Probably the easiest question in the world


Hello all!

I’m definitely not new to webhosting but I’m very new to DH.

All I want to do is verify I’ve got the hang of the way DH operates referencing its file hierachy (where my pages live) but I’ve been trying for hours now without success.

I have my DH account setup & approved. I can login to server ‘aquaman’ via ftp and upload files to my domain directory so I’ve stuck a simple index.html in place for test purposes… But now what?

I read elsewhere on the support wiki that I can’t just reference as I’m used to elsewhere nor can I use so how DO I reference my HTML?

I don’t have my domain hosted by DH and in an ideal world would prefer to keep it elsewhere and point the DNS entry at my DH server address. Is this possible? In any event I’d be eternally grateful if someone could put me out of my misery by pointing out the (probably) stupid mistake I’m making here.

I’ve never had this much trouble getting something as simple as web hosting setup before but am happy to believe it’s something I’m doing wrong and not DH.

Thanks in advance,



I’m with you! I can’t figure out how to point a domain to a directory either. This is so basic, but can it be done at BH?


Aquaman was messed up earlier, so hopefully it’s back to normal now. With this in mind, you’re on the right track:

You’ve uploaded your file(s) to the proper directory, thanks to the fact you first created a Fully Hosted Domain. DNS is a bit slow up propagate, so there’s a trick:

However, you said you don’t have your domain hosted by DH, so that makes things murky. Do you mean the registration and DNS? If so, then you’ll have to log into a shell account and type ‘host’ to get the IP address you’ll need to enter in your own DNS server. OR go to the registrar for and tell it to use DreamHost’s DNS servers.



Thanks Scott. I took the plunge and moved my domain’s name servers over to DH.

DNS propagation seems to have taken place, DH appears in whois as my name-server provider, I can ftp to (my domain) and the MX records seem to deliver mail as they did before DH began serving my details. However I’m stuck with one last thing which is odd. takes me to my Google Apps ‘iGoogle’ start page, not the directory on aquaman containing my index.html. How do change this please? Host ‘www’ in seems to resolve to (aquaman) yet still I get sent to Google.

As part of the initial setup process of Google Apps (pre DH) for proving to Google that I own my domain they asked me to insert a CNAME for (google352b5c836910ea8f CNAME into my original zone file, which I replicated in the DH zone file for my domain just to be sure. Could that be related?

Thanks again,



Yep, that’s the problem. Get rid of the CNAME entries in your DNS here, unless you want to use Google for part(s) of your domain.



Just curious Scott, I followed your tip from further up this page:


I did that and established that = IP

Typing that IP into a browser returns a blank page, yet typing gets me my test index.html as expected.

Does Apache on aquaman interrogate the incoming request [from a web browser] to see which domain is being asked for before deciding which directory & html file on disc it should serve up?

That rings a bell from somewhere…




Yep. Part of an HTTP request to that IP address is the URL you’re requesting. The Apache configuration matches the domain in the URL to the directory where your stuff is.

One trick is to add that IP address to your own /etc/hosts, or whatever host table you have so you can type the domain into the URL field and properly go to that IP address.



To be more specific,

when browsing to your browser sends this message:

GET / HTTP/1.1 Host: Keep-Alive: 300 Connection: keep-alive If-Modified-Since: Mon, 05 Jan 2009 21:50:31 GMT Cache-Control: max-age=0DreamHost uses virtual hosting. What that means is the web server will read the “Host” header value above, and then check a list of virtual hosts (one for each domain or subdomain) in order to process the request.

Thus if you just browse to then the “Host” header isn’t going to match any virtual hosts and you get a “default” or an error page.

Now obviously if you have added the domain or subdomain as “fully hosted” at DreamHost, you will have a virtual host entry. But usually browsers will need to obtain the IP address from a DNS server. Scott mentioned a trick where you can have your computer skip contacting a DNS server by simply telling it that = - this will work while waiting for DNS to propagate, but don’t rely on it - DreamHost can change the IP address on you. You can also use the same trick for development on your local machine, just add and remove = as necessary.

:cool: -//-