Building sub-site or sub-domain


I’d like to create a test environment for my domain, something like or I need my hand held in how I might go about this in Dreamhost. Can someone walk me through this?

Ideally, I’d like to link my test environment as a sub-site accessible through the Wordpress dashboard of my production environment. How would I link these?

Finally, is it possible for two sites linked through the Wordpress dashboard to have different themes? That’s the whole point of the test environment I want to build, to try out different themes.

Thanks for your time and advice!!

You could use wordpress multisite to do this. That setup is for advanced users tho, there is much that can go wrong, and you will need to troubleshoot on your own. Also since your sites are running under one wordpress engine and an “experiment” might knock your main site offline as well.

You can also create a second development site on a subdomain such as You don’t get any integration between the sites via the wordpress dashboard in this case, but you also won’t have “an experiment” bring your main site down either. To do this add the sub-domain on the manage domains page in the panel. Then you can use the one-click installer to install a second copy of wordpress. When you set the sub-domain up in the panel be sure and use the SAME server “user” for the new test sub-domain (there is an advantage here when you need to copy themes/plugin files between the sites). I typically use .htaccess access control on the test site to keep nosy people, search engine crawlers, etc out of the test site.

Another difference is, if you set it up with multisite and ask support ANY question the answer you will get is they don’t provide support for multi-site installations.

Awesome, thanks for helping me think through the pros and cons of multisite vs. sub-domains. Can you point me to a resource to get smart on .htaccess access control? I’m a better photographer/writer than I am a web developer…

Thanks for your time and help!!


The simple method is to use the function in the dreamhost panel. Goodies > Htaccess/WebDAV. When filling out the form: leave the “Directory name” empty, check the password protect box. LEAVE THE “ENABLE WEBDAV” box UNCHECKED. Call it anything, “test site” or something will be fine. then fix the usernames and passwords in the next text box, and press the “configure this directory” button.