WordPress: Custom Domain Names

Once your site has been created, you cannot change it to a different web.unc.edu address. However, you can “map” a custom, non-web.unc.edu domain to your site. For example, heelium.web.unc.edu could become heelium.unc.edu. Follow the three simple steps below!

Step 1: Register your domain (if you don’t have one already)

You can request a UNC domain name for free on campus by going to https://www.unc.edu/ipsforms/. 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 it via campus mail) to the host registration group. This process may take a few days to get approved.

If you are registering a new NON-UNC domain, please see this support document outlines the steps to take.

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

For UNC Domains

After you have successfully registered your 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, please submit a Help Ticket asking IP-Services/Networking to make your domain an alias for webprod.isis.unc.edu for sites on web.unc.edu or sites.isis.unc.edu for sites on sites.unc.edu sites.

For web.unc.edu sites, you will receive a confirmation message that includes the following:

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

For sites.unc.edu sites, you will receive a confirmation message that includes the following:

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

For NON-UNC Domains

For NON-UNC domains, you will need to create an A record with your domain registrar. For web.unc.edu, point your A record to For sites.unc.edu, point your A record to

Step 3: Mapping domain in WordPress

If you have done everything above you will now need to tell the web.unc.edu where your site is. You can do that by logging into the site you want to map and going to Tools > Domain Mapping.

Add the domain and check “Primary domain for this website” if you’d like this to be the domain you want to use when you visit the site.


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