Subdomain vs. DNS method to copy site to edit?

I am the new webmaster for the site,, and we are going to do a major revision/theme change and update, but I would like to leave the current site up, and unchanged while I work on a copy. Do I need a subdomain, or what is the best way to do this? I do have a demo site on, with the theme change, at I need to have the demo/workspace hosted, in order to be able to use e-commerce and other plug-ins. As you can see below, 3 chats with support have not really helped, though I have learned that creating a sub-domain is a pain. I believe I would rather point a new domain at the site.

Is that the way to go?

The first chat I had with support directed me to:
13:26:58] Joseph R: Perform this guide: les/214693138-How-to-move-WordPress-to-a-different-domain-at-DreamHost
[13:30:22] Joseph R:
This will allow the same files, moved over, new database (copied existing), and site urls updated to subdomain so you can work on it
For a staging site environment.

Here is the second chat gist:
Steve Keller: Man…steps 3 through 7 seem like a pain, given that all I am doing is creating a copy site, on which I will do edits, theme change and updates. Can you guys do that for me, or do you think Wordpress would?
[14:34:43] Chris S: If you are just moving the site files to another domain directory for testing purposes you can just download the files via FTP then upload those same files to the test directory
[14:34:54] Chris S: You can create a new db for testing purposes
[14:35:03] Chris S: then when done you can upload it to the main one
[14:37:19] Steve Keller: No testing involved. I am just going to work on the site on a subdomain, leaving the site up, and when the subdomain is ready, it will replace the primary.
[14:38:18] Chris S: Okay, that would be similar. So any changes made in the sub domain directory just move them back to the primary directory. Same with the database. You can just reimport it or even change the config file to use the updated database.
[14:39:11] Steve Keller: Dude…you’re speaking Greek to me.
[14:39:47] Chris S: Haha its okay. Trying to simplify the guide best I can. The guide does provide a little more information but if you follow it you should be okay
[14:41:20] Steve Keller: It looks like I have to create a mysql name, even though the database is there,
[14:41:41] Chris S: you should be able to use the same hostname.
[14:45:18] Steve Keller: so I did that, without adding the “enarev”…Is that right? Would there be a point in cleaning up/clearingout some of the old databases?
[14:46:50] Chris S: That would be up to you and what you wish to do.
[14:47:07] Chris S: It would be a matter of preference really
[14:51:53] Chris S: Was there anything else I can assist you with?
[14:52:00] [14:52:38] Chris S: Its best to keep the databases separate. If not then yes changes will affect both sites that use it.
[14:53:26] Chris S: When you work on the subdomain, the home and siteurls as well as other links will need to be updated to the subdomain url
[14:53:57] Chris S: https://codex.wordpress .org/Changing_The_Site_URL
[14:54:34] Steve Keller: This is above my paygrade. Is there a service you provide that we can pay for you guys to do this?
[14:54:48] Chris S: Unfortunately no we don’t
[14:55:00] Chris S: This would be web development which we don’t do.

The third try yielded nothing, though I did find out that using a subdomain and trying to point it to a site, is not doable.

You say I can just point to my site, and thereby not have to deal with setting up the 8 steps of the protocol I sent?
[11:39:35] Daniela: I am reading it over
[11:42:26] Steve Keller: Once we get the site ready for primetime, I imagine it is not tough replacing the current with the new, though the new would really be just the host pointing to I was going to try the recommended subdomain route because I thought there might be some benefit, but once enamotifdemo is accessed by, it is able to use plug-ins, e-commerce, forums, etc.
[11:42:30] Daniela: you can just point it to wordpress so that you dont have to go thorugh all the steps, because those steps are required if you want to use a subdomain with the same content
[11:43:49] Steve Keller: Essentially it is the same content, because I copied it to enamotifdemo from
[11:48:06] Daniela: ok did you also copy the database?
[11:48:15] Daniela: because 2 sites cannot share the same database
[11:51:24] [11:53:32] Daniela: one moment let me take a look
[11:54:40] Daniela: is the domain you want clear?
[11:56:01] Daniela: does not have any wordpressfiles in it
[11:58:48] Steve Keller: I realize…that is the process I did not complete, and I am trying to just use DNS mapping to, to avoid all the hassle. is the domain I would like to point at
[12:00:09] Daniela: wordpress can only have you point to them via name server change?

[12:04:28] Daniela: i would contact wordpress and see if you can just point to the IP. Because, if you do change the name servers it will affect the main site

[12:07:37] Steve Keller: But what does that error message mean, that “has not been registered”? Can you fix that? On the database set-up I tried to do, for step 3, I was told to use the same database, so I didn’t create an "enarev…mysql…"host name. Can you see what I am referring to, at It seems there is a bad datebase, named myhsql…is that a valid one?

[12:09:33] Daniela: the reason wordpress thinks that is because is a subdomain

Daniela then dropped the chat.
[12:09:49] info: You are not currently in a chat session.

Would it be best, the least hassle, to just register a new domain, not as a subdomain, and then point that to the site?

Sorry for the length of this, but hopefully you haven’t had to read it all, to get an idea of the issues I am having.

Steve Keller

There really is not much difference between what you will be doing between using a domain and sub-domain, however you don’t have to pay for the sub-domain.

I tried to follow your chat to see what the problem is and it seems that the problem is that you don’t want to learn how it works. It is after all “above your pay grade” and they are speaking “Greek” to you.

Also stop wanting to use the site if the final site will be hosted at dreamhost. While both are WordPress it’s not quite the same thing.

Set up a fully hosted subdomain, install a fresh WordPress with a new database, then try running this plugin on both sites:

Or this one:

Note that I haven’t tried this, but they seem pretty popular.

I think I solved the problem with sdayman’s 2nd link…Thanks much!! It’s funny that the tech-suppt. people I spoke with didn’t know this.

I’m glad you got it working.

Tech Support’s job is to help with the servers. The type of work that can be done from the command line. When it comes to third party software, it’s easy to get sucked into a situation they have no control over.

In this case, it is possible to do all this by command line. But as you noticed, it gets quite complicated.

Hey back,
It turns out that the plugin is not able to “push back changes to the live site at the moment,” but the designer says he is working on fixing that feature.
I went on a forum for the plug-in, and found someone has come up with a work-around…

[quote]I used this plugin to create a staging environment in order to do a complete design overhaul on the site. Then I copied the staging install back over to the live install. Unfortunately that also copied the password requirement setting and the name “STAGING - site name”. I turned off the secure site setting for now, but was wondering how to take the various Staging settings off of the live copy. Please help… Thanks!

Rene Hermenau
Plugin Author

Deactivate the WP Staging plugin on your live site and the password requirement should be gone.[/quote]

I am just about to post this to the plug-in developer…

[quote]So, Rene, is this a good work-around of the “can’t push to live” limitation? I am disappointed, too, because I thought your plug-in would allow me to do an overhaul on, using, just as lorigolively thought.

If it is a valid work-around, could you clarify the steps to successfully push the staging site to the live site?[/quote]

The first link you recommended seems complicated, as it still requires delving into the subdomain set-up.


I think you need to create a new sub domain. This can be useful now and make you save time later.