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The Beginner's Guide on WordPress Domain Mapping

The Beginner’s Guide on WordPress Domain Mapping

Have you heard about the terminology of domain mapping? In fact, this is a great add-on feature that allows you to point multiple URLs to your hosting account or your primary domain. The process of mapping a domain seems tricky for some new webmasters, but the below instructions get you start easily.

In the following, we’d like to come out a detailed guide about WordPress domain mapping, telling you what it is and how to use it for your WordPress site.

General Knowledge about WordPress Domain Mapping

To explain the domain mapping in some simple words, it is actually an excellent process that helps you redirect your reader to the ideal content you want them to check using your preferred domain name. We have listed some common situations for mapping your domains as below.

It is possible that you have registered multiple domain names for your website to match different misspellings and searching quires. Then, you can map all of them to your primary hosting account. In this case, whatever the domain name your readers use to reach your site, they can always be redirected to the right content you prefer without browser switching or any technical side. Note that you have the full control over every mapping domain, creating the individual email account based on your needs.

Also, you can map your domain names to your desired location with the hosting account. For instance, you can map your main domain to the blog folder or to the sub-domain created for your blog section. In this case, when readers access your site, they will check your Blog area in the first sight.

In addition, if you have created the WordPress multisite network, you can give each sub-site a unique and custom domain using the domain mapping feature.

How to Map a Domain for WordPress

As for the domain mapping for WordPress, there are 3 situations you need to consider.

  • Set up an independent website with the WordPress script.
  • Set up your website with WordPress.com.
  • Set up the WordPress multisite.

Here, we’d like to introduce these 3 situations one by one.

Map a Domain for WordPress.org

If you want to start the domain mapping for a self-owned WordPress site, we highly recommend you to use the MU Domain Mapping plugin. In the following, we have listed the detailed steps of how to use it.

Firstly, you need to note that unlike the common plugins that can be installed and activated using your WordPress dashboard, this one requires a manual process. In this case, you firstly need to download it from this page to your local computer and upload the zip file to your website. After that, you can get two essential files that are required to be entered into the wp-content folder, which are displayed in the below screenshot.

Here, we have to note that the domain_mapping one must be included into the mu-plugins folder. If you do not have this special folder, you need to create one in the wp-content folder and get that file into it.

Install MU Domain Mapping Plugin

Now, you need to enter your wp-config.php file and add the following highlighted line of code for the activation of this plugin.

Activate MU Domain Mapping Plugin

Once you have installed this plugin successfully, you now need to enter your dashboard and log in as the super admin. Then, go to the newly added Super Admin area and click the Domain Mapping button. Here, you should enter the IP address of your server machine or the CNAME record pointing to your web server.

As for the Domain Options setting, we generally turn on the permanent redirect and the user domain mapping page.

Super Admin Settings

Now, you can start the domain mapping from the Tools tab of your admin. Simply click the Domain Mapping button. After that, you need to enter the new domain and map it as the primary domain.

Domain Mapping Settings

Here, we have to note that if the newly added domain is not your sub-domain or add-on domain, but a recently registered one, you must modify its DNS settings to point it to your current server IP.

Map a Domain for WordPress.com

To be frank, the default URL for a WordPress.com powered website is not user-friendly and search engine preferred. In this case, you can map the default one to a custom one to achieve the better SEO and professional looking.

To do this, you firstly need to log into your account and enter the Domain Page. Then, click the Add Domain button.

Add Domain Button

In the next screen, you need to click the Map It button if you already have registered a custom domain name. Or, you can consider using the sample domains WordPress.com gives to you, and click the Add button.

Map It Button

Next, you need to enter your preferred domain name and pay the service fee of $13 for each year.

Pay For Domain Mapping

Note that this step needs to be completed by the communication with your domain registrar, asking them to point your domain’s server to the following DNS addresses.

Update DNS Settings

Now, you can go back to your Domain Page and set your custom domain name as the primary domain. Note that the updating process may take hours until your DNS settings are fully updated.

Update Primary Domain

Map a Domain for WordPress Multisite

For this aspect, you can again use the above-mentioned WordPress plugin. As for the detailed steps, you can check our previous tutorial about how to offer unique domains for WordPress multisite via the domain mapping process.


Susan Rose is a freelance writer who has a deep knowledge about WordPress. She loves everything related to website building since the freshman year at Christopher Newport University, and loves to share her experience with people all over all the world. In the daily life, Susan loves detective novels as it can train her logical thinking and creativity.