Going Live is the act of adding your domain to our User Portal, ensuring your Home and Site URL (WordPress and Site Address) are configured correctly, and that your DNS is pointed to the WP Engine servers. Please continue with this article to understand these steps! If you have any questions along the way please feel free to reach out to our support team at any point.
Please read before continuing:
- The time for your DNS to fully propagate can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours depending on how you have your TTL configured. Please contact your DNS Provider should you have any concerns with how you’ve configured your TTL.
When trying to determine if your DNS has fully propagated you may use our WP Engine Migration Checklist; which you’ll find in your User Portal under the install you’re working in. You will find the phase “Launch” will include an email notification tool for you to fill out. So once we’ve determined your DNS has fully propagated to our servers we’ll notify you!
If you’d prefer to watch rather than read – please checkout this video “Going Live with WP Engine”.
Step 1 – Add Your Domain to the User Portal
You will need to make sure that your domain is setup within the WP Engine User Portal. Once you log in to the portal, click on the name of the install, and then click on Domains. See screenshot below for reference:
If the domain is not listed, click ‘Add domain,’ and fill in the domain with the provided field.
It is important to understand that your visitors can only resolve to one domain for your site, either the www domain or the non-www domain; we refer to this as the ‘Primary Domain’, something that can be set for a domain by clicking ‘Set as primary’. Once both the www and non-www versions of your domain have been added and one of them selected as the primary domain, you can redirect the others by clicking ‘Add redirect’ next to each of them:
…and then selecting your new primary domain in the ‘Redirect to’ field:
Don’t worry if your newly added domains show ‘Failed check.’ in the status info area. This can take a few minutes to update for new domains. You can read a bit more about the various domain statuses here: /support/domain-statuses/
This next part is only for users who have imported their database to WP Engine and have not updated the Home and Site URL within their wp_options table. If that sentence is foreign to you then please skip this area and progress to Step 2. For those of you who have imported your database or have edited the Home and Site URL to reflect your actual domain than you will also want to redirect yourinstall.wpengine.com to your site’s Primary Domain in order to prevent search engines from indexing that URL. See image above for reference.
- If you receive a message in red at the top of the screen saying “Sorry, something went wrong. We’ve been notified of the issue.” check to see if the domain has already been added.
Step 2 – Update the WordPress and Site URL
Before continuing with Step 2 please be aware that once you update the WordPress and Site URL, WordPress will redirect requests to the new domain, so you will no longer be able to log in to the site on the WP Engine subdomain (yourinstall.wpengine.com) until your DNS has propagated. You will either need to continue through Step 3 of this article to take your DNS live with WP Engine, or use the Hosts File Trick; which will allow you to preview your site before taking your DNS live.
Note: If you have a Multisite network install then you would need to follow the instructions in the following article for updating your top level domain name: How to Change a Multisite Primary Domain
Log into your your WordPress admin dashboard; which is going to be yourinstall.wpengine.com/wp-admin and navigate to Settings —> General. You are going to enter your domain name exactly as you would like it to appear into the following fields:
WordPress Address (URL)
Also known as Home URL in the database (wp_options table).
Site Address (URL)
Also known as Site URL in the database (wp_options table).
See screenshot below for reference:
Note: If your fields are greyed out you will want to follow the instructions in this article.
As we said previously, you will not be able to log into your WordPress site until your DNS has propagated; which you can use the Migration Checklist “Launch” phase to help, unless you utilize the Hosts File Trick.
It’s a good idea to also make sure that your database and files are using the proper domain. You can use this database search and replace tool to change all instances of the WP Engine subdomain in your database to the domain you set in Settings —> General. Also, you will want to delete this tool from your files after use.
We highly recommend you create a backup point before doing any kind of changes to the database.
If, after updating the WordPress URL and doing the database search and replace, you still see the old domain on your site, you might have references in the files. It can be difficult to find where those live in your site, as you would have to look through them manually. We can help look for these file references on our end; all you would need to do is open up a 24/7 Live Chat within your User Portal.
Step 3 – Point Your DNS
Once you have set up your site and are ready to take your domain live with your site configured on WP Engine you’ll want to perform the following steps:
Point the domain name following the instructions here: How to Configure Your DNS. If you are not ready to go live on your domain name than you can fake out the DNS on your local machine by following these instructions: Using the Hosts File Trick.
Please note that there are host providers that own the nameservers, such as BlueHost, and because of this you will need to setup your nameservers elsewhere. Your current host can help you determine how to move your nameservers.
We also recommend that you enable Search Engine Visibility once you’re determined that your site is live with WP Engine. Which you can find under Settings —> Reading. See screenshot below for reference:
Please read this again: The time for your DNS to fully propagate can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours depending on how you have your TTL configured. Please contact your DNS Provider should you have any concerns with how you’ve configured your TTL. When trying to determine if your DNS has fully propagated you may use our WP Engine Migration Checklist; which you’ll find in your User Portal. You will find the phase “Launch” will include an email notification tool for you to fill out. So once we’ve determined your DNS has fully propagated to our servers we’ll let you know!