Going Live with a Domain on WP Engine

The phrase “Going Live” on WP Engine means updating your site so it loads over your own custom domain, instead of the default domain “environment.wpengine.com”. Once your site is “Live” someone can type in your new domain and be directed to your site on WP Engine. Your site can also be indexed by search engines and you can begin building SEO ranking on your WP Engine hosted WordPress website.

Going Live Process

Before Going live

  • Ensure your site is done being built-out.
    • The default domain environmentname.wpengine.com should already show all the content you expect it to after going live on a new domain.
  • If you migrated a site, be sure you’ve imported your existing SSL.
  • Test any vital pages on your site that should be working prior to going live.

Add Domain to the User Portal

Adding the domain to the WP Engine User Portal “maps” that domain to your specific WordPress environment on our server. For most domains be sure to add the domain with and without “www” regardless of which will be Primary, so the other does not result in a 404 error.

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Click on the production environment name
  3. Click Domains
  4. Click Add Domain
  5. Enter your domain

If your domain is registered with a supported Domain Connect provider, you may be prompted to automatically point your DNS. You do not have to proceed with Domain Connect and can cancel out of this window if desired.

If you see a Failed Check or Pending Check something is not configured as expected. Check out our guide on domain status for information covering each message.

NOTE: If you receive the error “Domain name has already been taken”, you will need to take some additional steps.

For more information, check out our extended guide.

Update WordPress URL Settings

Updating your settings in WordPress tells the website itself which domain it should ultimately resolve to in the browser. It can also have an effect on the URL generated for some assets. Failing to properly update this can result in redirect loops and login issues.

You must use HTTP or HTTPS here. If you use HTTPS you will see a security warning until you add an SSL after pointing DNS.

NOTE: If you have a multisite you will need to follow separate steps instead.

  1. Log in to your website’s wp-admin dashboard area
  2. Open Settings
  3. Click General
  4. Update two values to your new domain:
    1. WordPress Address (URL)
    2. Site Address (URL)
  5. At this point you will be logged out. You will not be able to access the WP Engine version of your site again until you point DNS.

If the fields on this page are greyed out you will need to open your wp-config.php file using SFTP and remove the following lines:

  • define( ‘WP_HOME’, ‘https://somedomain.com’ );
  • define( ‘WP_SITEURL’, ‘https://somedomain.com’ );

Database Method

If you cannot access the wp-admin area of your site, the WordPress URL can also be updated in the database.

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Click on the production environment name
  3. Click phpMyAdmin
  4. Expand the wp_environmentname database
  5. Expand the wp_options table
  6. Update two option values:
    • siteurl
    • home

Point DNS

Pointing DNS tells the domain which server to send traffic to when a domain is is requested from a browser.

This process can vary by DNS host, so check out our guide for configuring DNS.

NOTE: DNS can take several hours to update and all propagation times are different. If you have questions about how long DNS will take to propagate, contact your DNS host directly.

If you are not ready to point your DNS to WP Engine, you can still preview your site at the new domain. To do this, you will need to use the Hosts File Trick. This makes your computer think DNS points to WP Engine, without actually changing DNS at your host and without affecting any live traffic.

After Going Live

  • Set the Primary Domain and domain redirects in the User Portal.
  • Add an SSL to your site to ensure pages can be served securely over HTTPS.
  • Make sure all vital pages work as expected.
    • If you run an eCommerce site, for example, perform a test purchase.

Common Issues

Redirect loop or login issues

Some links are set to environment.wpengine.com

Site shows insecure or some assets are not loading

Getting a 404 error page

Domain redirecting to wp-signup.php

Your multisite domain references were not set properly in WordPress. Review these WordPress multisite domain locations.

NEXT STEP: Test your site’s performance

Still need help? Contact support!

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