Custom Domains

Note

These setup directions are for our community site. If you want to setup a custom domain under our commercial hosting, please read our commercial documentation.

Read the Docs supports a number of custom domains for your convenience. Shorter URLs make everyone happy, and we like making people happy!

Subdomain Support

Every project has a subdomain that is available to serve its documentation. If you go to <slug>.readthedocs.io, it should show you the latest version of documentation. A good example is https://pip.readthedocs.io

Note

If you have an old project that has an underscore (_) in the name, it will use a subdomain with a hyphen (-). RFC 1035 has more information on valid subdomains.

Custom Domain Support

You can also host your documentation from your own domain by adding a domain to your project:

  • Add a CNAME record in your DNS that points the domain to: readthedocs.io
  • Add a project domain in the Domains project admin page for your project.

Note

We don’t currently support pointing subdomains or naked domains to a project using A records. It’s best to point a subdomain, docs.example.com for example, using a CNAME record.

Using pip as an example, https://pip.pypa.io resolves, but is hosted on our infrastructure.

As another example, fabric’s dig record looks like this:

-> dig docs.fabfile.org
...
;; ANSWER SECTION:
docs.fabfile.org.   7200    IN  CNAME   readthedocs.io.

Custom Domain SSL

By default, when you setup a custom domain to host documentation at Read the Docs, we will attempt to provision a domain validated SSL certificate for the domain. This service is generously provided by Cloudflare.

After configuring your custom domain on Read the Docs, you can see the status of the certificate on the domain page in your project admin dashboard (Domains > Edit Domain).

If your domain has configured CAA records, please do not forget to include Cloudflare CAA entries, see their Certification Authority Authorization (CAA) FAQ.

Note

Some older setups configured a CNAME record pointing to readthedocs.org or another variation. While these continue to resolve, they do not yet allow us to acquire SSL certificates for those domains. Point the CNAME to readthedocs.io and re-request a certificate by saving the domain in the project admin (Domains > Edit Domain).

If you change the CNAME record, the SSL certificate issuance can take about one hour.

Important

Due to a limitation, a domain cannot be proxied on Cloudflare to another Cloudflare account that also proxies. This results in a “CNAME Cross-User Banned” error. In order to do SSL termination, we must proxy this connection. If you don’t want us to do SSL termination for your domain – which means you are responsible for the SSL certificate – then set your CNAME to cloudflare-to-cloudflare.readthedocs.io instead of readthedocs.io.

For more details, see this previous issue.

Proxy SSL

If you would prefer to do your own SSL termination on a server you own and control, you can do that although the setup is a bit more complex.

Broadly, the steps are:

  • Have a server listening on 443 that you control
  • Procure an SSL certificate for your domain and provision it and the private key on your server.
  • Add a domain that you wish to point at Read the Docs
  • Enable proxying to us, with a custom X-RTD-SLUG header

An example nginx configuration for pip would look like:

 server {
     server_name pip.pypa.io;
     location / {
         proxy_pass https://pip.readthedocs.io:443;
         proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
         proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto https;
         proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
         proxy_set_header X-Scheme $scheme;
         proxy_set_header X-RTD-SLUG pip;
         proxy_connect_timeout 10s;
         proxy_read_timeout 20s;
     }
 }

rtfd.org

You can also use rtfd.io and rtfd.org for short URLs for Read the Docs. For example, https://pip.rtfd.io redirects to its documentation page. Any use of rtfd.io or rtfd.org will simply be redirected to readthedocs.io.