Pointing DNS to WP Engine

The last step to “go live” with your WP Engine managed WordPress website is to update your DNS. This will allow traffic to come from your domain to your WordPress website hosted on WP Engine. This process starts at your DNS manager, which is most often where you bought the domain.

There are several methods for pointing DNS to WP Engine. The preferred method is flattening DNS records because we find it be the most scalable solution. CNAME, ANAME, Alias and A record methods will all work to point DNS to WP Engine. Domain masking is not supported directly on WP Engine, however this configuration may still be setup from your DNS host.

NOTE: Before changing your DNS records, complete the rest of the Going Live steps!


DNS Record Values

To properly configure DNS records you will first need the IP or CNAME value where your website is hosted.

Locate WP Engine DNS Records

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Click on the Environment name you wish to find the IP and CNAME for
  3. Select Domains from the left menu
  4. The values can be located within the DNS Details section
    • A Record is your IP address
    • CNAME Record is your unique WP Engine CNAME, or your “default domain”

Leave this page open for easy copying when pointing your DNS,


NOTE: Additional methods to locate your IP address can be found here.

Should I point DNS using an IP Address or CNAME record?

As a managed WordPress host, WP Engine may migrate your site internally to another server either by request or in an emergency. While migrations are quite rare, it’s important to understand how this possibility may impact your peace of mind down the road. After a migration, the WP Engine system automatically sets up a proxy for your site. If a visitor requests the old server IP for your domain, the temporary proxy sends traffic to your new server’s IP. While this will keep your site up temporarily, this proxy can cause issues with SSL, APIs and performance.

An IP address is used at a DNS level only when pointing an A record for your apex domain (non-www) and will make the record static. If you choose to point with an A record, be aware that any migration while hosting with WP Engine will also require a DNS update as soon as possible, to ensure proper performance.

While the A record method will work to point DNS to WP Engine, we recommend configuring CNAME flattening instead. CNAME flattening uses only the CNAME value when pointing all DNS records for your domain: Apex (non-www), www and any other necessary subdomains (such as blog.domain.com). This allows your DNS to be more flexible in the event of a migration while hosting on WP Engine.

If your website only uses a subdomain (EX: blog.mydomain.com) then a single CNAME record for that subdomain is all that is needed.


Point DNS Using CNAME Flattening

Several services now offer CNAME flattening support. This essentially means your apex record (non-www) can be pointed flexibly with a CNAME, rather than a static A record.

CNAME flattening is required for website’s hosted on clustered (AWS) server environments.

CNAME flattened records will ultimately look like the following:

Record PurposeRecord
Type
Record
Name
Target or
Hostname
Apex/Root
(non-www)
CNAME@ or
mydomain.com
environment.wpengine.com
wwwCNAMEwwwenvironment.wpengine.com
SubdomainCNAMEblog, shop, etc.environment.wpengine.com

NOTE: If your website lives on a subdomain, such as blog.domain.com or shop.mystore.com, adjusting the root and WWW records are not necessary. Only the subdomain record is required to point a subdomain.

Cloudflare is our primary recommendation for CNAME flattening, as it makes adding additional services through Cloudflare down the road far easier. The steps below will have you first configure your CNAME records in Cloudflare, then update your domain’s nameservers to point to Cloudflare.

The following steps are for Cloudflare hosted DNS. If your DNS is hosted with Bluehost, CNAME flattening is now supported directly and does not require Cloudflare. See our guide for configuring DNS with Bluehost.

Check out our video for configuring CNAME flattening with Cloudflare, or proceed with the steps outlined below.

  1. Log in to Cloudflare
  2. Select your domain name from the list
  3. Delete the existing A record for your apex domain
    • EX: domain.com, it may also be denoted as @
  4. Add a CNAME record using your WP Engine CNAME
    • EX: environment.wpengine.com
  5. Check for your “www” record:
    • If your “www” record here is an alias of your domain, (the value field will be your apex domain or @) you can leave it as-is.
    • If it points to an IP address, you will need to repeat steps 3 & 4 using www instead of the apex domain.
    • You should end up with two records that look similar to this:
  1. Scroll further down on this page and locate Nameservers
    • This step will be performed at your DNS host.
    • Cloudflare will show you two different nameservers values.
    • Leave this tab open so you can easily copy and paste them in the next step!
  2. At your DNS host find the area to edit your nameservers.
    • Typically, this is in the same area where you manage DNS records. You may need to select an option to set “custom nameservers”.
  3.  Change the nameservers to the ones shown in the Cloudflare pane.

That’s it! You can track propagation of your DNS changes on a site like this. Be advised, the nameservers and DNS settings may take some time to change over from here. This is largely dependent on your DNS host itself, so if you have concerns regarding propagation, reach out to the DNS provider where you purchased the domain and where you pointed the nameservers to Cloudflare.

NOTE: Updating the Nameservers for your domain will affect all records associated with it, including email addresses. Be sure to work with your email host to copy over any extra DNS records into Cloudflare.

Cloudflare offers many services and options so be sure to configure them properly. Learn more about Cloudflare in our Best Practices guide.


Point DNS Using an ANAME Record

Some services allow your apex/root domain to be configured using an ANAME record. This is similar to an ALIAS or CNAME record, in the sense that it can point to a dynamic CNAME address. You will add an ANAME record (for the root domain) and a CNAME record (for the www or any subdomains) to DNSMadeEasy. Records configured in this way will look like the following:

Record
Purpose
Record
Type
Record
Value
Resolves
From
Root DomainANAMELeave blank, implies root domainenvironment.wpengine.com
wwwANAMEwwwenvironment.wpengine.com
SubdomainANAMEblog, shop, etc.environment.wpengine.com

NOTE: If your website lives on a subdomain, such as blog.domain.com or shop.mystore.com, adjusting the root and WWW records are not necessary. Only the subdomain record is required to point a subdomain.

In this example we’re using DNSMadeEasy.

  1. Log in to DNSMadeEasy
  2. Select your Domain
  3. Click Records
  4. Locate ANAME Records section
  5. Click + to add a new ANAME record
  6. Leave the Name field blank
  7. Enter your WP Engine CNAME in the field labelled Name
  8. Add a period to the end of the CNAME:
    • EX: mysite.wpengine.com.
  9. Set a TTL (time in seconds for the changes to take effect)
  10. Click Submit to save
  11. Click + again to add another ANAME record
  12. Enter www in the Name field
  13. Enter your WP Engine CNAME in the field labelled Name
  14. Add a period to the end of the CNAME:
    • EX: mysite.wpengine.com.
  15. Set a TTL (time in seconds for the changes to take effect)
  16. Click Submit to save

View full instructions from DNSMadeEasy.


Point DNS Using an Alias Record

Alias records work the same as ANAME and CNAME records in the sense that your root/apex domain can be pointed to a dynamic CNAME. You will configure your root domain using an alias record (which is typically denoted with a blank record name, rather than @), and the www or any subdomain records using a CNAME record. Records configured in this way will look like the following:

Record
Purpose
Record
Type
Record
Name
Record
Value
non-www
Domain
AliasLeave blank, implies root domainenvironment.wpengine.com
www
Domain
CNAMEwwwenvironment.wpengine.com
SubdomainAliasblog, shop, etc.environment.wpengine.com

NOTE: If your website lives on a subdomain, such as blog.domain.com or shop.mystore.com, adjusting the root and WWW records are not necessary. Only the subdomain record is required to point a subdomain.

In this example, we’re using DNSimple.

  1. Log in to DNSimple
  2. Click Domains
  3. Select your domain name
  4. Click DNS
  5. Click Add Record
  6. Select Alias
  7. Leave the Name field blank
  8. Set the Value field to your WP Engine CNAME
  9. Choose your TTL (time in seconds for the change to take effect)
  10. Click Add Record to save
  11. Click Add Record again to add another record
  12. Select CNAME
  13. Enter www in the Name field
  14. Set the Value field to your WP Engine CNAME
  15. Click Add Record to save

View full DNS configuration instructions from DNSimple.


Point DNS Using an A Record

Pointing your A record to your static WP Engine IP will work just fine, but you will need to update your DNS records if your website is ever migrated to a new server while your website hosted with us. Records configured in this way will look like the following:

Record
Purpose
Record
Type
Record
Name
Points to
non-www
Domain
A@ or mydomain.comWP Engine IP Address, EX: 123.456.78.09
www
Domain
CNAMEwww@
SubdomainCNAMEblog, shop, etc.environment.wpengine.com

NOTE: If your website lives on a subdomain, such as blog.domain.com or shop.mystore.com, adjusting the root and WWW records are not necessary. Only the subdomain record is required to point a subdomain.

Once you retrieve the IP address value, log in to your DNS host. This is most often the Registrar where you purchased the domain. If you are not sure who your DNS host is search for your domain on WHOIs.

We’ve created separate guides for the most common DNS hosts:

If your DNS Host is not included above, log in to your DNS host’s dashboard and locate the area to manage DNS records. Your existing records will look similar to this:

  1. Edit the A record named @ and change the “Value” field to your WP Engine IP address.
    • This is the value for your root domain, or non-www.
    • If your DNS host lets you modify the TTL (Time To Live) value, set it as low as possible. This makes the update propagate more quickly.
  2. Now check the “www” record:

Learn how to read and navigate your DNS providers dashboard.


NEXT STEP: Learn how to add an SSL and secure all pages over HTTPS

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