Custom domain troubleshooting

This article provides information and advice regarding common custom domain issues and concerns.

How to check pending domains

Domain verification can take up to 24—48 hours.

Click Verify setup, and the status may change from, Pending to Verified.

If your domain remains in Pending status for longer than expected:

  • Check the spelling of the domain to ensure it is correct.
  • Double-check that you have input the CNAME records into your domain DNS settings correctly – no spelling errors or extra spaces or characters.
  • Ensure there are no conflicting records, such as A records or other CNAME records, for the same subdomain.
  • Ensure that your DNS records are “live” and publicly accessible. This is required in order for email clients to be able to independently check for an email's authentication. The DNS record needs to propagate on the domain in order for it to be verified. This is not something that the Ortto team can have any impact on.
    You can use any third-party DNS record checker to verify the records. Here’s two we recommend you use to check on the first CNAME record: 
  • Once you see your CNAME record in the third-party checker, it means that it's being reported by the domain. From then, should you have any further issues, our team can assist with verifying it from our end. 
  • Try deleting and re-adding the custom domain in Ortto. Then update and check your domain DNS records to ensure they match those provided in Ortto.

Error: Failed to lookup CNAME

If you receive an error message saying “Couldn’t verify domain: Failed to lookup CNAME”, you'll need to double-check your domain's DNS settings and ensure that you've correctly set up the CNAME record for your custom domain. 

To do so:

  1. Log in to your domain provider’s website or dashboard.
  2. Navigate to your domain’s DNS settings.
  3. Check if you have a CNAME record for your custom domain pointing to the correct value provided by Ortto. 
  4. If not, create a new CNAME record with the following details:
    • For the Host/Name/Alias field: enter the subdomain provided by Ortto.
    • For the Value/Points to/Target/Data field: enter the value provided by Ortto.

Please note that the exact steps may vary depending on your domain provider.

DNS changes can take up to 24-48 hours to propagate across the internet. Once you've made the necessary changes, you can try verifying your custom domain again in your Ortto account.

If you're still experiencing issues after following these steps, please provide us with the CNAME record details you've set up and we'll help you troubleshoot the problem further.

Error: CNAME rule has invalid or missing value

This issue may arise if you have had your Autopilot Journeys account unified with your Ortto account. Custom domains that were verified for use when sending emails from Autopilot will not be verified for use when sending email from Ortto. 

The recommended solution is to delete and re-add these custom domains in Ortto. This will give you a fresh set of CNAME records, which you then add to your DNS settings accordingly. 

Another reason that you may encounter this error is if you created a CNAME record in your DNS settings which contains a value that is not expected by Ortto (e.g. it does not match the Value provided in Ortto). The tips listed under How to check pending domains can help you to resolve this issue.

Error: Duplicated domain detected

If a pending domain has an error message at one of the records saying that a duplicated domain is detected, this means that you have accidentally input the domain twice in the record. For example, in your DNS settings, for the respective CNAME Host value you have input instead of

To resolve this, edit the record in your DNS settings to remove the extra domain text, and ensure the record matches what you have been provided in Ortto. 

Other errors

If a pending domain has an issue that you cannot resolve yourself, e.g. it is not fixed by deleting the domain and adding it again, or checking that your CNAME records have been correctly configured in your DNS settings, you may require assistance from Ortto’s Support team. Please get in touch with Support by stating a conversation or emailing and our team will investigate your issue. 

Email clients such as Microsoft (used by Hotmail and Outlook), can sometimes flag links within your email messages as “unsafe”.

This usually occurs when you are using a custom domain that does not have a tracking subdomain.

To resolve this issue, add a tracking subdomain to the existing custom domain you have registered with Ortto. To do so:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Custom domains.
  2. At the relevant domain, click the more icon (), then Edit.
  3. Select Enable this domain for activity tracking and widget hosting.
  4. At Tracking subdomain, input your subdomain.
  5. Click OK.

When you've added a tracking subdomain, Ortto will generate an additional CNAME record which you need to add to your DNS settings. Once you have done this, your “unsafe links” issue should be resolved.

My domain has become unverified

If your previously-verified domain becomes unverified, it often means there have been changes to the domain’s DNS records. Please check your domain settings to ensure that the CNAME records match what has been provided in Ortto.