UPDATE YOUR DNS VIA CNAME OR A RECORD
Thanks to WP Engine, we found this awesome page describing a very logical process to understand what you will need to do to point your staging website (i.e. WP Engine, etc.) and the difference between a CNAME and an A Record.
Before continuing we’d like to make you aware that there are two methods in configuring your DNS:
- A Record
We highly recommend all of our customers utilize a CNAME when configuring DNS as this provides flexibility in the event that your site needs to be migrated. Unlike an A Record that utilizes an IP Address, a CNAME will never change even if your site moves to a different server.
If you’ve used the hosts file trick to view your website on WP Engine, you can proceed to the next step. If you’re still using the temporary URL (ex: [sitename].wpengine.com) then you will need to update the URL to your live domain.
- Update WordPress URL
LOCATE WHERE YOUR DNS IS HOSTED:
If you already know where your DNS is hosted, you may skip this part and proceed to the next step. If you’re not sure who hosts your DNS record, you may do a WHOIS record lookup. Go to pureWhois, type in your domain name, and click on ‘Search.’ On the next page you will see a long record. Towards the bottom of a page, locate a section called “Name Servers.” The Name Servers are usually named after the company where you have the DNS record hosted. So for example, if one of the Name Servers is called ‘COCO.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM’ then that means the DNS record is hosted with CloudFlare.
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.
LOG INTO YOUR DOMAIN MANAGER:
Once you’ve identified where you domain’s DNS record is hosted, the next step is to log into your Domain Manager to change the DNS zone file record. Below are the links to the common DNS hosting companies with their instructions on how to access the Domain Manager:
UPDATING THE RIGHT RECORD
You will only need to perform one of these. WP Engine recommends only utilizing the CNAME as described at the top of this article, as this makes your site more flexible in the event it needs to be migrated.
Update The CNAME
Once logged into your Domain Manager, select CNAME for your Record Type (also called Zone Function) instead of A Record. Once changed, input your WP Engine CNAME, which is going to be yourinstall.wpengine.com. You can learn more about finding your CNAME here. Save the record and allow a few hours for the DNS propagation period to take place.
Update The A Record
First, you’ll need to find the IP address that is associated with your WP Engine account. To locate the WP Engine IP, you can follow the steps in this document: “How to Find Your IP Address?” Additionally, you can simply ping [yourinstall].wpengine.com. If you don’t know how to ping a domain, you can use this website to find your IP: Site24x7. Just type in the [yourinstall].wpengine.com address, enter the access code, and click on the button ‘Find IP.’Lastly, you can find the IP address associated with an account by logging in to your User Portal, clicking on the account that you need the IP for, and looking at the Overview Page:
The ‘A’ record controls what IP address your website traffic goes to. All other records will stay the same. Locate the ‘A’ record instances of your current IP address and replace it with your WP Engine IP. Save the changes, and now we have to wait. On average, it takes 2-4 hours for the DNS record change to take into effect, but technically speaking it may take as long as 24 hours total. This is a result of the IP change having to propagate to servers across the world, and unfortunately cannot be expedited.
Once you’ve configured your DNS, you may use the Launch Phase within the Migration Checklist to verify that your DNS has been pointed to us; which you may find in your User Portal.