Moving to DreamHost

I’ve had my web site and domain hosted with Page-Zone for several years now, and until recently I’ve been reasonably happy with them (or at least not really un-happy).

Within the past few months however, I have had numerous problems and friend (who is a current DreamHost customer) recommended DreamHost to me.

I like what I see so far (much more “bang for the buck” than what I’m getting now, not even considering the problems I’m having), but I’ve never really had to move a web site on an active domain before, so I’m not really sure how to go about it (without a lot of downtime).

Do I get an account at DreamHost without my domain first, get everything set up and working, and then move my domain? or is there a better way to do it?

Any advice and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thanks!


C. Scott Davis

Use dreamhost before moving your domain.
When everything will be ok, move your domain to DH

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You can set up as many subdomains when adding new domains from the panel. Add one of those and make sure everything is set up as you want it. Then initiate the domain transfer/redelegation and wait while the DNS servers across the globe is being updated. That will minimize downtime. Some users will be redirected to your old hosting and some will be redirected to your new. The domain name will work for them without having to type a subdomain. Usually after about one to two days, most of the DNS servers are updated and all of your visitors will be redirected to your site hosted on DreamHost and (if everything was set up correctly) they haven’t noticed a thing.

Here’s the wiki article on it:

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I never have any downtime moving sites…

I just create the accounts, upload byt FTP to the hostname IP or server address, and only then do I point the DNS of the domain to the new server.

Voila :slight_smile:

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That’s often all it takes.

The advantage to mirroring it first is to make sure nothing is broken, as DH settings can be different from other hosts, like paths, permissions, etc.

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follow the mirroring info in the wiki article seiler posted, there are enough differences in the way dreamhost does things to cause some sites that work elsewhere to fail here. the necessary changes if any are usually simple, but best to test things first.

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Thanks (to you and everyone else) for the responses!

After reading the wiki article, I’m still a little confused about what I choose when I do the initial sign-up.

I assume I choose “just a sub-domain for now”, even though I plan to eventually move my domain to DreamHost (although I’m not 100% sure).

I’m also not sure what to put in the “First domain to host” field. Do I put my actual domain (even though I’m not actually moving it yet)? Also, is there anything I need to with my email prior to the final domain switch-over?

And I didn’t understand the “mirroring” section of the wiki at all.

Last question: I have several sub-domains, such as and Do I set each of them up as individual sub-domains of (until I switch over my actual domain)? or do I set them up as directories under my “main” sub-domain?

I’m sorry to be so completely and utterly clueless here, but this is the first time I’ve ever actually moved a site when the domain already existed with another host.

Thanks again!

If you currently have the domain hosted elsewhere and you wish to move the hosting (but not the domain registration) to DreamHost, follow the procedure below;

During sign-up select the “I already own a domain, I just want to host it with you (you can still register a free domain later)!” option.

Enter the full name of your domain in the “First domain to host:” field.

Once your application has been approved and everything is functional, you can follow the instructions in this wiki article to create a free sub-domain to mirror your real domain. This will allow you to install and configure things before pointing the DNS to dreamhost and making the new site ‘live’.

Sub-domains are not implemented as sub-directories here at DreamHost. Each sub-domain has its own web accessable directory and is basically treated the same as a full domain.

This means you will have to add your sub-domains via the panel at Domains -> Manage Domains -> Add Domain / Sub-Domain and create a new sub-domain to mirror each of them.


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