Enabling custom domain with HTTPS for Heroku apps

Got a Heroku app and want to make it public with some fancy domain?

I compiled this list to help you publish your next awesome project on Heroku.

I had to do this a few times last month, so this is an extended version of the guide I wrote to myself. 😬

Step 1.

Buy a domain.

Step 2.

Log in to your Heroku console:

$ heroku login
heroku: Press any key to open up the browser to login or q to exit:
Opening browser to https://cli-auth.heroku.com/auth/browser/f34512meow-d14c-11c0-bafd-f12ff3d2499d
Logging in... done
Logged in as hello@akoskm.com

Step 3.

Assign the custom domain to your Heroku app:

$ heroku domains:add -a my-heroku-app my-heroku-app.akoskm.com
Adding my-heroku-app.akoskm.com to β¬’ my-heroku-app... done
 β–Έ    Configure your app's DNS provider to point to the DNS Target cute-cats-puivs2izaopsep1mcu2ae3m8li.herokudns.com.
 β–Έ    For help, see https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/custom-domains

The domain my-heroku-app.akoskm.com has been enqueued for addition
 β–Έ    Run heroku domains:wait 'my-heroku-app.akoskm.com' to wait for completion

Step 4.

Wherever you bought your domain, it should have a DNS editor where you can add a CNAME entry. The naming in your DNS editor might be different but here are the things you have to fill:

Zone name: my-heroku-app.akoskm.com
Fully qualified domain name: cute-cats-puivs2izaopsep1mcu2ae3m8li.herokudns.com. <- should be the DNS Target heroku domains:add gave you
Type: CNAME (this is usually prefilled if your DNS editor is smart enough)
TTL: 14400 (mine says 14400, that's the default)

If you’re using CPanel as your DNS editor you’ll see something like this:

cname editor

At this point, you should be able to navigate to http://my-heroku-app.akoskm.com and see your Heroku app. HTTPS access shouldn’t work at this point.

Step 5.

Now it’s time to add SSL. Check if the automated certificate management is enabled for your app:

$ heroku certs:auto -a my-heroku-app
=== Automatic Certificate Management is disabled on my-heroku-app

If it’s not already enabled, you have to enable it:

$ heroku certs:auto:enable -a my-heroku-app
Enabling Automatic Certificate Management... starting. See status with heroku certs:auto or wait until active with heroku certs:auto:wait
=== Your certificate will now be managed by Heroku.  Check the status by running heroku certs:auto.

When you check the status, it should display something like this:

$ heroku certs:auto -a my-heroku-app
=== Automatic Certificate Management is enabled on my-heroku-app

Certificate details:
Common Name(s): my-heroku-app.akoskm.com
Expires At:     2019-12-09 07:19 UTC
Issuer:         /C=US/O=Let's Encrypt/CN=Let's Encrypt Authority X3
Starts At:      2019-09-10 07:19 UTC
Subject:        /CN=my-heroku-app.akoskm.com
SSL certificate is verified by a root authority.

Domain              Status       Last Updated
──────────────────  ───────────  ──────────────────
my-heroku-app.akoskm.com  Cert issued  less than a minute

https://my-heroku-app.akoskm.com should be accessible at this point.

Hope this little guide saved you some time! If you found it useful, please share it with others. Thank you!

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