Building site before domain transfer


I’m transferring a site from another webhost and I want to set up a copy of it on DreamHost and verify that it’s all working properly BEFORE I transfer the domain, so that people visiting the site won’t notice any transition between hosts.

I know the name of the DreamHost server that my content will live on, but I don’t seem to be able to access it via http. I can ssh to it, but I don’t know if I’m putting the pages in the right place to make it work.

I’ve read through some of the kb, which suggests that I create a “dreamhosters” subdomain as a mirror, but I didn’t think I would have to do that. Is that the only way to do what I want, or is there something I need to set up so I can just go to and see my site?

Thanks for any advice you can offer.


Nope, you’ll have to do it as described in the kbase. Good luck.


And in fact the dreamhosters domain is already showing exactly what I expected, so it’s looking good. Thanks!


Yes it’s possible to access the server before the domain is transferred.

This is the way if you have Windows 2000 or XP

You know the name of your server.

Ping it: Start / Run. Write cmd

The command prompt open.
Write ping YouServerName (ex: ping

You will see is IP address. Note it.

Open the hosts file of your computer (it should be in: Windows\System32\drivers\etc) if not, do a search

Open this file with Notepad.

Add the value of your server as explained in the host file.

ip address [tab] domainname


Save the file.

Every time you will enter your domainname in a browser, it will point on your new server. So you can upload and setup everything before changing DNS of your domain.

if you run an older version of Windows, the “cmd” is replaced by “command” and the host file is not in the same place. But overal, it’S the same step.


I run Mac OS X. :slight_smile: Is there an equivalent procedure?


I’m completly noob in Mac stuff, sorry.


You certainly can do the equivalent in Mac OS X, but the procedure of mirroring the domain with the control panel lets other people look at it too, for instance a client from their home or office.

Doesn’t hurt to have a second (or third or fourth) set of eyes preview a site and on different platforms and browsers.