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2. DNS and Domain Management

Written by Ronnie Burt | Last updated: April 18, 2019

The first thing to know about working with DNS is that it can be unpredictable at times. If you believe you have things set up correctly but you still aren’t seeing the result you expect, the best thing to do is just give it some time.

DNS changes can take as little as a minute with next to no downtime, to several hours (or even a day) depending on your domain registrar, DNS manager, and quite honestly, the DNS gods. There are many variables along the way.

2.1 DNS Tips

Link to chapter 1

Here are a few tips to working with DNS:

  1. When given the option, always change TTL (time to live) to as low as possible.
  2. Don’t change any other settings that may be in your DNS – such as for mail or otherwise.
  3. Use a DNS Lookup service to see if it matches what you see under your Domains tab in the Hub.
  4. Should you ever have problems, screenshots of your full DNS settings is the best way for our support team to diagnose problems.

Click the 3 dots to open the menu and choose ‘Check DNS Status’ to help speed things along. Otherwise, we’ll check DNS periodically too.

Below you can find quick guides on how to point your domain to us with the most popular domain registrars.

2.2 Getting started

Link to chapter 2
Have You Created Your Temporary Site?

If you haven’t created your temporary WPMU DEV site you should do so before proceeding. See Creating a New Site if you need help doing so.

Adding a site to WPMU DEV is usually a two-part process that involves creating a temporary site on our servers followed by editing the records maintained by your registrar that allow our servers to host your site. Once you’ve completed both steps, the temporary name will be replaced with your actual domain name (Ex: cats.wpmudev.host will become cats.org)

Just below, in WPMU DEV DNS Records you will find the records you need to add or edit within your registrar’s DNS Management interface. Below that are guides explaining how to make those changes at several popular registrars.

2.3 WPMU DEV DNS Records

Link to chapter 3

The DNS records for your site can be found under the Domains tab of your Hosting Hub.

In The Hub, click the Hosting tab.

Click anywhere in the row of the temporary site you’re working with.

Click the Domains tab.

The records you will need to point your domain to WPMU DEV Hosting are located here. Leave this screen open to refer back to when it’s time to cut and paste those records into your registrar’s DNS records.

It may be helpful to understand what these records represent.

  • CNAME – A Canonical Name or CNAME record is a type of DNS record that maps an alias name to a true or canonical domain name. CNAME records are typically used to map a subdomain such as www or mail to the domain hosting that subdomain’s content. For example, a CNAME record can map the web address www.example.com to the actual website for the domain example.com.
  • A record – An A record maps a domain name to the IP address (Version 4) of the computer hosting the domain.
  • AAAA record – A records are used for conversion of domain names to corresponding IP addresses. IP Version 6 Address records (AAAA) (also a quad-A record) specifies IPv6 address for given host. So it works the same way as the A record and the difference is the type of IP address. This record should be used in addition to the A record, wherever possible, as it represents the best practice and might even lead to performance improvements.

2.4 Cloudflare

Link to chapter 4

We recommend the Cloudflare CDN for every site we host and those we don’t as well.

Cloudflare’s super-secure network includes 155 data centers around the world where customers’ websites and any static resources are cached and delivered to visitors from the closest possible server, dramatically reducing latency. While you can integrate Cloudflare at any time, doing so requires essentially the same type of configuration you are currently undertaking. Why not make that call now and not have to do this again!

CloudFlare offers a basic free plan that includes impressive site performance, board security protection and powerful stats about your visitors. Plans start at $20 per month for your first website and $5 per month for each subsequent website.

Using Cloudflare? Smart move!

Cloudfare requires a different setup procedure than sites connecting directly to WPMU DEV. If you’re using Cloudflare’s CDN, as we recommend, you should jump to Configuring Cloudflare, where you will find the guides you need to connect your domain to Cloudfare and tell Cloudfare how to locate your site on our servers.

If you choose to forego Cloudflare, you can locate your registrar among the guides below and follow the steps provided to complete the process of setting up your WPMU DEV-hosted site.

If your registrar is not among the guides below don’t worry. Most registrars are similar in the way they organize their domain screens. Choose one and see if you can use it to guide you through the process. Otherwise, your registrar may have a DNS Management guide available on their site, and you can always contact our Support Superheroes for assistance.

2.5 GoDaddy

Link to chapter 5

Go to https://godaddy.com, click on Sign in and then on Manage domains.

Once you log in, click on the ellipsis beside your owned domain and choose “Manage DNS”.

This will lead you to the Records of your chosen Domain.

Click on the “edit” icon beside the A-type and in the Points to* field enter the A Record value of your site (your IPV4 is located in your site’s Domains tab – in our example 104.248.40.26).

After that, edit the CNAME-type which has the www Name and in the Points to* field enter @.

Lastly, add one AAAA record. If you do not see an existing AAAA record, click the Add button and select AAAA from the menu of record types. In the Host field enter @ and in the Points to* field enter your AAAA record value (in our example 2a03:b0c0:3:e0::98:4001).

Got all this done? Excellent, the only thing left is to Set a new primary domain for your site.

2.6 Freenom

Link to chapter 6

Go to https://www.freenom.com, sign in to your account and then click on Services/My Domains:

Find your desired registered domain and click on the “Manage domain” button:

In the Domain module click on “Manage Freenom DNS”:

Which will lead you to a new window where you can set up your records.

You should add 3 new records, one for A record (your IPV4 is located in your site’s Domains tab – in our example 104.248.40.26), one for CNAME with www in the Name field (in this example devman-fn.cf) and one for AAAA record (in our example 2a03:b0c0:3:e0::98:4001) while keeping TTL Low (300):

Once finished, press on Save Changes.

Got all this done? Excellent, the only thing left is to Set a new primary domain for your site.

2.7 Namecheap

Link to chapter 7

Go to https://www.namecheap.com, login to your account and click on the Manage button beside your desired domain:

In the new window, navigate to the Advanced DNS tab.

Add one A record with @ in the Host field (your IPV4 is located in your site’s Domains tab, in our example 104.248.40.26), one CNAME record with www in the Host field (in this example devmantest.com) and one AAAA record with @ in the Host field (in our example 2a03:b0c0:3:e0::98:4001) while keeping TTL Low (5 mins):

Got all this done? Excellent, the only thing left is to Set a new primary domain for your site.

2.8 Google domains

Link to chapter 8

Go to https://domains.google.com/registrar, log in to your account and click on the Configure DNS button:

Navigate down to Custom resource records and add one A record with @ in the Name field while adding your IP in the IP field (your IPV4 is located in your site’s Domains tab, in our example 104.248.40.26), one CNAME record with www in the Name field and @ in the Domain name field, and one AAAA Record with IPV6 in the IPV6 field (in our example 2a03:b0c0:3:e0::98:4001) while keeping TTL Low (10 mins):

Got all this done? Excellent, the only thing left is to Set a new primary domain for your site.

2.9 SiteGround

Link to chapter 9

Go to https://www.siteground.com/, log in to your account and navigate to “My Accounts” tab:

Press on the Go to cPanel button and in the follow-up window on the Advanced DNS Zone Editor:

Here you want to edit your domain’s A Record (your IPV4 is located in your site’s Domains tab, in our example we added 104.248.40.26), CNAME record with www (in our example we added devman-sg.com) and add a new AAAA record with your apex domain name as presented below (IPV6 in our example is 2a03:b0c0:3:e0::98:4001). Leave all other data intact.

Got all this done? Excellent, the only thing left is to Set a new primary domain for your site.

2.10 Porkbun

Link to chapter 10

Go to https://porkbun.com, log in to your account, click on Details (under your desired domain) and then on the Edit button beside DNS RECORDS:

In the new window create one A record with a blank Host field and enter your IPV4 in the Answer field (your IPV4 is located in your site’s Domains tab, in our example we used 104.248.40.26), one CNAME record with www in the Host field and enter @ in the Answer field (in our example this will resolve to devman-pb.com once saved) and one AAAA record with a blank Host field while adding your IPV6 in the Answer field (IPV6 in our example is 2a03:b0c0:3:e0::98:4001). Once saved you will get something like:

Got all this done? Excellent, the only thing left is to Set a new primary domain for your site.

2.11 Hover

Link to chapter 11

Go to https://www.hover.com/, log in to your account and click on “DNS” tab of your chosen domain.

Once there, edit your A record first. Leave @ as Hostname and enter your IP as your Target name (your IPV4 is located in your site’s Domains tab, in our example we used 104.248.40.26). Next, you want to edit your CNAME with www in its Hostname. Enter your apex domain name as your Target name (in our example we used devman-hv.com). Lastly, add one AAAA record, set @ as Hostname and enter your IPV6 as your Target name (in our example 2a03:b0c0:3:e0::98:4001). The end result should look something like this:

Got all this done? Excellent, the only thing left is to Set a new primary domain for your site.

2.12 Dreamhost

Link to chapter 12

Go to https://www.dreamhost.com/, log in to your account and then click on Domains/Manage domains:

In order to add your own DNS records, you need to “unpark” your domain by selecting “Deactivate parked” link and confirming the change.

Once done, select DNS, under your domain name, and add a new record as A Record with a blank Name field while using your IP in the Value field (your IPV4 is located in your site’s Domains tab, in our example 104.248.40.26). After that, add a new record as CNAME with www in the Name field while using your apex domain name in the Value field (in our example devman-dh.club). Lastly, add another record as AAAA Record with a blank Name field while using your IPV6 in the Value field (in our example 2a03:b0c0:3:e0::98:4001). The end result should look something like this:

Got all this done? Excellent, the only thing left is to Set a new primary domain for your site.

2.13 iPage

Link to chapter 13

Go to https://www.ipage.com/controlpanel, login to your account and then select Domain central.

Once in, click on your domain and select DNS. If DNS is not present here make sure you validated your domain and contact iPage support to get this added:

In the Modify section select A Record and edit the field that has your domain name in it (in this example devman-ip.space) with your WPMU DEV IP in the Points to field (your IPV4 is located in your site’s Domains tab, in our example 104.248.40.26). Once done, press on Add.

After adding your A Record, navigate to Modify section again and select CNAME. In the Host field add www and in the Points to field add your apex domain name (in our example devman-ip.space). Once sorted, press on Add.

Got all this done? Excellent, the only thing left is to Set a new primary domain for your site.

2.14 Bluehost

Link to chapter 14

Go to https://my.bluehost.com/cgi/dm/zoneedit, login to your account and then select your desired domain.

Once selected you will either need to add new records (if this is a new domain) or edit existing ones (if you already used this domain previously for another hosting service).

Add a new record as A type, enter @ in the Host Record and your WPMU DEV IP in the Points to field (your IPV4 is located in your site’s Domains tab, in our example 104.248.40.26). After that, add a new record as CNAME type with www in the Host Record and enter your domain name in the Points to field (in our example we used devman-bh.org). Lastly, add another record as AAAA type, enter @ in the Host Record and your WPMU DEV IPV6 in the Points to field (in our example 2a03:b0c0:3:e0::98:4001). The end result should look something like this:

Got all this done? Excellent, the only thing left is to Set a new primary domain for your site.

2.15 eNom

Link to chapter 15

Go to https://www.enom.com/, login to your account, navigate to Domain manager section and click on Registered domains:

Select your desired domain and in the Manage domain dropdown choose Host records. Once selected you will either need to add new records (if this is a new domain) or edit existing ones (if you already used this domain previously for another hosting service).

Add in the Address field for the CNAME Record type that has WWW as Host Name. Change the already present Record Type that has Host Name as @ from CNAME to A (Address) and enter your IPV4 in the Address field (in this example 46.101.107.111). Lastly, add another Record Type as AAAA (Address), enter @ in the Host name field and enter your IPV6 in the Address field (in this example 2a03:b0c0:3:d0::db3:7001). The end result should look something like this:

Got all this done? Excellent, the only thing left is to Set a new primary domain for your site.

2.16 Set a new primary domain

Link to chapter 16

Navigate to your WPMU DEV hosted site, click on Domain tab and then on the ADD DOMAIN button:

This will bring up a new pop-up window where you need to enter your registered domain name – something like mysite.com. Take note that if you want www redirects to have SSL certificate, you would need to add that domain in our hosting panel in addition to the apex domain (by checking the “Also add the www.mysite.com” checkbox). Once done, click on Setup DNS:

Once you add your domain name it is time to set it as Primary.

Our system will automatically check your DNS configuration and will notify you, via email, once DNS resolves and SSL is set (both DNS and SSL are needed before you are able to set your newly added domain as primary). Take note that it can take a while (sometimes even 24-48 hours) for your DNS to validate depending on what your TTLs are set to (or were set before). You can, of course, also manually press “Recheck DNS” button in order to trigger the checkup immediately.

When your DNS and SSL status turns green it means that a valid A record was detected and that you can set that domain as Primary (by just clicking on the “Set as primary”).

This concludes our domains guide. In case you need assistance or have any additional questions our experts will be right by your side 24/7 at https://premium.wpmudev.org/hub/support/#get-support.

2.17 Configuring Cloudflare

Link to chapter 17

Traditional DNS configurations connect your domain directly to your host, in this case WPMU DEV, and your site’s visitors access your content by interacting directly with the host servers. A Cloudfare configuration, however, is different. Instead of connecting your domain to WPMU DEV, you will connect it to Cloudflare, and in a separate series of steps you will tell Cloudflare where to find your hosted content.

Once configured, Cloudflare will begin pulling your content from our servers and caching it securely across it’s worldwide network. Your site’s visitors never actually connect to your host, but are served content from the cached copies on the Cloudflare network. The graphic below illustrates this configuration, and the security benefits should be readily apparent.

If you haven’t already done so, you will need to create a Cloudflare account before proceeding.

Set the SSL

After creating your Cloudflare account, the first thing to do is connect your site to that account. Before we get into that, however, we need to highlight an important security configuration. This step takes place after your site is connected, but we’re pointing it out first to minimize the risk that members might overlook this critical step.

Once your site is connected to Cloudflare, you must set the SSL settings for that site to Full (Strict) under the Crypto tab in your Cloudflare dashboard.

Full (Strict) ensures a secure connection between both your visitors’ devices and Cloudflare and between Cloudflare and our servers.

From your site’s Cloudflare dashboard, click Crypto and then select Full (Strict) from the drop-down menu.

Connecting Your Domain

The first steps take place within your Cloudflare account, after which you will need to go to your registrar and add Cloudflare’s nameservers to the domain you are connecting. It is recommended that you locate you DNS records at your registrar or web host and have them handy before proceeding.

As soon as your Cloudflare account is created, you will be prompted to add a domain.

This has to be your actual domain (e.g. mydomain.com or mydomain.co.uk) and must not include any domain specific hostnames (e.g. www.mydomain.com or similar). Furthermore, the domain has to be an immediate child of an official top-level domain (or one of its official second-level domains). For example, mydomain.co.uk is permitted, mydomain.someisp.co.uk is not.

Enter your domain (not your temporary WPMU DEV domain) into the field provided and click Add Site.

You will be prompted to choose a plan. Do so and click Confirm Plan. If you choose a paid plan, a payment modal will appear. You will return to the setup process upon submitting your payment information.

Cloudflare will automatically locate your site’s DNS records.

Compare the records found with those listed at your domain registrar or web host to verify that they match, and add any that are missing. If you skip this step your website might not resolve.

Also, click any orange clouds to turn them grey and then click Continue.

Change Your Nameservers

You will be prompted to change your nameservers at your registrar or web host. Cloudflare will provide two of its nameservers which should be cut and pasted to replace the existing records.

Once you have replaced your nameservers with those provided by Cloudflare, click Done! Check My Nameserver. Cloudflare will test the connection. If everything works, a success message will notify you that Cloudflare will begin caching your site’s content and serving it to visitors worldwide.