pardot tracker domain (cname) and vanity url

Create a Tracker Domain (CNAME) and Vanity URL for Branded Pardot Hosted Links

A strong brand is reinforced by taking attention to details. For companies using Pardot, that means setting up a Tracker Domain and utilizing Vanity URLs.

In this post, you’ll learn how to turn (ugly) URLs that look like this: into (pretty) URLs that look like this:

What is a Pardot Tracker Domain?

Out-of-the-box Pardot hosts all content on their domain. When you create emails, landing pages, forms, or upload content into Pardot, they will be housed on that domain.

Read More: How does Pardot Track Visitors? Implementing the Tracking Code on your Website

For some this is fine, but many marketing teams prefer to keep links branded, especially for assets like landing pages. That way, landing pages can appear to come from your brands website. Examples include:


Setup Pardot Tracker Domain or CNAME Record

Setting up a tracker domain is really easier than you may think. All you need to do is setup a CNAME record with your hosting provider, and then a corresponding .txt record as verification. In many companies someone from IT would handle this part, and as a marketer, you would only be responsible for verifying the record has propagated.

The most important consideration is what you want to use as a subdomain. We listed a few examples above, but take the time to think about what makes sense.

Keep in mind, you can have more than one tracker domain, but depending on what edition Pardot you have will determine how many.

GoDaddy Setup for Pardot Tracker Domain (CNAME)

Note: Other DNS providers may have different requirements in configuration settings. These instructions are for GoDaddy, however, they’re most-likely very similar to other providers.

If your website is hosted on GoDaddy, navigate to ‘My Domains’ and then select “Manage DNS” for the applicable domain. You’ll land on the DNS configuration screen.

Click ‘Add Record’ and select ‘CNAME’ as the type. Your ‘Host’ is what you want your subdomain to display as ( ‘Points to’ and TTL should display as they do below:

CNAME Record

Next, navigate to Admin > Domain Management and click ‘Add Tracker Domain’. Enter in the corresponding domain that you used in the CNAME record. You will then see a validation key similar to this (details are blurred):

Pardot Tracker Domain Validation Key

Now go back to GoDaddy (or your hosts DNS manager) and click ‘Add Record’ again and this time select ‘TXT’ as the type. Your configuration should read as it does below, but with your accounts specific validation key (details are blurred):

TXT Record

Assuming things went according to plan, you’ll have a new validated URL when you go back to Pardot and validate. However, you still need to set it as your primary tracker domain. If you have a SSL configured site, then it’s recommended that you enable SSL at this point as well.

With your tracker domain enabled, you can now use vanity URLs!

What is a Pardot Vanity URL?

Vanity URLs are the text after the root tracker domain. If you use WordPress, think of permalinks. If you don’t, the bold text below illustrates an example:

Being able to edit the vanity URL is useful for number of reasons. For instance, if you’re tracking website analytics, you can more easily understand which pages visitors are viewing by reading the URL, as opposed to a random string of letters and numbers. Another benefit is being able to give prospects a more descriptive URL.

How to Configure Pardot Vanity URLs

First and foremost, you need a custom tracker domain configured to use vanity URLs (instructions above). Beyond that, these are actually very simple to setup.

In the edit screen of a landing page, file, custom redirect, or email preference center page… select a tracker domain and then enter a vanity URL. Simple as that!

You should now have a fully branded vanity URL in Pardot.

Relevant Documentation