Are you trying to point multiple domains to a single WordPress installation? Do you want to display unique content for each domain and easily manage all content in one site?

Domain mapping is the solution!

Many people looking for such a solution usually don’t know how to call it, so here are some of the most common ways people I’ve heard refer to domain mapping:

  • Multiple domains in a WordPress site
  • Manage two domains in one WordPress site
  • Point multiple domains to one WordPress site
  • Display content from different domains on the same WordPress website

No matter what you decide to call it or how you want to use it, there is nothing wrong! Domain mapping can be used in many unique ways to achieve all of the above goals.

In this article, I will share the best way to map multiple domains in WordPress and how it can enhance your WordPress site according to your unique needs.

What is domain mapping?

Domain mapping is the process of directing traffic for multiple domains in a WordPress installation.

Why do I need multiple domains for my WordPress website?

There are many reasons why you might want to manage multiple domains in a single WordPress website. Here are some use cases to give you an idea of ​​why this might be useful. Domain mapping is very suitable for:

  • Use your own domain to build a custom login page to target the specific audience of the product/service.
  • Create pages with different domains for each language or country on your website without using translation plugins.
  • SaaS or WaaS products allow users to choose to use their own domain or provide a virtual URL.
  • Multisite network using WordPress multisite functionality.

This is not a complete list of operations you can perform using domain mapping, so you may find other creative use cases and ways to take advantage of it.

How does domain mapping work?

Suppose you have two domains. You can point these two domains to the same WordPress website, and by mapping domains, you can manage the content of each domain in your WordPress installation.

Each domain can be used to display specific posts, pages, custom post types, or completely different “subsites” (in the case of a multisite network).

In effect, this organizes your website into “sections” based on each domain.

This diagram gives a good example of the domain mapping structure, where 3 domains point to a single WordPress site:

Example of domain mapping in WordPress

In this case, domain 2 and domain 3 will be mapped domains. The WordPress site will display the content of the corresponding login page and product page assigned to each domain.

This is a bit different from a multi-site network, which is more complex, and the structure may look like this:

WordPress multisite domain mapping

The key here is that in the case of domain mapping or multi-site networks, the URL bar will display domain2.com and domain3.com or each specified page or “subsite”, so users will visit different domains but the same Core WordPress installation.

It is important to note that domain mapping is not something that WordPress works out of the box. By default, every WordPress installation is set up for one domain and must be properly configured to handle multiple domains pointing to it.

Prerequisites for domain mapping

Before you start to map your domain to a WordPress site, you need to know a few things and some information.

Purchase your domain or configure subdomains

You need to purchase primary and secondary domains, or create subdomains of the primary domain.

The subdomain is the prefix of the main domain, such as “support.your-domain.com”.

Domain mapping can be used for the main domain and subdomains, depending on which of the following solutions you decide to use.

Configure name server + DNS records

It is essential that the name servers and DNS records are properly configured for all domains or subdomains that you want to map.

If you have questions about this, I suggest you watch this video to help:

Configure your server

Your server needs to be configured to handle domain aliases in the case of secondary domains or subdomains.

If you are using cPanel, which is a common server management interface provided by many hosting companies, you can use these applications to configure domains very easily:

cPanel domain

Set up your WordPress website

The final step is to set up your WordPress website to properly handle the domains mapped to it. This is where you may need to configure the core WordPress configuration or install useful plugins to make things easier.

Let’s take a look at some of the available options.

Domain mapping method in WordPress

Historically, domain mapping in WordPress mainly requires a multi-site network, which is a method of creating a network of sites where the administrators and users of these sites are separated from each other, and the main sites on the network are separated from each other.

This is how WordPress.com is built, and many other projects that allow you to create a blog using its network subdomain.

There are other ways to make mapping a domain to a WordPress site easier and simpler than a multisite network, and you can even customize your own coding solution.

Option 1: WordPress multisite network

❌ Complex settings

❌ Difficult to manage

If you are interested in creating a WordPress multisite network, you can follow these Steps from WordPress.org.

The process involves configuring your WordPress site to use subdomains or subdirectories of each site on the network to handle multiple domains.

After completing the complicated setup process, you will be able to easily switch between the network sites in the upper left corner of the control panel, such as Network administrator settings.

WordPress network administrator settings

A multisite network will effectively provide you with multiple WordPress sites using different domains or subdomains, and allow you to manage them separately in a certain way.

Complexity arises when it comes to plugins and themes, plugin licensing restrictions for multiple WordPress sites, and other restrictions that exist in multisite networks.

For example, you may not want to create a complete independent subsite to manage two domains on the site. This means that you have to constantly switch between them to manage the domain and the content on it, which can be painful if you have a lot of content.

In addition, if you are using advanced plug-ins that provide features for your site, you usually cannot use these features in your multi-site network, because most plug-ins require a unique license for each site.

For plug-ins and themes that work in your network, you can only customize the settings for them individually if they are properly configured for a multi-site network, otherwise changing the plug-in settings on one site may affect the entire network!

Option 2: WordPress plugin

✅ Easy to set up

✅ Easy to manage

Domain Mapping System

Use plugins such as Domain Mapping System, You can easily manage the mapping domains of your WordPress site and point them to specific posts, pages, products, or any type of other custom post types.

Domain mapping allows you to manage multiple domains in a single WordPress site without having to switch between “sites in the network”.

Step 1: Select the available post types for the mapping domain

Once the DNS records and server are properly configured, all you need to do is install the plugin and activate the post type to which you want to map the domain:

Active post type for mapping domain

Step 2: Enter the domain you want to map

Enter the domain you want to map in the field, and then select the post, page, product, or custom post type you want to display for that domain.

Enter the domain you want to map

Then, open the mapped domain in your web browser, you should see the URL bar showing the mapped domain, but the content of the specified post type will be displayed on the page.

Plug-in document There are some other expert tips and things to pay attention to during the configuration process.

Let’s move on to the last option available for mapping domains to WordPress sites.

Option 3: Custom code your own domain mapping solution

❌ Complex settings

❌ Difficult to manage

The best part of WordPress is that it is fully customizable! You can customize the domain mapping solution as needed-if you have the ability to customize the code yourself.

Just as multisite requires some fancy customizations to WordPress, you need to follow a few key steps to make it work.

However, each server environment and settings are different, so although we cannot foresee the various domain mapping solutions that you may need to build or customize, you need to pay attention to the following points:

  • NGINX or Apache needs to be server-side customized for each domain or subdomain you set up.
  • NGINX or Apache can communicate with your WordPress website through the WordPress REST API, depending on the method you want to use to establish the correct domain mapping for each type of post on your website.
  • You may need to customize in the .htaccess, wp-config.php and page template files installed by WordPress.
  • For any other domains you want to map (such as other plugins and multi-site support), sitemap indexing will not be done automatically by Yoast SEO.

Where to go from here

Mapping domains in WordPress is not always easy, but hope the above tools can help you get started. Whether you choose to use a more advanced method of multisite networking or a simplified method of using a WordPress plugin, you have many useful options to help you get started-just find the right option that suits your needs and consider how long it takes to set it up.

If you are a developer or have a developer in your team, you can always take the route of more advanced custom coding your own solutions, but most unique use cases already have solutions available, and the existing options are in the WordPress space Medium is usually satisfactory. If you have any questions or comment below, please feel free to contact us, thank you for reading!