Switching existing site to new domain

Hi all, I volunteer for a small non-profit in the UK. We had a website hosted on Dreamhost. The domain name expired (registered through godaddy) and it is now too late to retrieve it without paying a retrieval fee. As we don’t have budget for that, I decided to just register a new domain (since it’s not really important what the domain is exactly, we just need a basic website to show to donors/supporters).

I bought the new domain name from namecheap and I’ve added the dreamhost DNS in namecheap. My problem is I don’t know how to point it towards the website that was previously created and associated with the expired domain. I’ve had a look online and to be honest I am not getting anywhere, because I just don’t have enough knowledge. The person who designed the original website (with wordpress) is no longer available to help since they got a new and very busy job. I assumed it would be a simple job e.g. copy/pasting some data but I need help and if I can do it myself, i.e. at no cost to the charity, that would be great. Any help much appreciated!



Do you have a copy of the WordPress files and a backup of the SQL database used by the original website? If you don’t, you’ll either have to re-create everything from scratch or try to get those backups from GoDaddy or from the original designer.

If you have the copies, then you need to start by reading the instructions on how to upload a site to DreamHost.

so, i’m going to assume you have not yet added your new domain to the hosting account yet. if so, you need to add the new domain as fully hosted. if it were me, i would make sure to use the same user as the old domain to make things easier. then create a sub-domain and make it a mirror of the old domain. this will allow you to access all of the pertinent information with the same user.

if you login via ftp you will see a folder for your new domain and one for the old one. in the old one you will need to change your wp configuration file to use a new host mask for the mysql database that’s storing your data. this means you will need to create a new hostmask for your mysql database if you haven’t already. now use the sub-domain to log into your wordpress install and go to the general settings. you will need to update the wordpress address and site address to the new url. this will make you lose access temporarily to your install.

now, all you should need to do is delete the folder that is named for your new domain name. then rename the old domain name folder to the new one and you should be good to go.

i didn’t list step by step for stuff like the mysql database because i am going to assume you know how to do things inside of your control panel. there are other ways to update the host mask and such in phpmyadmin as well but hopefully what i have listed will help you out :slight_smile:

Thanks, I have downloaded the original website and SQL and will try to upload

Thanks yes these steps make sense and I was hoping to get into the webFTP to check it out. I have added my new domain with the same user as the old domain. But now I can’t login to webftp with the this user. This is using Pydio’s web interface. The only login that works is for a user that manages a completely different website hosted on this dreamhost account. I’ve tried resetting the password but it just doesn’t seem to recognise the user, even though in the dreamhost domain panel it confirms the user info is correct. Is this something you’ve heard of before/something I’m forgetting here regarding logging into the webFTP? Thanks!!

I suggest you to open a ticket or a live chat with one of DreamHost support specialist because this sort of errors are likely due to confusion and the only way to clear that up is by revealing exactly what usernames you’re using with which domains, and confront those with what’s actually in the system. We can’t see that sort of stuff from the forum. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Hi! I’ve had to do this for a non-profit recently :slight_smile:
The download/upload options tend to end up with a lot of work and a kinda messed up site.
If your old site was hosted on your Dreamhost account then you could try the following which I’ve done before.

  1. Back up/ download all the files from the site.
  2. Set up full hosting for the new site.
  3. Go to “Manage Domains” and in the Web Hosting column for the new website, select “Edit”
  4. Scroll down to “Mirrored”
  5. It should say “Create mirror at: yournewsite”; Under that it should say “Mirror this site:” and show a dropdown list of sites you already host INCLUDING THE OLD SITE even though the domain name expired.
  6. Select the old site from the drop down list
  7. Click “Mirror this domain”.
  8. Give it 10 or 15 minutes and then view the new site, you should see exactly what was on the old site.
  9. Check through all the pages and links to look for any broken links. I’m uncertain about WP but I’ve been able to log in to Joomla from the new site/administrator page.
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