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Learn how to implement your custom CONTENTdm URL that is branded for your organization.

OCLC recommends you select a custom CONTENTdm URL that is branded for your organization to make it easier for users to remember and to have more impact in your marketing and awareness campaigns. For any new custom domain requests, OCLC requires a secure domain with SSL to support HTTPS.

When you subscribed to CONTENTdm, your end-user website was assigned a URL automatically. This system-assigned URL contains a five-digit ID number and looks similar to the following:

There are two ways to get a custom CONTENTdm URL: Easy and Advanced.

Easy: Use a URL in the OCLC domain

The easiest way to get a URL branded for your organization is to choose one in the OCLC domain. Select a word to represent your site to your users that can be pre-pended to “” For example, the CONTENTdm site at the system-assigned URL,, is the sandbox site OCLC uses for demonstrating a variety of CONTENTdm customizations. By replacing "cdm10010" with "sandbox," a custom CONTENTdm URL was created for the sandbox site that is easy to remember:

The URL you select will resolve to your CONTENTdm website just like the system-assigned URL you were initially given. When you select a URL in the OCLC domain, it includes free support for HTTPS to secure user logins and to protect end user privacy. If you would like to choose a custom CONTENTdm URL in the OCLC domain, please contact OCLC Support.

Advanced: Use a URL in your institution’s domain

If you prefer to use a URL from your institution’s domain for your CONTENTdm site, you will need support from your IT staff and OCLC networking staff to set this up.

Your IT staff needs to be able to make edits to your DNS and needs to be able to supply OCLC with a PKCS #12 file for the custom URL you have chosen.

Here are the steps to configure a custom CONTENTdm URL in your institution’s domain.

Step 1: Select a custom CONTENTdm URL with your communications team and IT staff

You may have ideas for the URL in your institution’s domain that you’d like to use for your CONTENTdm site. Since this will be the public address of your site, you will want to make sure that it fits with branding for your institution’s other websites. And, your IT staff may have certain limitations on names for a variety of technical and cost reasons, so check with them.

 Note:  Your custom CONTENTdm URL can be a “dedicated domain,” e.g.,, or a “third-level domain,” e.g. If your IT staff cannot generate the PKCS #12 file for a third-level domain, then you can choose a “dedicated domain,” or use the easy path outlined above to select a custom CONTENTdm URL in the OCLC domain.

Step 2: Gather a PKCS #12 file for your custom CONTENTdm URL

Your IT Staff has the tools to create your custom CONTENTdm URL in your institution’s DNS system and to purchase and configure an SSL security certificate for the URL. Part of the SSL security certificate process is generating a PKCS #12 file to share with an external service provider, so the service provider can allow HTTPS requests to your site in their data center. Once you have selected your custom CONTENTdm URL, ask your IT staff to generate a PKCS #12 file to share with OCLC. See Configure CONTENTdm with SSL to support HTTPS for guidance to help you coordinate with your IT staff and OCLC Support.

Step 3: Contact OCLC to implement your custom CONTENTdm URL

Contact OCLC Support to initiate the process. When you provide us with your custom CONTENTdm URL, we will coordinate with you to share your PKCS #12 file via a secure mechanism: either by retrieving the file from your secure site or letting your IT staff send the file to an OCLC-supplied secure site. Once we have your custom CONTENTdm URL and your PKCS #12 file, they will be installed into OCLC’s systems to prepare for receiving requests. We will notify you when these installations are complete so you can take the next step.

Step 4: Coordinate with your IT staff to make your site live at its new custom CONTENTdm URL

The final step in the process is for your IT staff to configure your DNS systems to direct requests for your custom CONTENTdm URL to your CONTENTdm site. The moment they have completed the DNS configuration, your site becomes live at its new custom CONTENTdm URL. So make sure you are ready, too.

 Note: Your IT staff needs to use a “cname” command in DNS to enable your custom CONTENTdm URL. Other methods are possible but not sustainable because of OCLC’s operating environment. For example, if your custom CONTENTdm URL is “” and your system-assigned CONTENTdm URL is, then they will need to create a DNS rule that looks like: in cname

The IT staff must use your system-assigned CONTENTdm URL. Any other intermediate URLs or IP addresses that the IT staff may uncover may be changed by OCLC without notice, so they are poor targets to use in DNS setup for your custom CONTENTdm URL.


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