Support » Networking WordPress » Don't quite get Domain Mapping. Using DirectAdmin panel.

  • Resolved krystofo


    Hello. I just installed WP MU Domain Mapping 0.5.3 as advised by “Migrating Multiple Blogs“: “””Since Version 3.0, WordPress includes new multisite features, meaning that it can run many blogs, even with their own separate domains, on one WordPress installation.”””

    This is not working for me. I suspect that perhaps I am just not understanding something correctly? Here is my understanding…

    1. My WP is installed on the root of
    2. I successfully activated a subdomain blog at
    3. I would like =
    4. I would also like always to show in the browser… Is this possible…?
    5. Using DirectAdmin website control panel, I “added” This evidently results in a separate website. My DirectAdmin panel no longer shows its central page immediately, but two links for and… And the files show two paths:
    6. DirectAdmin also posted its default index.htm at
      In this configuration, I do not understand how there could be anything I might do with WordPress or Domain Mapping at that would redirect from another website into…? So evidently I am not thinking in the right direction…?
    7. DirectAdmin has “site redirection” with a choice of 301, 302 or 303. These all work the same way, redirecting but changing the URL to
    8. I am beginning to suspect this is all I can get. However if so, what is the point of the Domain Mapping plug-in…?
    9. Just don’t get it. Thank you for help anyone.
Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
  • Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    Lead Plugin Wrangler

    The point of a plugin is to make it EASIER for you to do 🙂 It’s a nice interface to something you can do on the backend.

    Andrea Rennick


    Customer Care at Copyblogger Media and Studiopress

    Hello. Thank you, but I already read those tutorials.

    Before I re-do everything the third time, I would like to know–am I expecting something impossible, or have I already done what is possible..?

    I.e., What is never clearly explained in any of the tutorials is this:

    1. What exactly is the result of “domain mapping”…?

    a. This means that when someone types in his address bar, will stay in the address bar while the page displayed is the same as (And NOT the result of “domain masking” but actually is where is now parked…?)

    b. …OR… when someone types in his address bar… this will simply be “forwarded” to…?

    2. Also, what then is the difference with “permanent redirect”…? All the tutorials simply say cryptically, “better for page rank.” Yes but better for the page rank of WHAT PAGE?

    a. Better for the page rank of because this becomes “truly” active, so that inbound links posted to will be regarded as true by Google. (?)

    b. …OR… better for the page rank of… because… “permanent redirect” does not redirect automatically but posts a warning page saying, “this site has moved.” Thus implying, “Please adjust your links to go directly to” (?)

    Andrea Rennick


    Customer Care at Copyblogger Media and Studiopress

    You need to create a ServerAlias from to

    1.a. yes. Have you ever used and seen their domain mapping upgrade? This is the exact same thing.
    b. no.

    2. permanent redirect means the NEW domain name will be the offical home of your site. and the page rank for the domain name, not the subdomain.

    Thank you Andrea. It is good to know that what I am hoping to do is possible to do, if you know what I mean. After re-doing everything, I am now “partly” successful… but still problems…

    Redirection Loop problem. With Super Admin: Domains: Primary-NO… there is no problem, but of course, I do not retain BrattleboroBuffet in the browser address bar…. When set to Primary-YES, I get nowhere in Explorer and a “Redirection Loop” warning in Firefox…

    Any suggestions please? (I think I am near the goal, but something is missing!)


    1. The official WDM instructions discuss that there are two methods of redirection, IP-based and CNAME based. I barely understand any of this. At Enom I simply set the nameservers for the same as for (This is also what seems to be done for setting a domain for a blog, which I did successfully.) This alone (before setting WDM) was enough to get me to a weird signup page for my wordpress… Then… after setting WDM, “forwards” successfully to if Super Admin: Domains: is set to “no.”
    2. …If set to “yes,” the blog crashes. Firefox reports “Redirection Loop.”
    3. In response to “Infinite Loop Problem” (3 weeks ago) Andrea said: “””Go to Super Admin -> Sites, then Edit the site. Fill in all the value to the mapped domain.””” I couldn’t understand this instruction. I clicked to Super Admin: Sites: chinabuffet: Edit …but the only changes I could think might help were to change every instance of to This did not help.
    4. The official WDM instructions say, “””define( ‘SUNRISE’, ‘on’ );””” goes in the wp-config.php just above the last “require_once.” However this is below “stop editing” and the Otto tutorial is not so specific. So I placed it just above “stop editing.” (However I think I should revert to the official WDM instructions.)
    5. Andrea: “””You need to create a ServerAlias from to””” I tried to do this as follows…

    There are two aspects to the official WDM instructions for server settings: DNS settings and “domain parking.”

    DirectAdmin has a DNS panel but the official WDM instructions for DNS sound the same as what I already have for “wildcard subdomains.” (?)

    DirectAdmin has no “domain parking” option like Cpanel, but has a “domain pointing” option. I pointed “” to “” with “create as an alias” checked. However this has no effect on the WDM. Works the same with or without this “alias.”

    Update summary:

    • IP-type WDM (WordPress Domain Mapping) might not work with DirectAdmin.
    • CNAME-type WDM always works, presumably. Anyway, I have it working.
    • Howto: Enom -> -> Edit Host Records -> Host name: WWW … Record type: CNAME … Address: … And/or (not sure which is better) … Host name: * … Record type: CNAME … Address: (“DNS Settings” also must be set to “Enom servers.” No custom nameservers. Also do not use “@” for CNAMEs.)

    The details:

    1. After two days of trying everything, IP-type WDM was not working for my DirectAdmin-powered server with the WDM in “primary” mode. (Super Admin: Domains: Primary-YES.) Then Explorer just keeps spinning its wheels. Firefox seems more intelligent and says, “Redirection loop,” or, “Firefox has detected that the server is redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete.”
    2. Non-primary IP-type WDM works fine for me. However, this results in the custom domain disappearing from the browser bar, and thus, the sub-site never being accepted as a unique domain. This makes the custom domain rather pointless. (No pun intended.)
    3. However, contrary to a previous statement by me, with DirectAdmin, “create as alias” is needed for IP-based WDM to work at all. (After deleting or creating this “alias,” it just may take some minutes for the difference to take effect.) Otherwise with Primary-NO, the custom domain only forwards to the Home page. And as explained above, when the WDM setting is Primary-YES, then apparently some “redirection loop” results.
    4. I barely understand these matters. I can only surmise that “maybe” DirectAdmin has nothing precisely equal to Cpanel’s “domain parking” which is in the official WDM instructions. DirectAdmin instead has “domain pointing” with “create as alias” as an option.
    5. define( ‘SUNRISE’, ‘on’ ); has been placed to the second-last line in my wp-config.php, just above require_once and somewhat below “do not edit below.” The Otto tutorial mentions no precise placement. However the official WDM instructions seem to imply that this exact placement is important, so that’s what I did.
    6. I re-installed WordPress using Dashboard: Updates. Also turned off the Weaver template and reverted to the default Twenty Ten. No effect.
    7. After two days of frustration, I finally tried CNAME redirection. Success! Otto’s tutorial seems to assume that IP redirection is best for most cases. However the official WDM instructions list several benefits, and no serious problem, for CNAME redirection. Other than this, no tutorial was clear about whether to enter the CNAME at the registrar or at the server…? For the source domain or for the target domain…? And what precisely to enter for each column…? After some reading in Wikipedia, it seemed “most likely” I should enter the CNAME at my registrar (Enom) for the source domain, as detailed above.

    Additional notes:

    • Both Enom and the WDM instructions warn not to use “@” for a CNAME.
    • I suspect that the asterisk (*) entry above might be unnecessary and perhaps even problematic…? Also, with this configuration, when I enter, the www is stripped. I am uncertain if this is good or bad, but am still experimenting. Any tips are welcome…?
    • For CNAME redirection, my DirectAdmin “pointer” for has been deleted.
    • DirectAdmin also create CNAME and other DNS options for the “pointer” of This was not tried and I don’t know anything about it. In general, for a serious website, one is certainly supposed to set up “custom nameservers,” and not to use Enom’s “public nameservers” which are less efficient. Setting up CNAME records at Enom requires retaining Enom’s “public nameservers.” But on the other hand, bouncing off of DirectAdmin’s “pointing” seems equally indirect…? On balance, a multi-site hosting of a WordPress blog probably should never be expected to be as efficient as a primary website, no matter what…
    • So, I am happy to stay with CNAME-redirection. However, I would be slightly happier to know “if” IP-redirection is somehow possible with DirectAdmin…? Any tips would be welcome.
    • Another interesting possibility: “Domain Mapping Without Plugins,” May 2010. This might be slightly more direct than either IP or CNAME redirection with WDM. However Andrea prefers using the WDM plug-in, “as the included sunrise.php files helps with letting WP know you have some mapped domains before the rest fires up.”
    Andrea Rennick


    Customer Care at Copyblogger Media and Studiopress

    Domain mapping without a plugin is not recommended, because either you can’t login, or the tutorials listed actually create a second network. which is slightly different.

    Every single issue you’re having is due to finding out how to direct the domain properly on your setup. It’s all server-side and outside of wordpress or the plugin.

    At your domain registrar, you need to tell the domain where to go. A record is reocmmended. it’s fast,er & easier. you basically input the IP address of your site. the CNAME reference is instead of an A record.

    At your webhost, you need to say “hey, answer requests for this domain. send it to the folder where I have wordpress installed”.

    I don’t use direct admin, so I have no idea what they might call the equivalent to cpanel’s parking, which is what the tutorial mentions. It’s basically a server alias.

    All in all, it’s mainly to do with your server.

    Andrea, thank you for clarifying the problems with the non-plugin method!

    For myself, the problem is solved. (Mostly.) But I feel the need to point out, for my future reference or readers who (like me) do not clearly understand anything about DNS, some potential ambiguities.

    1. My problem might have been that, instead of IP records, I was doing NS records. ( etc.) Because…
    –This is the way I usually set up websites.
    –This was what I was told to do at
    –I did not think there was much difference. (But maybe there is.)

    2. It seems to me that, if using the CNAME method, nothing needs to be done at the server. This immediately points the name -> End of story. In my experience, the WMD plug-in settings will take over from there.

    3. Finally, maybe the problem is that with DirecAdmin, “pointing” a domain automatically creates a series of server-level A records. These can be deleted.

    4. Nonetheless, with both Otto and Andrea saying that IP is usually nicer than CNAME… I tend to believe there are reasons…! So, here are my current experiments in order of priority:

    (a) Try again with Enom “custom nameservers” ( etc.). Delete the server-level A records generated by DirectAdmin when “pointing.” (DirectAdmin -> User Level -> Advanced: Domain Pointers -> after creating pointer, if WMD is not working, click “manage” to experiment.) Also, if the WMD setting for IP vs. CNAME makes any difference, this also is another possibility. Perhaps with ns1.nameservers, CNAME should be designated for WMD…?
    (b) If that fails… Revert to Enom nameservers. Then use Enom -> Host Records -> IP numbers. As seems to be recommended by Andrea. (Once again, after “pointing,” if this fails, I will try deleting those DirectAdmin server-level A records.)
    (c) If all else fails, Enom -> Host Records -> CNAME: Works for sure, and for me, no pointing or parking is needed.

    (If all this sounds ignorant, well what do you expect from the ignorant? If by chance anyone wants the exact results of these bumbling tests, please reply here. Otherwise, I won’t reply again. I do have it working. Just trying to make it better. Thank you Andrea and Ipstenu!)



    krystofo (others) .. here’s what works for me:

    in directadmin simply create a serveralias in the Httpd.conf of the main wordpress network site… that’s all !

    (Naturally this requires access to http.conf settings which show up under extra features in the ADMIN section on directadmin) [e.g. DA reseller & users levels will not have access to it]

    ServerAlias *.|DOMAIN|


    How exactly would I implement your solution? I have admin access to DirectAdmin and have found the entry for my domain in admin » Custom HTTPD Configurations – but I´m not sure on what to do next.

    Should I just add this line ServerAlias *.|DOMAIN|, replacing for the domain name I want to map – not the main domain – and leave the rest as is?

    FYI – At the moment, when I try to map a domain on my VPS it just says says: “Apache is functioning normally”.

    I hope you´ll reply. Thanks!! 🙂

    Andrea Rennick


    Customer Care at Copyblogger Media and Studiopress

    Should I just add this line ServerAlias *.|DOMAIN|, replacing for the domain name I want to map – not the main domain – and leave the rest as is?


    Thanks Andrea!


    Good luck!

    Andrea Rennick


    Customer Care at Copyblogger Media and Studiopress

    … and in cpanel this is called “parking”. 😉

    Andrea Rennick


    Customer Care at Copyblogger Media and Studiopress

    “Is there a way to do “domain mapping” using NAMESERVERS instead of cname or aname aliasing?”


    Yes. Just use nameservers then. And you do the same thing as above – make a serveralias for he mapped domain to the folder where the main site is installed.

    For mail, set up MX records.

    Thank you Ipstenu, Andrea, Owagu and Matt V. I have just domain-mapped a new multisite using Matt V’s detailed instructions. Thanks to all of your contributions, I now feel well rounded in my ability to activate domain mapping with DirectAdmin, and even assured of achieving the equivalent of Cpanel’s esoteric “domain parking.”

    I was still fuzzy-minded about “aliasing” vs. “nameservers.” The moderator in the DirectAdmin discussion, referenced by Andrea recently above, did not seem familiar enough with WordPress domain mapping. So I posted a question about nameservers & domain mapping in the WPDM Plug-in Forum. This was answered by none other than Ron Rennick, “MultiSite Guru” and a developer of the WPDM Plug-in.

    • Evidently, if I understand Guru Rennick correctly, CNAME or ANAME aliasing is always needed–but aliasing + nameservers can be based either at the registrar or at the server.
    • I believe it is by far the most efficient and flexible to use server-based nameservers + ANAME aliasing. This seems to be what WordPress.COM is doing.
    • However: registrar-based nameservers with CNAME aliasing is very convenient. I don’t have much experience, but so far I find this works fine for small websites such as sub-blogs normally are. (At least if you have a good registrar such as Enom.) Either ANAME or CNAME aliasing can be registrar-based. This also enables the registrar to take over the worrisome responsibilities of email hosting and forwarding.
    • I presume that once server-based nameserving is enabled, you can simultaneously use server-based and registrar-based nameservers and aliasing for different sub-blogs, or switch readily between the two. Although I have not inquired about this.

    This seems to round out my grasp of domain mapping. I now can do it confidently anyway. Thanks to you all.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
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