Pointing your domain at your WordPress VPS

April 26, 2016

Once you have your WordPress VPS up and running, you will very likely want to to point your website address (domain) at this server. No matter who you have registered with (GoDaddy, Namecheap, Gandi.net or a multitude of others), they all use DNS.

how-dns-works

Think of DNS like a phone directory for computers. A DNS server looks up and gives back the real address (an IP address) for a website to any computer requesting that website by domain name (or “URL”), So to get your WordPress VPS to respond to calls for your website URL, we need to update the DNS servers at your provider!

A DNS record has 2 main parts. A Records point at web address (eg. www) and MX Records point at mail servers. We are interested mainly in A records. You will need to ask your host about “mail only” hosting options for your domain, or look into something like Gmail for Work ans then configure your MX Records.

Changing an A Record

Usually you can email your host’s support desk and ask for an A record to be modified. If this is possible, simply ask for the “root” A record on your domain to be pointed at the IP Address of your VPS (mailed to you after checkout is complete).

Alternatively, you can login to a dashboard somewhere and do this yourself. The process differs from provider to provider, but there are also enough similarities for you to muddle through based on the following.

  1. Log in to your GoDaddy account.
  2. Next to Domains, click Manage.
  3. In Card View, select the domain name you want to use, click the settings icon and select Manage DNS.
  4. At the bottom of the Records list, select A (Host) from the drop-down list.
  5. Complete the following fields:
  6. Host Name — Enter the host name the A record links to. Type @ to point the record directly to your domain name, including the www.
  7. Points to IP Address — Enter the IP address of your WordPress VPS.
  8. TTL — Select how long the server should cache the information.
  9. Click Add Record and you’re done.

cardviewmaster

Using CloudFlare

An alternative solution is to ask your provider to modify your entire domain to use CloudFlare‘s DNS Servers. This gives you a very nice dashboard to modify individual DNS records, plus it give you all the speed and security enhancements offered by CloudFlare.

Managing DNS via CloudFlare

Watch the video for more information – there’s a bit to it, but the results are worth it!