Migration strategy

What’s a good strategy for migrating a web site from another host to Dreamhost without having the users notice any change of url? I couldn’t find anything in the Knowledge Base.

I was thinking of bringing over a tar of my cgi-bin, test how they run on Dreammhost, then bringing over the rest of the content, leaving some kind of link to redirect from my old url to the new url, cancel my old account, then register my new account as the location of my old domain name. Would I use one of my Dreamhost subdomains to be what’s registered as the new location of my previous domain name, and just put a redirect to the new site there?

This worked pretty well for me:


The part I didn’t read correctly at first was to create the temporary subdomain used to mirror your eventual domain as a literal subdomain of dreamhost:

something.dreamhost.com not something.mydomain.org

I have ykfp.org on another hosting service. So for the placeholder that’s eventually going to be where I put the site, would I register ykfp.org.dreamhost.com?

You can name it anything you want. Just add [something].dreamhost.com as a subdomain, and set it to mirror the domain you’ll eventually be transferring. ykfp.dreamhost.com would be the obvious choice, but it could be anything.

You can set up a domain at dreamhost called ykfp.org just like you already have – dreamhost won’t ‘serve’ the site or confuse the internet until and unless you tell your domain registrar to point to DHs nameservers for that domain-- you won’t do that until your migrated domain is up, running (as a DH subdomain) and you feel ready.

By adding your domain at DH you’ll end up with a directory called, conveniently, ykfp.org – in that directory you’d recreate your existing site, probably using a tarball like you had in mind. But since the internet doesn’t know about your directory on DH called ykfp.org. that’s where the neat subdomain trick comes in. Add a dreamhost subdomain called essentially anything not already in use, maybe ykfp.dreamhost.com and have it point at your ykfp.org directory. Then when loading ykfp.dreamhost.com you’ll be looking at ykfp.org files. The more your site relies on relative paths to files and scripts, the easier it will all be. I had some hard-coded script paths and converted as many as I could to relative; the rest I edited to reflect the dreamhost subdomain while I tested them in the DH environment; then I edited them to the ‘final’ domain name after testing. Went to my registrar, pointed my domain at dreamhost nameservers, and (a day or so later) my site just started being served from DH instead of the previous host.

I’m fairly novice at all this but did go through the same thing recently so hope I got the gist of it right. There are many more experienced here and some other/better ideas may come up. Have fun. I like DH a lot.