Best way to transfer a website to DH


#1

I have 1 domain registered with DH.
I have a 2nd domain ( .ca ) registered with a different registrar and the website hosted by another webhosting company.

I want to rebuild that site on DH and then redirect the domain to point to the DH site, then discontinue the original site on the other webhosting site. I want to do this with the shortest possible downtime

Does this sound right:

  1. add my domain on DH ( although it is currently being hosted elswere )
  2. create a directory for it on my account and then populate this with the files for my website.
  3. redirect my domain registrar to point to the DH servers

step 2 is going to be a problem because I was going to set up the new version of the website using joomla! and I need a live site to do that from. Is there anyway on DH I could set up a joomla! install before I transfer the domain from the old webhost company to DH so that there would be virtually no downtime…

Jeez did that make sense?


Dave Blakemore

#2

You may want to refer this article for detailed instructions. It tells you clearly how to transfer your site to DH without downtime to your site.

Basically what you need to do are:

  1. point your DNS to DH.
    ns1.dreamhost.com
    ns2.dreamhost.com
    ns3.dreamhost.com

  2. add domain to DH via DH panel --> Domains --> Manage Domains --> Add Domain/Sub-Domain. Directory will be automatically created.

  3. upload your files.

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#3

For the shortest downtime, I’ve always thought that the key is to fool your local machine (your windows machine at home, for example) into thinking that your domain is hosted at Dreamhost. The easiest way to do that is to set an override in your hosts file - c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts.

A second method is the “mirroring” method. In that method you set up mirroring so that you access your site via another domain name. This has certain downsides for web application software that has the domain name built into it - it frequently generates urls that point to the “real” domain. Thus, I feel like the override in the hosts file is the most surefire method.

Like you said, the steps are:

  1. Set up hosting at Dreamhost
  2. Use the hosts override while you completely set up and test your site.
  3. When everything tests out, turn off updates to the original site, move data, and change nameservers.
  4. Transfer registration (optional and not possible with .ca domains).

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#4

I am still somewhat confused, so are you saying that I can do the following.
Summary:
I own tptc.ca currently hosted elsewere.
I have a DH account already that is hosting another domain.

  1. Through the control panel “add new domain” and add tptc.ca although it is already hosted elsewere
  2. modify my hosts file to point to the domain on DH ( everyone else using dns sees the old site I see the DH site )
  3. Do a one click joomla! install on the DH site and design and set up the site ready to go.
  4. once I have it the way I want change the settings with my registrar to point to DH instead of my existing web host company and then reset my hosts file.
  5. cancel my hosting contract with the old ( current ) webhosting company.

Is it possible it could be that simple or would I have to play around with a subdomain and if so how complex does that make it.


Dave Blakemore

#5

Here is my understanding.

To avoid downtime, we should

  1. add domain via DH panel --> Domains --> Manage Domains --> Add Domain/Sub-Domain [color=#CC0000]before[/color] pointing DNS to DH

  2. a directory will be automatically created for the new domain. upload your files to the directory.

  3. make use of free subdomain.dreamhosters.com. Mirror it to your real domain. Now you can visit your new domain via http://subdomain.dreamhosters.com. Without mirroring, no one is able to see the new domain because DNS is not changed yet.

  4. check the content. if everything is ok, point DNS to DH. During propagating, some will see the site from host and some will see the site from new host and there will be no downtime.

Please correct me if I mis-understand that article.

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#6

Well, some would say that what you’ve described isn’t “simple”, but yes, that’s all you have to do! :slight_smile:

As I said in my original reply, you can do it through the mirror via a dreamhosters.com subdomain as well, though there is the possibility that the original domain as configured in the web application will “leak” through and cause trouble. The url munging that the mirroring does should catch all obvious instances, though. The methods are compatible so you can give both a try and report back!

You’ll notice that the wiki article that Patrick pointed you to does actually describe a third method - adding the Dreamhost name server as your primary nameserver on your local machine (at home).

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#7

To avoid downtime, you should:

  1. create a sub-domain like new.abc.ca
  2. add new.abc.ca on DH, wait 5 minutes, click new.abc.ca’DNS link in your DH CP
  3. you’ll get the IP of new.abc.ca
  4. set new.abc.ca’s A record point to the IP
  5. upload abc.ca’s files and test by new.abc.ca
  6. if new.abc.ca works, then set www.abc.ca mirror to new.abc.ca in your DH CP(you’ll get the same IP)
  7. change www.abc.ca’s A record point to the IP or change DNS to DH’s
  8. done!

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#8

[quote]To avoid downtime, you should:

  1. create a sub-domain like new.abc.ca
  2. add new.abc.ca on DH, wait 5 minutes, click new.abc.ca’DNS link in your DH CP
  3. you’ll get the IP of new.abc.ca
  4. set new.abc.ca’s A record point to the IP
  5. upload abc.ca’s files and test by new.abc.ca
  6. if new.abc.ca works, then set www.abc.ca mirror to new.abc.ca in your DH CP(you’ll get the same IP)
  7. change www.abc.ca’s A record point to the IP or change DNS to DH’s
  8. done![/quote]
    I’m not so sure this will work exactly as stated, but I think the OP was on the right track originally so I’m not going to bother everyone with why unless someone is curious. Other experts here should feel free to chime in.

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#9

Yes, it works. I’v done like that 3 times

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#10

Were you running Joomla! on the site? I know this “traditional” method doesn’t work for WordPress one-click installs - and in general doesn’t work with web applications that have some notion of the site’s address and use it to create absolute URLs and redirects.

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