CFLO's How-To Guides

Phase 1: Secure your custom URL

  1. Purchase Domain from Dynadot using my referral code
  2. Register all matching social media handles (instagram, twitter, tiktok, etc) as well as the matching generic address
  3. Sign up for a DigitalOcean account using my referral code
  4. Add Domain to DigitalOcean
  5. Add Nameservers in Dynadot

1.1: Purchase your Domain (custom URL)

  • Domain names can be purchased from a variety of places, including GoDaddy, Namecheap, Squrespace, etc. but I like to use this website called Dynadot
  • Pick your custom Domain name ( and make sure the site is available so you can purchase and own the .com
  • Use my referral code to buy your Domain from Dynadot.

1.2: Register your social media and gmail

  • Register all of the matching social media handles, and also the generic address with Google.
  • Lock your new custom name DOWN everywhere possible.
  • You will own your Domain name, but you do not own your Social handles. Each platform (Instagram, Twitter, etc) technically owns all of the handles, and lets users register them for free. This means other people can register your social handle. In the future if you were to secure a trademark or copyright for your brand name, there are mechanisms in place with each of these tech giants that allow you to seize your handle/name! But you *cannot* seize a domain. You have to purchase it outright, or negotiate a purchase if someone already owns it.
  • I am not going to cover this process. It is just a matter of locking down the usernames on all available platforms.

1.3: Sign up for DigitalOcean

  • Sign up for DigitalOcean using my referral code (you’ll get the first two months free!)
  • We will use DigitalOcean to host our website and also to manage our DNS – the system that routes web traffic in inquiries

1.4: Add your Domain to DigitalOcean

  • Inside of DigitalOcean, make a New Project in the sidebar, navigate to Networking>Domains and add your Domain to the project
  • Take note of the three NS records (ns1, ns2, ns3 These are called NameServers
  • Copy the NS1 address from DigitalOcean
  • Read more on DigitalOcean with this support article

1.5: Add your NS Records to Dynadot

  • Open Dynadot, and click into the DNS settings
  • Change from Dynadot Parking to Nameservers
  • Paste in the NS1 address and remove the . at the end
  • Repeat this for NS2 and NS3 nameservers and click Save
  • Read more on Dynadot with this support article and this youtube

Phase 1 Recap

  • At this point, we have a Domain setup that is being managed with DNS records at DigitalOcean. You purchased it via Dynadot, but any web traffic coming in is getting pushed over to DigitalOcean to be routed
  • Next, we are going to set up MX records to point email towards Google

Phase 2: Set Up Custom Email

  1. Add gmail MX records to DO (how-to)
  2. Sign up for Google Workspace ( $6/mo plan
  3. Verify Domain in GoogleAdmin and activate Gmail
  4. Add SPF record in DigitalOcean (how-to)
  5. Add DMARC record in DigitalOcean (how-to)
  6. Add DKIM record in DigitalOcean (how-to) and turn on DKIM Authentication in GoogleAdmin
  7. Register alias email addresses under GoogleAdmin (how-to)
  8. Set up a catch-all email redirect in GoogleAdmin (how-to)

2.1 Add Gmail MX records to DigitalOcean

  • To prepare your DigitalOcean DNS records to integrate with Google, navigate to the MX records tab
  • Click “Add Gmail MX Records” to automatically populate the gmail records
  • It will add in 5 records to the list, that look like “”,,, etc
  • Now you’re ready to sign up for GoogleAdmin mail hosting
  • If you want to learn more, check out this support article on DigitalOcean

2.2 Sign up for Google Admin

  • Use this link to sign up for Google Workspace (bookmark for login)
  • Choose the $6/mo plan
  • Fill out your personal, business, and credit card info

2.3 Verify Domain in GoogleAdmin

  • In GoogleAdmin, select “I have a domain I can use” and enter your domain 
  • Verify Domain in GoogleAdmin and activate Gmail using TXT records

2.4 Add Gmail SPF record in DigitalOcean

  • SPF Records specify the servers and domains that are authorized to send email on behalf of your organization
  • Add a new TXT record with the following data
    • VALUE:  v=spf1 ~all
    • HOSTNAME:  @
  • Read more on Google’s support article

2.5 Add Gmail DMARC record in DigitalOcean

  • DMARC lets you tell receiving servers what to do with outgoing messages from your organization that don’t pass SPF or DKIM
  • Add a new TXT record with the following data, customizing YOURDOMAIN in the text below
    • VALUE:  v=DMARC1; p=reject;; pct=100; adkim=s; aspf=s
    • HOSTNAME:  _dmarc
  • Read more about DMARC here on this support document

2.6 Enable DKIM authentication

  • DKIM adds a digital signature to every outgoing message, which lets receiving servers verify the message actually came from your organization
  • Generate your DKIM token in GoogleAdmin
  • Add your TXT record with the following data, but the Value you can just copy directly from Google
    • VALUE:  v=DKIM1; k=rsa; p=SOMEINSANELYlongTXTstringWITHaWHOLEbunchOFcharactersTHATgoesONandONandONitsREALLYveryLONGtrustMEjustCOPYandPASTEtheLONGtextINTOyourHOSTNAME
    • HOSTNAME:  google._domainkey
  • Read more about DKIM here

2.7 Register email aliases in GoogleAdmin

  • Navigate to Users > Select yourself
  • Add alternate email addresses (aliases)
  • contact@, info@, booking@, anything@
  • Read more about email aliases on this support article

2.8 Set up a catch-all email in GoogleAdmin

  • Set up a catch-all email so if someone misspells or types something wrong when trying to send you email, it will still reach you!
  • In GoogleAdmin, go to Menu > Apps > Google Workspace > Gmail > Routing
  • On the Routing tab, scroll to Routing
  • Click Configure or Add Another Rule. The Add setting box opens.
  • In the Add setting box, take these steps:
    • Email messages to affect: INBOUND
    • Click the menu “” and select Modify message.
      Select Change envelope recipient
      Select the Replace recipient option and enter your catch-all email address.
      Scroll down, and click Show options.
    • Under Account types to affect, check the Unrecognized/Catch-all box. The Users and Groups boxes should be unchecked.
  • Here is an in-depth support document detailing catch-all email addresses

Phase 3: Create Your Website

  1. Deploy WordPress Droplet on DigitalOcean (how-to)
  2. Add A Records to point to WordPress server
  3. Connect to WordPress server via SSH using Terminal
  4. Set up WordPress
  5. Configure SSL with Certbot
  6. Login to WordPress
  7. Configure Permalinks, https
  8. Install Hello Elementor Theme and Child Theme
  9. Plugin – Elementor
  10. Plugin – Jetpack
  11. Plugin – Wordfence
  12. Plugin – WP Files
  13. Forms
  14. Add Mailchimp

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