As a salesforce.com consulting partner, Internet Creations has successfully implemented Salesforce Communities for several customers. In the initial release of Communities, there was no option to remove the “force.com” reference when creating an SSL domain structure.
For those, like Internet Creations, who have been exposed to the Salesforce ecosystem and use Force.com links regularly with their customers, the inclusion of force.com in the domain did not raise an issue. However, some customers raised concern that their audience may avoid accessing their community in today’s age with increased phishing scams and cyber attacks. For example, a customer browsing www.acmewidgets.com may become concerned if they’re redirected to acme.force.com which is unfamiliar to them.
Despite the potential concern, Internet Creations opted to follow industry best practices by using a secure connection (SSL Certificate) that included the “force.com” reference. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a server (i.e. websites and email servers) and a client (i.e. browsers and email clients). This allows sensitive information such as login credentials and credit card numbers to be transmitted securely. When an SSL certificate is used, this information becomes unreadable to everyone except for the server requesting the sensitive data. In our opinion, SSL should always be used when deploying a community to protect the private data of customers and partners.
Along with several other Salesforce customers, Internet Creations requested the ability to add custom URLs to maintain branding and consistency across an organization’s website. We were excited to see that this issue was recently resolved in the Salesforce Summer ‘14 Release!
You can now configure a custom domain for your Salesforce Community. To do so, you must contact salesforce.com to enable HTTPS custom domains for your organization. We went through the process and now our community URLs are branded with our domain:
Salesforce support will need to enable HTTPS custom domains per the Summer ’14 release notes. This will work with both Communities and Force.com Sites:
It may be necessary to install an intermediate certificate chain so that all browsers and devices will recognize your certificate. To do this, concatenate the intermediate certificates with your certificate and upload this under your certificate detail.
Domains created before Spring ’13 use x.force.com as their CNAME alias. They will need to have their CNAME changed to prefix.domain.com.live.siteforce.com. This configuration is changed at your DNS provider, not in Salesforce. Note that this CNAME does not contain the Org ID like newly generated custom domains.
Staying ahead of the curve
Google has recently announced that they are now looking at HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now they say it’s only a lightweight ranking signal, but over time they may strengthen it. We suggest that organizations consider using SSL for all web pages.