Customer data that you collect and activate via BlueConic is by definition first-party customer data. Recent changes to browsers' protection technologies highlight the value of your first-party data. To ensure that your BlueConic-enabled content is appropriately recognized as first party, it is important to create a first-party BlueConic hostname in for each channel in your BlueConic tenant.
This article describes how to use the First-Party Hostname Console (FPHC) to:
- Create a first-party BlueConic hostname for new or existing BlueConic channels.
- Email the instructions for your IT team to update your DNS provider's records to use the first-party hostnames, and possibly update your Content Security Policy.
- Place the updated BlueConic script on your site.
For information on the benefits and importance of first-party data, see BlueConic hostnames overview.
Before you begin
Before starting the process below, inform your IT team about the update and ensure there are resources available to change DNS entries with your DNS provider (for example, Amazon Web Services, etc.). BlueConic will serve as DNS provider for the first-party BlueConic hostname subdomain, so your DNS provider will need information to delegate serving the specific subdomain to BlueConic. The general process is similar for all DNS providers. In the instructions below, we use Amazon Route 53 to illustrate adding a hostname with AWS as DNS provider. DNS records should be placed with your DNS provider within 14 days of receiving them from BlueConic.
Creating a BlueConic hostname
Start by creating a first-party BlueConic hostname for each channel in your BlueConic tenant.
- In the BlueConic navigation bar, select Settings > Channels and BlueConic hostnames. and open the First-Party Hostname Console window (FPHC).
- Create a BlueConic hostname in the BlueConic UI for each channel where you want to use first-party cookies.
In the dropdown menu, select the domain where your channel is hosted.
- For the BlueConic hostname, you can use the random string provided or customize it. This example shows the string "h854" as the custom hostname.
You can use the random 4-digit string provided or customize it (up to a maximum of 253 characters). Valid characters include: a-z, 0-9 (but not as the first character), and - (but not as the first or last character). Do not use brand names or other identifiable strings that might be misconstrued as third-party hosts.
- Select or enter email recipients to receive instructions for changing the NS records at your DNS provider. You can send them to yourself, to your IT team, or to both.
Note: We recommend that you let your IT team know about this request to ensure they have the time and resources to help with the process.
- Click Add BlueConic hostname.
The status will show "Pending DNS change" until you or someone on your IT team updates your DNS provider with the new hostname information, and BlueConic can detect the changes propagated through the DNS.
- Your IT team or you should follow the instructions (detailed below) emailed by BlueConic for creating NS records in your DNS provider to give permission for BlueConic to serve as the DNS provider for this subdomain.
- Wait for email notification from BlueConic that the requested DNS infrastructure changes have been made.
Note: If the BlueConic hostname status shows "Extra validation required," contact your Customer Success Manager for more information.
- When you receive notice that BlueConic has created the necessary infrastructure, place the BlueConic script on every page of your channel as describe in the instructions in the email.
For details see Placing the updated BlueConic script on your site.
Configuring your DNS records
BlueConic serves as DNS provider for your first-party BlueConic hostname. This calls for updating NS records for this specific first-party BlueConic hostname with your DNS provider. The following procedure illustrates the process using Amazon Web Services and Route 53 as DNS provider for adding records for an example BlueConic site called "taylor-shopping.net". For other DNS providers the general steps you follow are similar.
Note: Your IT department may need to perform this procedure for you, and records should be placed with your DNS provider within 14 days.
During the BlueConic hostname setup process you can choose to send email instructions for updating the NS records. BlueConic will also send email notifications when the BlueConic hostname's status changes, for example when the hostname is ready to use, or if a problem arises.
Updating your DNS records
Retrieve your DNS instructions, and follow these steps:
- Retrieve the email from BlueConic with details on your site's BlueConic hostname.
This information is also available in the BlueConic UI, by opening Settings > Channels & BlueConic hostnames, and under DNS instructions, clicking Show.
Under the heading Value, you can see the "Value" of the NS records you need to add.
Note that you can also export all of the DNS records from the BlueConic hostnames page (choose Settings > Channels & BlueConic hostnames), as shown here:
- Open Amazon Web Services (or your web provider), and in the Management Console, open Route 53.
- In Route 53, open your hosted zones.
- Find your domain's records and open them.
- Select your domain and click Create record.
- Create a new NS record (record type) and use the NS record values you received from BlueConic: the value(s), TTL, and record name(s). Click Create records.
BlueConic will poll the DNS server to see when these records have been added. This can take up to 48 hours to propagate. The Status field in BlueConic shows "Pending DNS change."
[Note: If you are using a different DNS provider, you may need to enter the hostname prefix that BlueConic generates to the Name field when you add NS records.]
Once the change takes place, BlueConic will set up the infrastructure for requests to be sent to BlueConic servers. On Route 53, you can select the new hosted zone to view its details.
The BlueConic infrastructure setup changes can take a several hours for all DNS records and servers to sync across the Internet.
ACM validation requests: If the BlueConic hostname status shows "Extra validation required," contact your Customer Success Manager for more information.
Updating your Content Security Policy
If you have a Content Security Policy (CSP) on your website, update it to include the BlueConic URLs. Once the BlueConic hostname is ready to use, traffic will arrive via the BlueConic hostname (independent of whether you have updated the BlueConic script on your website).
Place the updated BlueConic script on your site
- Once your infrastructure is ready, you can place the updated BlueConic script on your site.
- Follow the instructions on this page to update your script: Placing the BlueConic tag on your site.
Updating existing BlueConic channels with a new BlueConic script
To update existing BlueConic channels with new BlueConic hostnames, you need to update the BlueConic script to use your new custom hostname. If your BlueConic script currently references the standard BlueConic hostname and script, you would update this to the newly suggested script. When you use custom first-party BlueConic hostnames, your script follows this format: <script src="https://[Blueconic-hostname.yourdomain.com]/script.js"></script>
For example, you would update "<script src="https://cdn.blueconic.net/taylor-shopping.js"></script>" on all pages to "<script src="https://i473.taylor-shopping.net/script.js"></script>".
There are several ways to update or add a BlueConic hostname for your channels:
- Open the Settings > BlueConic hostnames page and select the existing domain.
- For new channels, you would use the Channel wizard that appears when you click the Add channel button in the Settings > Channels page.
- Use the Settings > Channels page (best process for updating existing channels, instructions shown here:
- In the BlueConic Settings menu, select Channels and hostnames.
- Open the Channels window and select a BlueConic channel to customize.
- Click BlueConic hostname to customize the hostname for this channel.
You can use the string BlueConic provides or customize it yourself. Best practice is to use a unique string of letters and numbers. Avoid using brand names.
- Select whether to email instructions to yourself (recommended) and your IT team (also recommended). Add the email addresses and click Apply.
- Save your changes.
The new first-party BlueConic hostname has been created. Next steps are for your IT team to configure your DNS records with your DNS provider. See Configuring your DNS records for detailed steps.
Once your DNS records are updated with your web provider, you can replace your existing BlueConic script with the updated script using a BlueConic hostname.
If you have questions about any part of this process, see our FAQ or contact your BlueConic Customer Success Manager for assistance.