FTP ?s, Old domain running out soon, from a generally terrified supernoob

Oh man, guys,

I think I am in over my head here. I had made a few personal/non-profit websites on Weebly and someone really liked my designs (I had done a good bit of coding customization and such, so I feel confident that I have design ability.

HOWEVER. Apparently, I am lacking in the technical ability department.
I have several questions, most of which you guys will probably think are stupid, but I’m afraid either I am failing to search them correctly, not understanding the information, or maybe the things I am asking are so braindead that no one has bothered to put them on the internet.

First: The guy I am working for receives a lot of emails with large attachments from his clients and receives them consistently. He also uses an ftp.hissite.com in order to post things to his clients. He gave me the impression that he uses individual username/password logins for his clients, which is something I am not sure how to do, but I haven’t even gotten there yet…

Second: Because he uses his FTP site so much for other clients, he asked if there was an extra charge for using it. I looked everywhere and didn’t see that there was one, but I wanted to double check to make completely sure and haven’t heard back from email support in the last two-three days and my time is running out.

Third: My time is running out because his domain name expires on the 8th of March. I’ve looked and it says it can take 14 days for the domain to transfer, and since he uses his website so much, it will be pretty detrimental for him (which then passes on to me) if it goes down for more than a day. His website is a very basic one, one page and one FTP page, so I assume as far as transferring the information itself shouldn’t be to monumental a task (and I assume I can do that using the DNS transfer wiki?) I just want to make completely sure that I can actually transfer both the regular site and the FTP site immediately (or within a matter of a few hours) without a broken link.

I am just so nervous about all of this because I really don’t want to mess up his business. Since I have only used weebly, transferring was really easy, and both times I was not dealing with an FTP site nor did I have to transfer the site itself (that is, I built the website entirely on weebly, so just weebly just overwrote what was already there)

Finally- I am not a dreamhost customer yet, so I can’t go in and make a mirror site yet and have it ready for transfer. Given the minimal overlap time and the fact that I really don’t know how to build an FTP site, I don’t want to wait until the last minute to build a site. Or is it easy enough to build a generic site with an FTP page on wordpress and then work on design and coding once it is transferred?

I am so sorry if I am asking tons of repeat questions. If I was a customer already, or even a customer with a little more time on my hands, I don’t think I would be so frantic.

Please help!

Thanks in advance, and once again, I’m really sorry for so many questions!

Just to be clear, if I understood you correctly you want to move a site and ftp server and a domain name to Dreamhost?

There is no extra charge for having an ftp server.

Transferring a domain name and transferring a site are two entirely different things. You can transfer both or just one of these things.

One way to go about it if you want to transfer both without causing interruptions is like this:

  1. Recreate your site and ftp server on Dreamhost using their real domain names.
  2. Copy over all the data to the new site and ftp server.
  3. Point the DNS servers to Dreamhost’s servers.

From this point your sites are running at Dreamhost but your domain is still registered elsewhere, but with DNS servers pointing to Dreamhost. Then you can proceed with step 4:

  1. Transfer the domain name to Dreamhost.

Since the DNS servers already point to Dreamhost this will cause no downtime, for the short period of time that some people query one registrar and others the other, they will in effect point to the same DNS servers.

Great! Thank you so much for your help!

And you’re correct, I need to move the site, FTP server, and the domain.

That’s good to know that it isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.

So I can sign up for dreamhost, copy the site to dreamhost, change to where it is pointing and then transfer domain, and it will be the exact same website it is now (which is currently not a wordpress site). Then can I go in and make an entirely new website in wordpress/dreamhost and publish the new one that I will have created on wordpress? ie-doing that will overwrite the old website and then I won’t have to worry about it any more?

Thanks again, ottodv. That was hugely helpful!

Yes in principle, though I wouldn’t create a new site to overwrite the old one. I’d create a new one under something like beta.mydomain.com and then point mydomain.com to the new site when it’s ready. But if that’s too complicated you can also just remove all the old site’s files and move in the files for the new site - what I don’t like about this is that if things go wrong it’s somewhat more work to abort and move the old site back if needed.

Ok, Thank you SO much!
I can do the beta.mydomain.com and then point it there. I would definitely rather do that than risk the nightmare of trying to get the old site back after it has been moved.
Thanks again!

Actually rereading my last post again, I think it could be confusing. Once you are on Dreamhost you’ll see that you can define sites through their panel. It will help create a user and directory in which to host the files for your site. It also allows you to change the domain you associate with that user and directory afterwards.

So switching sites, basically amounts to using that last possibility twice: once to move the old site from something like mydomain.com to archive.mydomain.com and a second time to move beta.mydomain.com to mydomain.com. None of the underlying users and directories gets touched this way. But the site magically gets switched :slight_smile: (ignoring propagation issues for the moment).

With wordpress there are some caveats, but I’d say let’s not delve into that now. When you’re ready to make the switch come back to the forum and ask about switching the domain of a wordpress site, there will surely be someone with experience to give you some advice.

Thank you!! I am so glad this forum exists and that there are awesome people like you on it!