Exisiting site to become wordpress, but need test site for now

Hello -
I have a site hosted with DreamHost that I designed using adobe muse: www.rosegreenstein.com

I would now like to redesign it using wordpress with a theme that I have bought. I would like to keep my existing site up and running while I work on the new wordpress version of it.

As a graphic designer, I have only limited experience with all of this. A few months ago I designed a site for a customer. I installed wordpress on my local machine and was eventually able to get it up and running, (on their previously purchased godaddy hosting) but godaddy had to do a lot of stuff to get it working, of which I have no idea how to replicate.

So I would like to design my new site NOT on my local machine. I have been looking through this forum and came across these links, but I’m not 100% they are applicable to me, since it was for a site being migrated from another host:

Since this is not my area of expertise, I need a little hand holding. Do I create a mirrored site? A test site? Any and all help will be much appreciated. And since I currently do not have a fulltime job, I am hoping to not have to pay extra money for the dreampress hosting…

Thanks very much,

Here’s what you want to do:

1 - go to manage domains in the panel and create a sub-domain (fully hosted) such has dev.example.com, be certain to set the USER to the same user for your existing site.

2 - OPTIONAL: if want to restrict access, go to goodies > htaccess/WEBdav in the panel, fill out the form there which is mostly self-explanatory-- don’t check the WEBdav box tho, that is something else. Also you probably only need one user, this isn’t for added security its just to keep nosy people and search bots (such as google) away from your site while it’s under development.

3 - wait until you see the default dreamhost coming soon page when you visit dev.example.com. This ensures DNS is propagated at least enough for you to continue.

4 - in the panel go to goodies one-click installs and install worpress on dev.example.com (hint: you can leave the box that follows the / blank)

get your site up and running on dev.example.com while your regular site at example.com continues on.

When you ready to make the new site your regular live site there are 3 things you must deal with:

(if you did the OPTIONAL step 2 above, go undo it first–i.e. uncheck the htaccess box and resubmit the form. (and wait for that to happen/take effect before proceeding)
A - (This must be the first step, or you won’t be able to log into the WP dashboard after step B.) In the WordPress dashboard change the 2 boxes relating to the site URL.
B - using FTP/SFTP or the shell, rename directories. example.com to TEMP, dev.example.com to example.com, TEMP to dev.example.com. (if your catching on, the process to this point is easily reversible.)
C - either using phpMyAdmin or a WordPress plugin update all the links in the database. Worpress stores full absoloute links to point back to itself, those will all be dev.example.com and need to be updated to example.com (the name of the plugin I can’t think of right now, if you can’t find it, I’m sure someone can help).

Thanks so much for the quick response! I really appreciate it.
I have now added a test domain and hope that I can continue following your instructions.

Thanks again,

Ask away when something is unlcear, that’s what the forum is for…

I’m back…

My new site design is ready to go so I began following the above instructions to get it over to my regular site.

I got as far as A - changing the 2 boxes relating to the site URL and was immediately punted to an error page:

Not Found
The requested URL /wp-login.php was not found on this server.
Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

When I type in my test site URL, I get a text only view:

I know how to use an ftp to upload things to a site, but I didn’t use one this time around, since everything was done through wordpress - so I don’t know where to go for step B. (I also don’t know what a shell is…)

Not sure how to proceed, hope you can offer some clarification.

I have been noodling around in dreamhost and realized that there are ftp links in the manage domain area. So I have logged into the ftp for my test site but still don’t know where exactly to go/what to do. Most of the files are .php - not sure what I should be renaming…

Turns out I didn’t create my test site under the same user name as the original (doh!) But I’m fixing that now with the help of someone at dreamhost support and I think I get the renaming now as well. So no need for further info for now, think I’m finally almost there.

Thanks very much