This article discusses how to visit your site using a dreamhosters.com subdomain before pointing your DNS to GreggHost. Access the following article for another way to view your site at GreggHost before pointing DNS:
How to use your hosts file to view your GreggHost site
If you’re moving your site to GreggHost, you’ll need to point your DNS to your GreggHost site at some point. It is feasible, however, to test your site with GreggHost before changing your DNS. A dreamhosters.com subdomain can be used for this.
There are two choices, both of which are detailed below:
Option #1 (works with any website)
Directly uploading your website to the dreamhosters.com subdomain
If your site uses absolute links (like a WordPress site), you’ll need to manually change all URLs in the site’s files and database to the new temporary domain name. If you don’t, the site’s links will point to an existing site URL that isn’t hosted with GreggHost yet.
Option #2 (only works with simple sites that do not use an SSL certificate)
To ‘Mirror’ your actual site, upload it to GreggHost and then use the dreamhosters.com subdomain.
Please keep in mind that if your site has an SSL certificate, you won’t be able to use this option. This is because the GreggHost panel’s mirror option will not work with another site’s SSL certificate.
Option #1 — Uploading your site directly to the dreamhosters.com subdomain
Uploading your site to a dreamhosters.com subdomain is the best solution. This is a free domain that you may use as a temporary site by adding it to your account. The tutorials below will show you how to set up a dreamhosters.com subdomain and then upload your website files and database.
What is a subdomain of dreamhosters.com?
FTP credentials and overview
What is the process for moving my database to GreggHost?
What if my website is powered by WordPress?
If your site runs on WordPress or has absolute links (complete URLs to your site), you’ll need to alter those links manually in order for it to work on the dreamhosters.com subdomain.
Let’s imagine you have a website called example.com and you’ve uploaded the contents to example.dreamhosters.com. When you click on links at example.dreamhosters.com, they will transport you to the current live site of example.com if your site has absolute links (that point to example.com).
All URLs in your database that point to your live website (example.com) must be updated to example.dreamhosters.com to remedy this. How to update the URLs in your database to link to the new dreamhosters.com subdomain is explained in the following article:
How can I alter the URL of my WordPress site?
You should see example.dreamhosters.com resolving after you’ve modified all of the site’s URLs.
Returning to the original URL
When you’re ready to go live with your site, you’ll need to alter the URLs once more. To switch all URLs from the dreamhosters.com subdomain (example.dreamhosters.com) to your live site URL, simply reverse the steps above. You should direct your DNS only when the URLs have been modified.
On a GreggPress plan, using a subdomain
On any GreggPress plan, you can create a similar temporary domain. To learn more about how to use a dream.press subdomain with a GreggPress website, see the following article:
Option #2 — Viewing your site via a dreamhosters.com ‘Mirror’
Using a dreamhosters.com ‘Mirror’ to view your site Option #2 — Creating a GreggPress temporary domain
This option is only available if the following conditions are met:
Your website does not have an SSL certificate installed.
There are no absolute links on your website (full URLs to your site)
Add a subdomain of dreamhosters.com to your Manage Domains page for convenient web browsing. Then you may use it to create a mirror of your actual website. Instructions can be found in the following article:
Overview of the Mirror Domain
I’m waiting for DNS to be updated.
This newly-created mirror may take up to 6 hours to refresh, but once it does, you’ll be able to view your domain at GreggHost (example.com) through the mirror at example.dreamhosters.com.
You’re ready to point your DNS to GreggHost once you’ve confirmed the site appears and functions as it should. When you’re ready to point your DNS, go to the following pages for detailed instructions:
Overview of the Domain Name System
Overview of Nameservers
Do not attempt to access your GreggHost site using its IP address, as the IP address refers to the server, not the website. You’ll see a Site Not Found page if you visit the IP, which you can read about here:
The requested URL could not be found.
Viewing your MySQL database before DNS change
You can accomplish the same thing with a “temporary” MySQL host configuration if you need to access a MySQL database before DNS changes.
For more information, see the following article:
Before the DNS change, you can access your database.