recommend you turn off the orange cloud to the grey cloud to receive the performance and security benefits of BrainCert. Please note that this is required only for the CNAME record that is pointing to api.braincert.com. You may continue to use CloudFlare for all your other records if needed.
Step 5 - Testing your SSL hostname
Check CNAME mapping
You can use the dig tool by using your command prompt in Windows or Mac terminal to check the CNAME mapping. You should see your hostname with the correct CNAME mapping to your API hostname api.braincert.com.
Check SSL Certificate
Open your browser and go to your external API domain with https:// in the front. You will see a green lock icon that confirms a secure SSL connection.
If you see a browser error similar to the message below, it means that your SSL certificate is not set up correctly. The connection is not secure and the virtual classroom will not work.