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Another Domain Mapping Question... With a Twist (17 posts)

  1. iamjohnellis
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Okay, so I have a question about domain mapping, even after reading all of the solutions to domain mapping on this and other forums.

    Important Info:
    Hosting on mediatemple (dv) server.
    WPMU 2.8.4 running successfully on using the subdomain method.
    Donncha's Domain Mapping Plugin installed and also running successfully.

    The Question:
    Is it possible to use domain mapping without parking on top of

    I am using WPMU to power my clients' websites (primarily as a CMS, not as blogs). I like to control as many aspects of my clients' sites as possible, so I have them pay me to purchase domains and I host things on my mediatemple (dv) server, keeping me basically vertically integrated. That way, should any problems (never!) arise for any one client, I don't have to go chasing for their domain registrar information or hosting provider for logins, etc.

    The problem comes when I start parking all of their domains on top of Suddenly, I can't have 2 clients with the same email prefix. If two of my clients' names happen to be Dave, and they both want, I can't have and because everything has to go through the primary domain, a la

    I want to use WPMU to power multiple sites on multiple domains, but still preserve all of the FTP and mail capabilities of fully functioning, seperate domains on my server. Is it doable?

    Thanks, Andrea--I mean, everyone. ;-)

  2. andrea_r
    Posted 14 years ago #

    LOL :D And here I am answering!

    The mail is possible. I do it on my own sites, and part of it was by accident, which is really funny...

    you just set up a different MX record (and not other DNS info) for their domain. Or, use a different mail host. One of my email addresses is routed thru godaddy, where I got my domain. I have a couple of personal clients emails set up the same way. They login to the godaddy webmail interface with the username & pass I gave them for their mail. they can choose to get their mail via Thunderbird/Outlook the same way.

    Another email I have, the main domain is moved onto a mapped domain on MU on the dedicated box, but the email is still routed thru my VPS because the MX records are still there.

    (It's kinda freaky when you think about it.)

    I can't exactly remember where in (mt) they have that, or I'd go login and check for ya.

    The FTP part? Not such a good idea, unless you're giving them ftp access to JUST their blogs.dir. The down side is if they're uploading files, there they won't show in the media manager. The rest of the codebase is shared, so no way in heck are you going to want to let them upload themes & stuff.

    Of course, it is possible to give them their own plugins/themes folders but that's a bit more work... :D

  3. miklb
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Why not just set them up with Google Apps for their email?

  4. iamjohnellis
    Posted 14 years ago #

    It's a bit weird in (mt) because on a (dv) account, you can manage the DNS Zone File from the (mt) account center, or you can manage it via Plesk. If you park the domain on top of another (which you have to do via Plesk), I don't think you can manage the DNS Zone File via Plesk, you can only manage it from the account center. In which case, I'm not sure what kind of complications/conflicts might arise.

    I'm not so concerned about the FTP stuff because most of my clients don't really care about that sort of thing; they just want a website they can update themselves. But it seems like I should be able to keep the domains configured separately on my account and just work some CNAME magic to get everything routed correctly. But then again, I have a fairly limited idea of what the heck I'm doing.

  5. andrea_r
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Well, you're on the right track. :) It's a little more confusing with (mt) control panel, I find because of what they call things and where they hide them.

    You may wind up creating a full DNS zone for a domain, then deleting the bits you don't want, just leaving the mail, then parking. (hmmm, not sure about that..)

    Google apps for email would be hella easier. :D

    If you had more control over the box, or knew how to do it via ssh, then it's possible.

  6. iamjohnellis
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I'm afraid I'm not following you guys on the Google Apps for email. Are we talking GMail or some other service I'm not aware of? Pardon my ignorance.

    In terms of control over the box, one of the benefits of the (dv) account is that I have basically full control. I can install/modify whatever I want at my own risk. So do you mean I should modify the DNS zones via ssh or what?

    I really appreciate the help. I'm basically beta testing this whole idea right now, and if I can sort this issue out, WPMU will be confirmed as an incredibly useful way for me to conduct business.

  7. andrea_r
    Posted 14 years ago #

    "I'm afraid I'm not following you guys on the Google Apps for email. Are we talking GMail or some other service I'm not aware of?"

    Google has paid service where they handle your domain's email for you in a g-mail like environment. But it's not simply an email forward.

    "So do you mean I should modify the DNS zones via ssh or what?"
    That's what I'd do.

  8. miklb
    Posted 14 years ago #

    It's a paid service only if you need more than I think 50 email accounts. I find it much easier to do this. Depending on how many accounts your clients need, you might find it just as easy to set up an account for your business, and add the client addresses to your account. They have tutorials for adding domains to the base account.

  9. iamjohnellis
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Okay, here's an idea...

    With the Domain Mapping plugin, you're supposed to have an A record point to your WPMU installations's IP address. But since all of my domains are already on that same IP address, could I point the A record at, and let the plugin handle it from there?

    I suppose I should shut up and try it already...

  10. iamjohnellis
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Nope, turns out you can only use an IP address for A records.

  11. andrea_r
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Then you have to use a CNAME record if you need to send one TLD to another.

    (yes, it's do-able with the DM plugin)

  12. peiqinglong
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I'm not sure if this will be helpful to you or not, but I do something somewhat similar to you, but slightly different. This is how I manage it.

    I have a MT (dv). I host two separate WPMU installations on the same (dv), because of specific needs, but let's just pretend I only have 1 WPMU installation to keep it simple. I register all my clients' domain names through GoDaddy, if they have a different provider, I do a domain transfer to GoDaddy so it's all in one place. I currently have 19 domain mapped sites on my single WPMU installation using Donncha's DM plugin. I also use Google Apps (there is a free version), on all the 19 sites so they all have unique email accounts that they can individually manage or I can manage for them. From GoDaddy, I set the A record to point to my WPMU server IP. Then I setup each of the individual MX records for each domain record to point to Google's MX server to utilize Google Apps.

    I've found this way to be the least headache as I used to have my clients switch their nameservers over to my WPMU server and I would manage it from the server, but I found that to be a huge pain, especially if switching hosts or what not.

    YMMV, but this works very well for me.

  13. andrea_r
    Posted 14 years ago #

    login via ssh, find the httpd folder. What you;re looking for is the file with the vhost entries for all sites. (Apache2 scatters them everywhere)

    Fidn the config entry for your main MU install. Right on the ServerAlias line where the wildcard subdomain is, put the mapped domain name in there.

    That is the same thing as "parking" in Cpanel.

  14. iamjohnellis
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Okay! I've solved it!

    I am able to set up in Plesk just like any other domain, complete with email and whatnot, and then edit httpd.include to ALSO have as an alias of! Plesk will only let you have it one way with the domain, but now I can have my cake and eat it too.

    Thank you guys for all the help!

  15. andrea_r
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Awesome :)

  16. autoenthusiast
    Posted 14 years ago #


    How did you get domain specific emails to work with mapped domains in MU, at a loss at the moment :S

    Any help would be appreciated :)

  17. andrea_r
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Well, the email aren't handled with MU. :) You set up the emails either:

    - where the domain itself is hosted
    - via google apps
    - or add mx records for them on your host, in addition to parking

    It really isn't a WPMU-specific question, it's just using one server to host the mail while the domain is served up elsewhere.

About this Topic

  • Started 14 years ago by iamjohnellis
  • Latest reply from andrea_r