Create subdomain

How do I create a subdomain? I have two domains hosted with dreamhost, but I want to create a place where I can build a test site for a client.
Also, is it easy to then transfer the test site to the client’s url (which will also be hosted by dreamhost)?


Hi! In panel under domains ‘manage domains’ click on the green line ‘Add New Domain / Sub-Domain’ and call your domain something like '

As a suggestion for security, create a new USER for each subdomain, and make sure the checkbox ‘extra web security’ is checked.

Go to manage domains in the panel and press the button “Add New Domain / Sub-domain…”

type something like in “domain to host”

I usually change the radio buttons to Remove WWW, but that’s preference, I would advise against “Leave it alone” tho, that just creates confusion.

“Run this domain under the user:” – in this case the best thing to pick is the SAME user the main domain is running on. This can be found one page back on the Manage Domains main page. Look for the domain and check the “web hosting” column for the user name. Doing this makes it easier to transfer your test sub-domain to the main domain.

Leave the rest alone, or adjust to your needs and press the “Fully Host this domain” button.

My answer conflicts with this instruction. Kelly7552 is correct for new sites, it provides better security. HOWEVER, in the specific case of a dev site that will be later transferred to the main URL, it’s much easier to use the same user.

My concern, LakeRat, is if a testing site gets created and forgotten as say a wordpress install, the chance of it being updated and maintained could be approaching zero, especially, if the OP is working in a team. This raises the risk that the main site could be hacked in the future through the test site since they share user space.

So if I want my client to be hosting their own website eventually, but they do not yet have a registered domain/hosting package with dreamhost, can I still start building their site on my development subdomain and transfer it to their url when the work is finished?

Yes. In that case you can create a subdomain on to use for now. Do the above, but for the sub-domain name choose (If you pick something already taken you will just have to change your request and try again.)

In this case you will want to change the user dropdown to “Create New User” (on the bottom of the list). This will make a new box appear where you can specify a user name.

Later you will need to use rsynch to bring the files to the customers new dreamhost account.

Okay I think I’ve added the proper subdomain - - with a new user, but it reads that the site is unavailable - bad httpd config…

give it a bit :wink: That should clear up. When you refresh the page be sure to use ctrl-f5 or shift and the refresh icon.

Aha, success! You guys rock. Now, how do I load Wordpress onto this particular subdomain?

in the panel go to… goodies > 1 click installs > click on wordpress > Click Custom install > select that subdomain in the dropdown (you can leave the blank after the / empty) and click Install It for me Now.

Yes, I tried that - my subdomain doesn’t show up for some reason. ???

The dreamhosters domain shows up as “This site is parked with DreamHost”

Ditto your subdomain

If you want to build out your client’s site on, change that to fully hosted :slight_smile:

Okay now that I waited a few extra minutes, the site shows up in the dropdown menu under the install to section. I’m rather impatient, aren’t I?
So soon I will have a dreamhosters subdomain with Wordpress on it - can I import a paid theme, build the site, and then transfer it to the client’s url when they have one? I don’t want to pay for the theme if I can’t transfer the finished work to the client’s site eventually, of course.
Thanks everyone for all the help. I need it #notatechie

Why use a paid theme? Have you looked thru the free ones? all of which are customizable. (BTW once you get wordpress installed, there is even a better way to look thru free themes from the WP dashboard.)

If you do hire someone or choose to purchase a paid theme, make sure it’s been updated for the current wordpress version, and that you have an on-going relationship with the creator for updates. Don’t just pay money for a theme and expect that to be the end, as wordpress evolves so do the theme’s. Also a large percentage of the PAID theme’s are full of backdoors installed on purpose by the seller so that there team of hackers can use the back door to reek havoc. Buyer beware.

In either case, Yes, you can transfer the files and database from one account to another. It’s a bit on the advanced side but it can be done. I’m not sure if dreamhost support is able to help if asked.

Oh that’s good to know about paid themes having issues - and scary. Problem is my client has already picked a theme she wants to use, sigh. See, I can just wait, get her to by her own domain and hosting (through dreamhost) and then have her load up Wordpress and install the paid theme, but it would be easier if I was doing all that for her - at least in her mind. So I’m just concerned that if I buy the theme and install it on the dreamhoster subdomain, I won’t be able to transfer it to the client’s domain easily. Should I contact dreamhost support now to find out if they can do this?
Yikes, looked into it and it is way more complicated than I want. What do other people do when they want to build a site for a client and then transfer the finished product to the client’s url?

Study the provider of the theme, figure out how public they are with who their customers are. Find out how quickly they are able to update the theme if a wordpress upgrade breaks it. Are there any complaints against them? Look for stuff in 3rd party forums.

At least you know certain standards have been met for the themes available from wordpress, and the price is right =]

Build it, export database, archive files.

Search & Replace db dump with a text editor; altering dbname, table_prefix, doman.tld and /home/username/path and import into new database.

Dump files in client userspace and edit wp-config.php with new database credentials.

Yes of course :slight_smile: You’ll just want to change the URLs eventually, like you would for any time you move WP.

FWIW, I have nothing against a paid theme, but since you’re clearly doing this for hire, I would go that extra mile and vet the theme before agreeing to use it. Better to have a fight up front to make sure they get a good, reliable, theme that meets their needs, then have them grumpy cat later.

No grumpy cats wanted! I have done some research and an reading positive things about the theme provider, which is good. I’ve sampled the demo too. Beyond actually buying the theme, not sure what else I can do.

I’m a copywriter, not a techie person, so I’m still unclear about my options for creating in wordpress and moving to the client’s url when the site is done. Until I understand better I will create this wordpress site on the client’s url.

We all start out where you are, give or take a copywriter vs a student vs a cook vs a parent :wink:

The secret sauce to moving WP is that you have to search/replace your content, looking for and replacing with The difficulty lies in the fact that said content is stored in a database, and that scares people. A lot. And for good reason. Files are way easier to replace than a DB. However there’s an awesome plugin - - that I’ve recently fallen in love with for this. The WP Codex has the official directions on how to move WP: But there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to do that on a client if you’ve never done it. I would take time to try it out, though, so next time you can look like a totally expert dev :slight_smile:

As for the theme, if you can, check out the themeshop’s support forums, if they have any, and make sure they’re listed here: Those aren’t the only commercial themes to use, but they have all been at least reviewed once :slight_smile: