One of your first project planning considerations will be obtaining an SSL Certificate for the new website domain.  If you're hosted, Blackbaud product support can help you obtain new SSL Certificates from our SSL certificate provider, GeoTrust, and following the guidelines here will help you navigate this process quickly and smoothly

Step 1: Check the availability of your desired domain name
Purchase and register your domain with your DNS provider. 

  • For assistance: Please contact the appropriate software vendor or IT professional for assistance with this process or issue, which is beyond Blackbaud's scope of support.

It is important to remember to check the availability of the second-level domain (e.g. the “blackbaud” in and any third-level domain (e.g. the “www” in that you want to use before proceeding with the remaining steps. Use a WHOIS search for your desired domain to ensure that you can obtain the domain before proceeding. When you run a WHOIS search using the second-level and top-level domains of your desired BBNC website domain, evaluate the results using these guidelines:

  1. If the listed Registrant, Admin, and Tech contacts are personnel at your organization, then your organization already controls this domain.
  2. If the listed Registrant, Admin, and Tech contacts are not personnel at your organization, and a Registrar is listed for the domain, contact the listed Registrar to determine if the domain is available for your organization to purchase or lease.
  3. If the domain in question is not found in the WHOIS lookup, this indicates that the domain is not currently registered to any organization.  Contact your preferred domain name registrar [e.g. GoDaddy, Network Solutions,] to purchase or lease the domain.


Step 2: Ensure the WHOIS information for your domain is up to date
Once you have verified that your organization has control of the desired domain, you’ll want to ensure that the information listed for the Registrant Contact, Admin Contact, and Tech Contact in the WHOIS search results is up to date.  If you're hosted by Blackbaud, these personnel will need to be available to answer questions from our SSL certificate provider, GeoTrust, and GeoTrust will use the information in the public WHOIS search to determine who to contact with specific questions and instructions at that time.  
If your NetCommunity site is not hosted by Blackbaud, the requirements may be different, depending on the issuer of the certificate.
If you find that a name, email address, or telephone number for one of these contacts in the WHOIS search results needs to be updated, contact the Registrar that you purchased or leased the domain from for instructions about how to update the relevant WHOIS information.

Step 3 (If hosted by Blackbaud): Contact NetCommunity product support to initiate the request for a new SSL certificate
Configure and install the SSL certificate.  

If Blackbaud hosts your website: Request an SSL certificate change and await response from support before proceeding to the next step. When you contact Blackbaud NetCommunity product support to request assistance obtaining the new SSL Certificate, support will need to know the exact domain name that you wish to use for your NetCommunity site.  Product support will also take this opportunity to ask if you have completed the prerequisite steps listed above. 

Please be aware that service charges may apply depending on the details of the NetCommunity product package that your organization purchased. If product support observes this in your SSL certificate request that may require additional service charges, product support will ask your Account Executive or Account Manager to contact you to assist with authorizing these service charges before proceeding with the SSL certificate request.

Once the previous steps are complete, Blackbaud will send a request to GeoTrust to create an SSL certificate for the domain that you have specified.  GeoTrust will contact the the organization with instructions for validating the domain. Please note that it may take up to 10-12 business days for GeoTrust to initiate this contact. GeoTrust will provide Blackbaud with the corresponding SSL certificate once that process is complete.  Blackbaud’s web server administrators will install the new SSL certificate to the appropriate web server(s) for your NetCommunity web site and will alert product support when the installation and configuration are completed.

If NetCommunity is not hosted by Blackbaud, Reach out to the certificate issuer of your choosing and proceed according to their processes. Replace the old SSL certificate on your website with the new one.

Step 4: Update DNS for your desired domain

  • Point the new domain at your current server.  Point the CNAME to the new domain to your current servers IP address.
  • Redirect the old domain name to the new domain name, if needed.

Once the new SSL Certificate is installed and configured on the web server, product support will contact you to provide the hostname and IP address information that you’ll need to configure the DNS for your new domain to resolve to the NetCommunity web server.  The details of how to update your DNS will vary between different domain name registrars, so you’ll want to contact the registrar’s customer support resources for assistance with questions about how to update the DNS.   (Please note that changes to DNS records may take up to 24 hours to propagate globally.)

Step 5: Update the Primary Site URL in Blackbaud NetCommunity
The last thing you’ll need to do is tell NetCommunity to start using the new domain.  Full steps for this are provided on pages 43-44 of the Administration Guide, but here is a quick list of the general steps:

  1. Log in to the NetCommunity website as a supervisor
  2. Click Administration > Sites & settings
  3. Select the relevant NetCommunity website in the left frame
  4. Enter the new site URL in the Primary site URL field
  5. Click the Save button to apply the new URL