Designing a site without domain yet



Quick question, I have DH account and also a domain hosted and reg’d through/with DH. Now, I want to begin to design a 2nd site having nothing to do with my original domain.
I already know that ‘IF’ I had the 2nd domain already registered and DNS done for DH… I could design AND simply type in www.2nd and see the site as I design.
BUT, is it possible to not have the domain, which also means no dns for it… so obviously i cant to it. Is there any way that I can start working on this 2nd domain/site and also view it in browser as if it were ‘live’?
Before answering, know that it is a joomla site, which calls for a DB! And, I really dont wanna create/design this site as a subdomain and then try to move it once it’s domain is registered and DNS is done because I really dont feel like going through the headache of trying to move a Joomla site from a subdomain of my original domain when it is time for it to go live! But to start working on it, like i said I have to have a DB and server side php, scripts, etc. And I dont have a pc setup to simulate all the fun stuff of a real server/php/DB/etc.
Any help?


You might not like this answer, but I really do want to give you “quality” advice, so “here goes”:

I do that all the time, with Joomla! sites, by using the “free” sub-domains, and it works really well. You can also do the same thing with a subdomain of any of your own domains; the process is the same.

I’m wondering why you say that? It’s not much of a headache at all (it is the easiest way to do it, IMHO). It really is a very easy and painless process to do, and only takes about 5 minutes in most cases. Do you really understand what is (and is not) involved in such a change?

First of all, the database is not the problem you seem to feel it might be … you can just create another host alias for it under the new domain name when you are ready to launch if you want to, but you don’t have to … you can just leave it as a host on if you want - it will make no difference to the operation of the new site.

Next, if you create this “dev” site as the same machine user as the new domain, you don’t really have to “move” anything… you can just rename directories and make a couple of edits to the Joomla! configuration file(s) and the database. It takes 5 minutes!

One potential “gotcha” might be encountered if you rely upon “one-click” updating of Joomla! to keep your site current. Renaming (or moving) the site after you “one-click” installed it will “break” it’s ability to be upgraded via the one-click system. Upgrading Joomla! manually is, however, pretty quick and easy, so I wouldn’t let that stop me. :wink:

I suppose you could “recreate” the new “one-click” Joomla! installation when you are ready to launch on the new domain, re-install all your components, templates, and extensions, and then export your data from the dev site and import it into your “new” site, but that is a lot more work, and is considerably more complicated, than the method I’ve described.



i would LOVE to be able to just a subdomain, but I do know what it takes to move a joomla site… i know about the changes in the config.php file… but this site consists of numerous mods AND virtuemart and payment gateway!
That is what would be the hassle, i think i could manage a simple joomla move once the domain was purchased… i just dont wanna have to ‘re’ work virtuemart and gateway.


Yeah, I guess I understand, but it seems to me the payment gateway is really the only thing that should need special attention if you “move” the site by just renaming the directory (say from to Isn’t everything else going to be “relative” to the Joomla! base dir variable that easily changeable?



yea, for the most part a simple joomla move, is like u said… i think right off hand there are like 5 things to change in the config.php… and maybe an item or two other places… but thats basically all that would fall under ‘relative’.
and then a dump of the DB (and prefix adjustment)… if changing servers.
but believe me, virtuemart isn’t that sweet… lol Atleast not that sweet once u have it configured just right, im using 3 p. gateways, one in the UK… and also have fedex mod for customer tracking.
so you can imagine ‘once’ i get it all playing together, if i attempt to move and break just one thing, its possible to spend more time retooling than I did tooling, if u get my drift.
cant even use the one click install, i’m using the ecommerce package of joomla VM all in one… which is sweet in itself…
oh well, i think im going to look into dev’n on a virtual joomla install that sits on pc. I’ve seen the package at joomla extensions. Or maybe even the multi-site management package they have there…


You probably know best with the Joomla!/virtuemart combined ecommerce package.

Just a note that I have never had to export/import any dbs or change any prefixes in the DreamHost environment, as all the MySQL hosts are “virtual” and can be aliased in the Control Panel. The same physical “server” is used irrespective of what hostname you call it by. :wink:

I also understand that the “domain name” related stuff in the gateway(s) and shipping module(s) would need to be tweaked for the new domain, and I can certainly appreciate your not wanting to risk borking any of that once you have it sorted.

I’ve done that too (using xampp), but found it is much the same as developing on a sub-domain except that I then have to FTP the whole package to the real server, I still have to change some stuff (including the server info as well as the domain).

I wish I had a better suggestion for you, but I don’t. Good luck with it, and if you figure out a really good way to do it, I’d love to here about what you work out. :slight_smile:



FWIW, making the transition easy is why I almost always register the domain first - that way, I can minimize the migration issues. Well worth $9.95 to me!

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They’re Dreamhost coupons!


Might not be the best suggestion as I haven’t tried it myself but couldn’t you create the site (with the domain name you want to use) and then just put in some htaccess rules to deny from all but your IP address? Would need to change the rules if your IP changed but I think I have heard of some friends of mine using this to protect areas of their sites, when they want access from a new computer they SSH in and change the file.

I assume of course you know the name you would want to use for this new site and are willing to spend the registration fee. This might however be a bunch of hot air anyway though.


Absolutely! Actually, that is what I do the most often, though I don’t restrict access by IP address;l I just use apache authentication.

Yep, or if you do it as I do, just remove the authentication.



yea, under normal circumstances it would be no problem because I would have already purchased the domain, but like i said previously… the domain hasn’t been purchased (thats outta my control).

rlparker… have u ever done a joomla install and DH allowed the joomla install to create the DB? Ofcourse, I know that the one click will… but lets just say ur doing a 1.5 install, does DH allow the DB to be created like that?
I’m just wondering, I still prefer 1.0.x of joomla, so I am glad that the one click install is still for the stable 1.0.x and NOT for 1.5 just yet, well atleast until all the good mods are ready for 1.5…lol


Well, just a thought … if you know for sure what the domain is going to be, for the few dollars it would cost to register it (in most cases), I’d probably just register it myself so I could go to work, and xfer the ownership of the domain to the client when, and if, they decided to move forward or when they “want” it.The worst that could happen is that you are out the cost of the year’s registration, but that might be well worth the risk if moving everything later is that undesirable. :wink:

Nope. I’ve always had to create the db first. The Joomla! installer can’t do it on DreamHost. :wink:

That’s strange, because in my Control Panel -> Goodies -> One-Click Installs screen, “Joomla! 1.5” is what is displayed (and it has been that way for at least several days now).

This also means that the 1.0.14 Stable is not available for “automagic” upgrading. I have not yet done a one-click install of “1.5” since 1.5.1 was released to address a “high priority security issue” - the last “one-click” I did produced a 1.5.0 installation.



damn, yea i see now that DH is now installing 1.5! I wish they would have atleast left 1.0.x… because there are far more mods that are bonafide and working without bugs for 1.0.x


Could you not set the domain up on dreamhost as if it were registered elsewhere and then set your hosts.txt (or whatever it is for your favorite OS) to automatically lookup that domain to your server’s IP? It would be the same as having the domain purchased, but only visible on your computer.