Getting Started with Domain Mapping in WP Ultimo

One of the most powerful features of a premium network is the ability to offer our clients a chance of attaching a top-level domain to their sites. After all, which looks more professional: joesbikeshop.yournetwork.com or joesbikeshop.com? That’s why WP Ultimo offers that feature baked-in, without the need to use third-party plugins.

What’s domain mapping?

As the name suggests, domain mapping is the ability offered by WP Ultimo to take in a request for a custom domain and map that request to the correspondent site in the network with that particular domain attached.

How to setup domain mapping on your WP Ultimo Network

Domain mapping requires some setting up on your part to work. Thankfully, WP Ultimo automates the hard work for you so you can easily meet the requirements.

Testing the setup Using the WP Ultimo Wizard

One of the simplest ways to get up and running is to go to any WP Ultimo page inside the dashboard and search for the Help tab at the top.

Help tab on an WP Ultimo admin page

Click on the Help tab and after it opens up, search for the Setup Wizard button.

Help tab on an WP Ultimo admin page

Clicking that button should take you right to the Setup Wizard, the same screen you most likely visited right after you first installed and activated WP Ultimo. On the Wizard, click Skip Step until you reach the System

WP Ultimo Wizard automates part of the setup

Follow the instructions on that screen exactly as described.

Important: WP Ultimo might have problems copying the sunrise.php file into your wp-content folder automatically. If that happens to you, you might need to manually copy the sunrise.php file from inside the wp-ultimo folder to your wp-content folder via FTP.

Important 2: Note that you need to place the define(‘SUNRISE’, true); line ABOVE the * That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. * line on your wp-config.php. If for whatever reason that line does not exist on your wp-config.php file, add the define(‘SUNRISE’, true); line after the first line of your wp-config.php file.

After following all the steps, click the Check Configuration button, and WP Ultimo will run a system diagnose to see if everything is set on your network.

WP Ultimo checks the system to see if everything is ready for domain mapping

You need to get green OKs on the Sunrise.php file on the wp-content directory and Sunrise constant set to true items.

Mapping Domains

Now that your network is ready to handle domain mapping we are reading to start mapping some domains! And there’s two main ways of doing that: Adding Domain Mappings yourself (as an super admin) – this is useful if you want to add mappings to non-client sites inside your network; or letting your clients map their own domains to their sites.

In both cases, you’ll need to turn on the mapping domain functionality inside WP Ultimo. You can do that by going to WP Ultimo Settings > Domain Mapping and SSL > Enable Domain Mapping and saving.

You’ll need to enable the domain mapping option

In both cases you’ll also need to make sure the domain your are planning to map is correctly configured, which is covered right below.

Making sure the domain DNS settings is properly configured

For a mapping to work, you need to make sure the domain you are planning to map is pointing to your Network’s IP address.

To do that, you need to add a A RECORD on your DNS configuration pointing to that IP address. DNS management varies greatly between different domain registrars, but there’s plenty of tutorials online covering that if you search for “Creating A Record on XXXX” where XXXX is your domain registrar (ex.: Creating A record on GoDaddy”.

If you are not sure what’s the IP address of your network, you can use services like Site24x7. Just enter your network’s main domain address on that and it will spit out the IP address.

If you find yourself having trouble getting this to work, contact your domain registrar support and they will be able to help you with this part.

If you plan to allow your clients to map their own domains, they will have to do the work on this part themselves. Point them towards their registrar support system if they find themselves unable to create the A record.

Adding new mappings as a Super Admin

Adding a new mapping to one of your network’s site is pretty simple. First, you need to go to Network Admin > All Sites.

Go to the All Sites page

Then, when the Sites list appear, search for the site you want to add a mapping to. Hovering over its table row will make the Edit link visible:

Hover a site row to reveal the Edit link

Once in the Edit Site screen, search for the Aliases tab.

Aliases tab

That’s it. Once in the Aliases management screen you’ll be able to add, remove, activate and deactivate site mappings!

Letting your users map their own domains

Maybe your clients already have their own business domain and want to attach that to the site they have created on your network. In order for them to be able to do that, you’ll need to allow custom domains on WP Ultimo Settings > Domain Mapping and SSL > Enable Custom Domains.

Enable custom domains

Allowing certain plans to map domains

In WP Ultimo, almost everything is controlled on a plan per plan basis. That means that you can offer the ability of mapping custom domains as a feature only to certain tiers of your service!

To activate support to domain mapping for a certain plan, go to Plans, select the plan in question and tick the Enable custom domain option:

Enable custom domains in certain plans

That’s all you need! After that, any client of that particular plan will see an extra meta-box on their Account page:

Custom domain meta-box on the costumer’s Account page

Your clients will now be able to use that meta-box to map their own domains! Pretty neat, uhh!

Important: As you can see in the screenshot above, WP Ultimo tries to guess your Network IP to display to the user. This is not always accurate, though. You can customize the Network Ip address showed there on the Domain Mapping and SSL settings page of WP Ultimo, which will cover along other options in the next topic.

Extra Settings (Advanced)

WP Ultimo offers a number of other different controls you can use to customize the behavior of the domain mapping functionality. Most of those controls are located on the WP Ultimo Settings > Domain Mapping and SSL tab. Let’s see what some of them do.

Domain Mapping Alert Message

This option allows you to customize the alert message your customers will see when they map a new domain using the Custom Domain meta-box:

Change the alert message

This is what your customers will see, once they click the Set Custom Domain button

Alert message being displayed to the user, before processing the map domain request

Force Admin Redirect

This option let you choose the default behavior of a site with a mapped domain attached. Be careful, as changes here can make a client’s site unaccessible.

You can allow your users to access the admin via both the mapped domain and your network domain (which is a safe option, since even if the mapped domain is not correctly configured and the site is not accessible via it, the client will be able to access the admin panel via your network domain).

You can also force access to the admin panel to use your network domain. This is useful if you want to make sure the admin panel is ALWAYS accessible.

Lastly, you can force admin access to take place only over the mapped domain. This is dangerous and is only recommended if you are the one setting up the mappings. If this option is used and the user maps a misconfigured domain, their admin panel will become inaccessible until you, as the super admin, remove the mapping from the network admin panel.

Force

Force redirect behavior

Network IP

Use this option if the IP WP Ultimo guessed for your network does not correspond to the real IP of your network. You can check the real IP of your network by using services like Site24x7. Just enter your network’s main domain address on that and it will spit out the IP address.

Change the Network IP displayed on the Custom Domain instructions on the customer’s Account page

WP Ultimo Hosting Support

Our domain mapping will work out-of-the-box with most hosting environments, but some managed hosting platforms like WPEngine, Kinsta, and Cloudways may require the network admin to manually add the mapped domains as additional domains on their platform as well.

We are working closely with the hosting platforms to automate this process so no manual action is required from the admin after a client maps a new domain.

So far, WP Ultimo integrates with:

WP Engine

Works automatically – no additional set-up required.

Closte.com

Works automatically (including auto-SSL) – no additional set-up required.

Cloudways

Works automatically, but requires additional set-up. Read the Tutorial →

CPanel

Works automatically, but requires additional set-up. Read the Tutorial →

RunCloud.io

Works automatically, but requires additional set-up. Read the Tutorial →

ServerPilot.io

Works automatically, but requires additional set-up. Read the Tutorial →

We contacted Kinsta and they don’t have the necessary APIs in place yet, but assured us it is on their road-map. As soon as they implement the necessary tools, WP Ultimo will support them as well.

Troubleshooting

I’m getting a redirect loop when trying to access a site with a mapped domain.

If you’re getting a redirect loop error when trying to access a site with a mapped domain, go to WP Ultimo Settings > Domain Mapping and SSL and disable the Enable Single Sign-on option.

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?