Ready to launch?
Configuring a custom domain (such as yourdomain.com) is an important step in getting your website ready for the world.
By default, your new hosting account was configured using an access domain that we generated based on the site title you entered. Your access domain is in the format, your-site-title.advancedwp.com. We set it up this way so that you can access your new website for development, migration, and testing purposes before you’re ready to launch. But have no fear, it’s easy to configure your custom domain when you’re ready to launch.
Updating your Domain Name System (DNS) can have unintended consequences if it’s not done properly. It’s a good idea to write down your existing DNS records before making any changes. We also recommend lowering your Time To Live (TTL) to 3600 seconds the day before making the change so that updates occur quickly. Every domain name registrar is different, so please familiarize yourself with your registrar’s documentation prior to making any changes.
Part A — Verifying Your Access Domain
Before you can configure your custom domain, you’ll need to know your website’s access domain. You can get this information from your Advanced WP Dashboard.
From your Advanced WP Dashboard, Click the down arrow to reveal your access domain and server IP.
Copy the Access Domain.
Part B — Connecting Cloudflare
Cloudflare is one of the world’s largest network platforms (and also great domain name registrar if you don’t already have a custom domain name). Using Cloudflare will make sure you’ll never need to update your nameservers again. It also has the added benefit of a content delivery network (CDN), a free secure socket layer certificate (SSL), and protection against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. All of this is to say that it’s a great service that will help your website.
Open a new tab in your browser and navigate to https://www.cloudflare.com. Here you can sign up for a free account and get started. Enter your custom domain name when prompted (or register a new one).
Create a free Cloudflare Account.
Click “Add Site” (if it doesn’t already take you to the screen shown).
Enter the custom domain you’d like to use.
Click “Add Site”.
Cloudflare will lookup your existing DNS records (if any) and before asking you to choose a plan. You can learn more about each plan on their website, but we will use the FREE plan for this guide.
Choose the FREE plan (or upgrade) and click next.
DNS is like the phone book for the internet. When you navigate to a custom domain (like sockbox.ca), your browser checks the DNS system to find records that tell it the IP address of the server (ex. 188.8.131.52). We’ll use Cloudflare to host your domain name’s DNS records. We need to remove any existing A (or AAAA) records for your website (yourdomain.com and www.yourdomain.com) as those will point to your old website (or your registrar’s website). Then, we’ll replace them with two (2) CNAME records.
If there is an A record with your domain name pointing to an IP address, remove it.
Begin adding a new record with the CNAME type.
Enter the custom domain name you will be using.
Enter your access domain access (copied from your Advanced WP Dashboard).
Click “Add Record”.
Notice how the cloud icons are currently grey? This means that traffic will bypass Cloudflare’s network. This makes set up and configuration a bit easier. We’ll revisit this in our Advanced Cloudflare Setup & Best Practices guide. You may choose to enable this now, but if your website is not properly secured you may experience SSL and/or Cipher errors when trying to access your website. You can turn this feature on or off at any time to help diagnose redirect and SSL certificate issues.
The next step is to copy your Cloudflare’s nameservers. You’ll need to replace your current nameservers with those provided by Cloudflare and remove any extra nameservers that may be set up.
Copy the nameservers provided by Cloudflare.
You’ll need to head over to your domain name registrar and replace the current nameservers with the two shown. We’ve used Google Domains for our example, but the process is very similar for other domain name registrars (GoDaddy, Domain.com, Name.com, NameCheap, etc.).
Remove your existing nameservers.
Paste the nameservers provided by Cloudflare.
That is all that is required to get you up and running with Cloudflare, however, it’s a powerful service with lots of tools to help your website. We’ll come back to it in our Advanced Cloudflare Setup & Best Practices guide for advanced configuration options.
Part C — Updating WordPress To Use Your Custom Domain
Whew. We’re almost there. The last step in the process is to update WordPress to use your custom domain. This will make sure that the server knows which website to route that incoming traffic to for your custom domain.
Click the edit icon in your server details in the Advanced WP Dashboard.
Change your “Domain Name” field to your new custom domain.
Click the save button to update your domain.