WordPress: Custom Domain Names

Once your WordPress site has been created, you cannot change the URL. However, you can map a custom domain to your site and use the custom domain as the primary URL.

For example, if you have example.web.unc.edu and domain map exampledomain.com onto your site, you will access the site by going to exampledomain.com instead of example.web.unc.edu.

Step 1: Register your domain

If you are an official department or organization, you can request a UNC domain (i.e. example.unc.edu). You will be required to fill out a “Memo of Understanding” for the domain. You will be required to print out a form and fax it (or send via campus mail) to the host registration group. This process may take a few days to get approved.

If you are using a NON-UNC domain (i.e. example.com, example.org, etc.) bought through an outside domain provider such as GoDaddy or Network Solutions, you will need to register your domain with UNC. Registering your domain will allow you to update DNS through UNC and obtain an SSL certificate for your website through the university’s InCommon license, otherwise you will see security warnings on your website. You cannot use a third-party SSL certificate with web.unc.edu/sites.unc.edu.

Step 2: Have your domain pointed to web.unc.edu/sites.unc.edu

For UNC Domains

After you have successfully requested your UNC domain, you will need to point it to either web.unc.edu or sites.unc.edu depending on which network your site is on. For UNC domains (i.e. example.unc.edu), please submit a Help Ticket asking IP-Services/Networking to update the DNS for your domain:

  • For sites on web.unc.edu, request your domain be made an alias for webprod.isis.unc.edu.
  • For sites on sites.unc.edu, request your domain be made an alias for sites.isis.unc.edu

If you’re unsure what network your site is on, you can submit a Help Ticket.

Once DNS has been updated, you will receive one of the following confirmation messages:

For web.unc.edu:

$ host sitename.unc.edu
sitename.unc.edu is an alias for webprod.isis.unc.edu.

For sites.unc.edu:

$ host sitename.unc.edu
sitename.unc.edu is an alias for sites.isis.unc.edu.

For NON-UNC Domains

For NON-UNC domains (i.e. example.com), after you’ve registered your domain with UNC (see step 1), you will need to submit a Help Ticket asking IP-Services/Networking to update the DNS for your domain with the information below. If you’re unsure what network your site is on, you can submit a Help Ticket.

  • For web.unc.edu, point your domain to 152.2.64.14.
  • For sites.unc.edu, point your domain to 152.2.64.15.

Step 3: Mapping domain in WordPress

If you have done everything above, you will now need to tell your website to use the new domain. You can do that by logging into your WordPress dashboard and going to Tools > Domain Mapping. Add the domain and check “Primary domain for this website” if you’d like this domain to be the new URL for the website. Any other domains listed on this page will redirect to the primary domain.

For non-UNC domains, you may need to request an SSL certificate for your website.

Waiting

Any changes that are made can take up to 24 hours to propagate, but in most cases you will see the new site resolving within an hour.


Domain Mapping Quick Tips

Due to our server caching, there may be a delay before the domain mapping will take effect. Purging the cache will fix this issue. To easily purge the server cache for your site:

  1. After logging in to your site, hover over the Caching menu option WordPress admin bar at the top of the site. A dropdown menu will appear with two options—Purge All Cache and Purge This Page.purgecache
  2. Click the Purge All Cache sub-menu option. (Note: Clicking on the Caching menu option will bring you to the WordPress Varnish Administration screen without actually purging the cache.)

If you previously set your site to require login for viewing while in development, don’t forget to change the visibility settings! Navigate to Settings > Reading and select the Allow search engines to index this site radio button and click Save Changes.

Site Visibility