Domain hosting during development

I am redesigning a website for a friend who already has it up and running. I have an existing site hosted currently. What I’d like to do is set up my friend’s domain as he will be moving the hosting over to my account. I want to develop under his user account and website, but I would like it be previewed through my current site. So for instance:

Friend’s site:

My Site: is alive and well hosted elsewhere and I don’t want to mess with that right now. So I created a domain under a new user account /home/myfriend/

Obviously I can’t ssh in there or visit the site since the DNS stuff is still set to his current hosting. So, I want to create a subdomain on

and I want that to pull content from /home/myfriend/

And I want to be able to ssh into to edit the files and do the development. How I’ve set things up doesn’t seem to work, so hoping someone here can help out. Hope this is a good explanation.

thanks in advance!


Is your friend’s site already hosted with DreamHost? If so, support can move the account over for you in most cases (unless your account still has promo pricing) with little to no downtime. Then you can add a new sub-domain for testing as you suggest. Or, your friend could simply keep his/her hosting plan and grant you access to it

I should have mentioned that. No. His site is not hosted with Dreamhost currently.

If I understand you correctly: you want to test development as if you ware hosting from your friend’s domain, while leaving the real site untouched. I can think of a hack to do this, but it is very complicated.

What you could do is this:

Modify the hosts file on your development machine so that your computer actually uses when you ask for

Add both to manage domains under hosting under the same user. Create a symbolic link from the folder to the

And then when you actually go to host the site, remove the symbolic link and the changes to the hosts file.

That’s the best I could come up with. Good luck.

Actually, maybe I can just symlink the directory /home/myfriend/ to /home/scottb/

I am just going to be installing wordpress and MySQL on and maybe could do all the editing via

I dunno. Maybe something to try. Or I could just build it all on and then copy the files over to later.

I just want a way to develop the new site without taking down his current site and when we’re done, it’s just a matter of having him switch the DNS with his registrar.

You can Remap instead:

But I think this is a better option: