How to structure a new Joomla website while preserving the current [manual] one

Hello. has been online since about year 2000. It is a 2.5 GB website used by my bicycle club, with HTML4 pages and CSS2, entirely hosted at the root of a single directory (containing many sub-directories) here at Dreamhost.

Under the same domain name, I plan to create with my successor webmaster a new website for the exact same purpose, this time using Joomla or WordPress (my succesor’s choice) to be more modern, with a Start-up Date within the year 2020. I don’t know the first step I need to do.

Before Start-up Date, I currently assume, based on my searches on the web, that the new website, under construction and not advertised (closed to robots), should be visible on the subdomain Meanwhile, I want the old website, still updated, to continue to be accessible from the current domain

After Start-up Date, I want the new website, then solely updated, to be visible on the domain Meanwhile, the old website, no longer updated, would continue to be accessible from the subdomain, advertised and open to robots,

There would need to be a minimal number of links (about 10) from the new site to the old site and vice-versa.

On another forum (mac-forums), I was advised to just make a new directory in the root of the current one and put all the new files in that directory for the new site. The links between them could easily be put on what ever pages I want them on. That’s just the easy way. Just continue to make the new site in the new directory (and test it there) and when it is ready to go live put the index file for it in the root and rename the old index file.

This looks like an interesting proposition that I would gladly follow were I to continue making the new website by hand (text editor and FTP client). However Joomla or WordPress may prefer their own piece of server real estate and may resist a pure directory/subdirectory approach as above.

can I, indeed, avoid my domain/subdomain initial approach and rather just make a new directory in the root of the current one and create inside this new directory a Joomla (or WordPress) new website and instruct the Joomla-robot to put all its new files in that directory for such Joomla new site ? Or do these robot site builders like Joomla or Wordpress need their own piece of server real-estate close to root to live and prosper and feel offended (prevented from working efficiently) at being surrounded by alien hand-made files and folders ?

Alternatively, what would I need to do to implement my initial Domain/subdomain approach ?

TIA for any suggestion.

hi there, if you’re hosting these sites on DreamHost, I would suggest you to create the subdomains so that they use different and separate folders. The suggestion from macforum may not take into account how DreamHost panel works: it’s much easier for you to create the subdomain and put your WordPress files in there (go with WordPress, if you want my advice unless your webmaster is really good with Joomla :)).

your directory structure would look like this:

root-of-your-account | | |

When 2020 is ready, you switch the DNS record of to point at the 2020 directory and you have your new site running.

Thank you very much, smaffulli for this suggestion about I understand that if I do as suggested, (1) the future site under construction would be accessible on the web at the address; and (2) after my switching the DNS records, it would become accessible at

What then do I need to do with the existing website, which must survive the DNS switching ? Do I need to create similarly a 2000.abeille-cyclotourisme subdomain, move all current files and folders in it and switch the DNS records to point at the 2000 directory; or do I need to leave the current website unchanged ? Then when and how do I create the 2000.abeille-cyclotourisme subdomain ? TIA

the existing website will have to become something else, like with the domain configuration pointing at the folder You could setup that subdomain now. So today and until 2020 is a mirror of, while is a development platform (you can hide 2020 from view, with robots.txt if that’s enough or behind a simple .htaccess password).

When 2020 comes, you switch to point to directory The old site held in the directory have it point at the domain record, so both are accessible. Does that make sense?

You can do all sorts of experiments with directories and subdomains without touching the main folder and main domain to get you comfortable with the process. Create for example a new subdomain, call it try-1994, put a simple html file in there. Then create subdomain try-2020, put html in there too, different one. Then switch the DNS records and see what happens :slight_smile:

Great, thanks smaffulli ! You catched perfectly my intent. To verify that I understood your kind suggestion, I need to do my homework, and I will, based on your suggestions. If I have more questions, I will come back to this thread.

The suggestion from macforum may not take into account how DreamHost panel works: it’s much easier for you to create the subdomain 2020.