Customer Portal

Overview

A Customer Portal is a great way for an organization to allow its customers to log into their dedicated internal system and access restricted data. Instead of building their own authentication and security mechanisms, users can use Zoho Creator portals. Users can sign up with their portal instead of signing up with Zoho. Users can log into their dedicated portal, access applications shared to them, submit data, and most importantly, view and edit only those records which they submitted.

Steps to Enable Customer Portal

To enable customer portal:

  1. Navigate to the Settings page of the application.
  2. Select the Customer Portal tab. The Customer Portal page appears.

One Time Setup

When the portal is enabled for first time, it will prompt for the web address that will be used to access the portal. Enter the web address name of your choice and click on Submit button.

On successful configuration of the portal, the admin is redirected to the portal settings page as shown below.

Note:

  • Customer Portal comes with one profile by default, which can be edited by the App owner.
  • To create additional profiles, kindly contact Zoho Creator Support at support@zohocreator.com
  • For existing users, who already have multiple customer portal profiles, these profiles will stay unaffected. To create a new profile, kindly contact Zoho Creator Support at support@zohocreator.com

Domain Verification

In Customer Portal, domain verification has been introduced to ensure that the domain name you enter is valid and secure. This verification has been made mandatory to eliminate the probability of misuse of domain names and subsequent loss of service to genuine users. Zoho Creator provides you with three methods to verify your domain name. They are:

  • CNAME Method -  Enter a unique 'CNAME' record provided by us in the domain's DNS Manager
  • TXT Record Method - Enter a specific TXT Record, in the given format in the domain's DNS Manager
  • HTML Method - Upload the given HTML file in the specific folder

To verify domain name:

  1. Navigate to the Settings page of the application.
  2. Select Customer Portal tab.

  1. Enter your Domain Name URL. An alert message states that your domain name is not verified yet.
  2. Click on Verify Now link. The Domain Verification pop-up appears.
  3. Make one of the listed configurations.
  4. Click on Verify.

Following succesfull verfication, your domain name is safe to use.

​CName Method

Verifying domain name using CNAME Method is done in two levels: First, generate the unique CNAME code in Zoho and then, add the code in your DNS Manager. Once it is successfully added, you can click verify to verify the domain. The unique code is automatically generated in the application.

To add CName in DNS:

You can use any valid domain in Zoho, as long as you have the required access to manage the DNS records of the domain. The generic steps or instructions to create CNAME for verification are provided below. You can use these instructions, if your specific domain provider is not available in the above list. You can also request your domain provider to create a CNAME with the code generated in Zoho, if you are unable to do it on your own.

  1. Log into your account where your domain's DNS is hosted. (Your Domain’s Administrative DNS Host)
  2. Open your Domain Management Page to update the DNS Records (DNS Manager or DNS Control Panel or Advanced DNS editor).
  3. Locate the option to add CNAME records (Generally found under DNS Records, you can also consult the help page of your registrar in case you are not clear)
  4. Refer to the generated unique code Name/ Host/ Alias/ CNAME under the CName Method tab.
  5. Refer to customer-creator.zoho.com in Value/ Points To/ Destination field. 
  6. If the TTL is editable, reduce the TTL to 300 seconds or the minimum possible value recommended by your Registrar.
  7. Click Save or Add Record option to save the CNAME Records.
  8. Wait for the action to take effect on DNS.
  9. Log into your account again.
  10. Click Verify.

In case, you get an error during verification, refer here to troubleshoot the common reasons for verification failure.

TXT Method

You can also verify your domain by TXT method. In this method, you will create a TXT record in your DNS manager with the provided values.

  1. Select the TXT Method tab, in the Domain Verification page.
  2. Create a TXT record in your DNS with the title as zoho-verification and the value as zmverify.zoho.com. The host name should be @/ domain name for the text record you add.The value should be *******.customer-creator.zoho.com, where the code is autogenerated and available in the verification page. 
  3. Wait for some time after saving the TXT record.
  4. Log into your Zoho Account.
  5. Go to Control Panel.
  6. Select Domains page.
  7. Click on Verify.

​The domain name is thus verified.

HTML Method

You can also verify your domain by HTML method. In this method, you will be adding the file we provide in a specified path under your website page. When you click Verify, it will look for the particular file in your website, and verify your domain based on the file. Generally the website may be hosted by any website hosting provider like WordPress or GoDaddy etc.

  1. Select the HTML Method tab in the Domain Verification pop-up in Customer Portal.
  2. Click on 'verifydomain.html' to download the HTML verification file. The content of the file will vary for each domain and is usually a unique string of numbers.
  3. Log into your account provided by your website hosting company.
  4. Create a folder in root called 'zcp'.
  5. Upload the file to 'http://www.*****.com/zcp/verifydomain.html'. You should now be able to view the code, when you click the webpage link.
  6. Click on Verify.

Once you have added the HTML file as mentioned, you can check the same by typing http://www.*****.com/zcp/verifydomain.html in the browser. It will display a 7 digit alphanumeric code linked to your new domain.

Portal Authentication for Application

Settings

The portal settings tab allows you to set following properties.

  • Customer Portal URL: By clicking the portal link, the login page of the portal opens where the email address and the password the portal user has to be entered. 
  • Allow Self Registration: This feature allows the user to sign up for the portal by themselves only if the option is set to Yes.
  • Requires Approval from Admin: By enabling this feature, the access to signed up portal is allowed, only if the approval is given by the admin.
  • Auto Approve for ZohoCRM Contacts: Approval process is exempted for the contacts present in ZohoCRM contact module.
  • Configure Google Analytics: You can configure Google Analytics account for your domain and get a detailed report about your portal's traffic. To configure Google Analytics account for your domain: The Google Analytics tracking code collects data for your portal, and returns that data to Analytics. This data can be viewed in Events under Reports of your Google Analytics account. The following events are tracked:

    Publish/Unpublish

    The Publish/Unpublish mode is used to change the login status to the portal.

    Users and Permissions

    Email Notifications

    The Email Notfications tab allows the user to customize the email invitation and password reset templates. The templates are specific for each portal. If the template is not customized, then the default template shown in the screenshot below, will be sent to the user. 

    The Email Notifications tab consist of the following components.

    1. Email Address

    By default, the From Email Address and Reply to Email Address will be that of the administrator.

    2. Email Invitation Template

    This feature allows the administrator to customize the email invitation. To customize the invitation template, click on the Edit icon available next to the subject of the invitation template in the Email Notifications tab. The invitation template window appears containing the following components.

    Template :

    Template field refers to the default name of the template.

    Subject :

    The subject field refers to the subject of the Email invitation. You can customize the subject of the email from this field.

    Available Merge Fields:

    Each Available merge field consist of selected fields. By choosing a combination of values from Available merge field and the Select field, the Copy merge field value is generated. Copy and paste the generated merge field value in the body of the email. The list of available merge field values are given below.

    The email invitation template can be customized by using the above mentioned merge field values.

    3. Reset Password Template

    This feature allows the administrator to customize the reset password template. When an user requests for password reset from the portal home page, the customized reset password template is automatically sent to the Email Address of the user containing the link to change password. The user can change the password from the link available in the email.

    To customize the Reset password template, click on the Edit icon available next to the subject of the template in the Email Notifications tab.

    The reset password template window appears containing the following components.

    Template :

    Template field refers to the default name of the template.

    Subject :

    The subject field refers to the subject of the password reset email. You can customize the subject of the email from this field.

    Available Merge Fields:

    Each Available merge field consist of selected fields. By choosing a combination of values from Available merge field and the Select field, the Copy merge field value is generated. Copy and paste the generated merge field value in the body of the email. The list of available merge field values are given below.

    The reset password template can be customized by using the above mentioned merge field values.

    Note:

    • Both Invitation and Reset Password Template supports upto a maximum of 32,000 characters in the body of the email message.

    Map your Domain to Portal

    To map your domain to the portal:

    • Create an account with Google Analytics.
    • Sign in to your Google Analytics account, and go to the admin page.
    • Select an account from the dropdown in the Account column.
    • Select a property from the dropdown in the Property column.
    • Click Tracking Info.
    • Use the unique identifier code in the GA Tracker ID field. This will link your portal with your Google Analytics account. The tracking ID is a code which looks like UA-xxxxxx-xx.
    • Sign-up page loads
    • Sign-in page loads
    • Live page loads
    • New user registrations 
      • When the portal is set to publish mode, users will be able to access the portal with the portal address.
      • If the portal is set to Unpublish mode, the portal is locked and it cannot be accessed by the users. The portal shows the message as Site down for maintenance as shown in the screenshot below.
    • Navigate to Users and Permissions and click on “Add Users” tab in the respective permission set to add users to that particular permission set. Alternatively, you can also click on "Add Users" tab on the top right to add users​.
    • Click on “Add Users” tab and enter comma separated email addresses of Users you want to share the Application with. Now click on the Permission drop down tab and select from existing permission sets or click on “+New Permission” to create a new permission set. When you create a new permission set, all the Forms, Reports and Pages will be listed with various permissions to the modules, that can be check-marked accordingly. The following table explains the various permission tabs:
      • Access - Allows user to access the Form
      • View Records - Allows user to view records of selected Reports. When you check this permission, you are given options to select required/all reports of that Form.
      • Edit Records - Allows user to edit records of selected Reports. When you check this permission, you are given options to select required/all reports of that Form.
      • Delete Records - Allows user to delete records of selected Reports. When you check this permission, you are given options to select required/all reports of that Form.
      • Import - Allows user to import data into selected modules.
      • Export - Allows user to export records from the Application to your device.
      • Field Permissions - Allows you to configure field level permissions for Users. You can make fields visible/invisible and give read/write permissions to users here.
    • Click on “Add” to add the user along with the defined permissions.
    • From Email Address - All the invitations sent to the users will be sent through the email address provided in the From Email Address field. This field is editable and allows you to change the "from" address.
    • Reply To Email Address - All the emails received from the users will be sent to the email address provided in the Reply to Email Address field. This field is editable and allows you to change the "to" address.
    • ${Portal.DOMAIN_NAME} - returns the domain name of the portal.
    • ${Portal.ADMINISTRATOR} - returns the name of the portal administrator.
    • ${Portal.SUBDOMAIN_NAME} - returns the sub-domain name of the portal.
    • ${Portal.LINK_NAME} - returns the application link name.
    • ${Portal.DISPLAY_NAME} - returns the display name of the portal.
    • ${Link.PORTAL_URL} - returns the link to access the portal URL.
    • ${Link.ACCEPT_PORTAL_INVITATION} - returns the link to accept portal invitation.
    • ${User.EMAIL_ID} - returns the Email id of the user.
    • ${User.FULL_NAME} - returns the full name of the user.
    • ${Portal.DOMAIN_NAME} - returns the domain name of the portal.
    • ${Portal.ADMINISTRATOR} - returns the name of the portal administrator.
    • ${Portal.SUBDOMAIN_NAME} - returns the sub-domain name of the portal.
    • ${Portal.LINK_NAME} - returns the application link name.
    • ${Portal.DISPLAY_NAME} - returns the display name of the portal.
    • ${Link.PORTAL_URL} - returns the link to access the portal URL.
    • ${Link.ACCEPT_PORTAL_INVITATION} - returns the link to accept portal invitation.
    • ${User.EMAIL_ID} - returns the Email id of the user.
    • ${User.FULL_NAME} - returns the full name of the user.
    • In the portal settings tab, click on "Domain Mapping" link displayed below the the portal URL.
    • Enter your Domain name in the domain mapping dialog box.
    • Is always secure -  Selecting this option will always use a secure connection (SSL) and connects through <https://>. We recommend that you keep this checked. If SSL is not already installed, please send an email to support@zohocreator.com to install SSL to your domain. If this option is not selected, your domain will be rendered through http:// .
    • Click on the "Save" button to save the configurations.
    • You can also edit or delete your domain URL from the same page through the edit or delete icons displayed next to the domain URL.
    • Now the users can login to the domain URL to access the portal. However the portal URL will still be available.
    • Any links that you had coming in to the portal URL earlier will not be broken.
    • Domain Mapping is done via CNAME record because its an easy way to point the customer portal to the domain and it does not require comprehensive knowledge of DNS settings. Ensure that you have mapped the CNAME entry and linked it to customer-creator.zoho.com before you map your domain with creator.

      Note:

      • For 'Reset Password' option to work, the 'Custom Domain' should be of HTTPS type(i.e SSL cerficate installed)

Page Customization

Page customization allows you to customize the look and feel of your customer portal home page to suit your organizational needs. To customize the customer portal, go to Settings -> Customer Portal -> Page Customization.

Customization of the following pages are supported:

Login Page Template

Click on "Customize your portal login page" to customize the portal login page using the various attributes present on the page header.

Screenshot displaying the customization of Login page

Signup Page Template

Click on "Customize your portal signup page" to customize the portal signup page using the various attributes present on the page header.

Screenshot displaying the customization of Signup page

Reset Password Template

Click on "Customize the reset password page for your portal" to customize the reset password page using the various attributes present on the page header.

Screenshot displaying the customization of reset password page

Customization Attributes

Page customizations consists of the following attributes, which can be used by the easy drag-and-drop feature or by simply double clicking on it.

Screenshot displaying the five customization attributes

Heading and Paragraph

Add a header to the page using this option. It also provides you with options for rich customization of the header. Also add a paragraph if you would like to say something regarding the portal. The following options allow you to create a header or a paragraph of your preference.

 

Screenshot displaying the customization using "Heading" option

Screenshot displaying the customization using "Paragraph" option

Images

Upload images that need to be displayed on the portal page using this option. You can upload images using "File Manager" option or the "Web URL" option. File Manager allows you to upload images from your local computer. Web URL allows you to provide an external link of the image.

Screenshot displaying the page to upload an image using the "Image" option

Note:

  • You can upload images up to 5Mb in the following formats: .jpg, .png & .gif

Sections

This feature allows you to enter two different paragraphs, already seperated into different sections. You can choose to have one, two or three different sections. You can also set the proportion allocated to each section in terms of ratio. Along with these, you have border settingsbackground color and "edit with HTML" options also.

Screenshot displaying the customization using "Sections" option

Table

You can choose to enter a table in your portal page using this option. You have options to set:

Screenshot displaying the page to set table settings using the "Table" option

Other Settings

The Settings icon displayed on the top-right corner of the Record Summary page provides options to resize your page, change the current page layout, customize the background color, image and many other options to customize the look and feel of your page. It consists of Dimensions settings, Layout settings and Customize settings

Using Dimensions settings, you can set the values of resizing and padding of the respective pages.

Screenshot displaying the "Dimensions" settings

Using Layout settings, you can choose to set one, two or three columns with different formatting options. Page options, Header and Footer can be enabled or disabled from here.

Screenshot displaying the "Layout" settings

Using Customize settings, you can set the following attributes:

Screenshot displaying the "Customize" settings

Note: