Viewing site without registered domain


Just when I think I’ve got this stuff figured out . . .

I need to preview a site before pointing a domain name to Dreamhost DNS servers. With the hosts I used to use, I was used to being able to view a directory by doing something like . . .


Then, when all is good, I’d point the domain name (from the registrar’s control panel) to the host company’s DNSs and be able to see

What am I not understanding about how it works here? How do I take a look at a site in a directory in my account without having a domain name pointed to it?

Thank you.


You could add a (free) subdomain within panel as a temporary development site.

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Here’s the good ol’ link to such a process.



Thanks for the response. I have given this a shot–adding the subsomain, but now what should the path to view it be? doesn’t bring it, nor does using

Am I correct in my understanding above of what the URL/path should be, and I need to revisit my subdomain settings, or am I still not understanding what the URL needs to be?

Thanks for any further direction.


Two choices:

  1. If you’re going to host a domain here, make it Make it Fully Hosted. Then go back and create a Mirror Domain called (or whatever for MYSUB) that’s a mirror of

  2. If you just want to test and don’t want to save it, just create a Fully Hosted domain called

For those who want to create a mirror, as recommended in the wiki link a couple of messages back, I always suggest you create your real domain site, and mirror that, calling the mirror … That way your site will be appropriately configured when the real deal goes live.


#6 is the format used for adding free subdomains :wink:

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First, thank you for the help and the patience! I’ve set up a fair share of domains and hosting accounts over the past five or six years with other hosts, but right now I feel like a complete newbie because there must be something very fundamental that I am just not understanding.

sdayman wrote:
“If you’re going to host a domain here, make it Make it Fully Hosted . . .”

Ok, when I try doing this using I receive an error that says: Can’t add domain: you don’t have permission to add to

Just to be clear, let me restate my understanding using as the domain and specifying that there are no existing domains or subdomains created yet at all.

Starting from zero, I need to create a fully hosted subdomain as

So, I am typing in

Is this right? When I do this, I receive “Can’t add domain: you don’t have permission to add to”

My understanding is that I create, then create a mirror domain that mirrors Then, I should eventually be able to type in and get a preview of the site. Once things are good, I can go to my registrar and set the DNS for (etc.) and will eventually show what is at Right?

But, I can’t even get started.

Should I be creating, then, then mirroring, etc?

I think there are two things (aside from the error) that are making my brain seize up. First, is the idea of creating a subdomain before establishing a domain. The system doesn’t seem to like it either, but doing exactly that is what I’ve read in the replies here as well as the Wiki articles. Second, is that I’ve always only thought of a domain name exclusively within the context of a domain name being a user-friendly pseudonym for a less memorable IP address/path. I’ve never worked with the idea of creating domains on the hosting server, only directories, and then specifying “add-on domains” so the server will know which directory contains the files for the domain. It seems that with Dreamhost, I need to be thinking of the subdomain as a name for the directory where the files associated with the domain name will reside and therefore the subdomain name itself on the server will be the method of identifying what directory to serve from when a request is made for that domain name. So when I’ve encountered settings that I’ve made at other hosts that are called things like “ad-on domain” or whatever that allow you to basically say, “when the people want, give them what is in folder X”, it’s just a really dumbed-down way of creating a subdomain and Dreamhost just uses grownup language? Is this right?

Thanks again for any guidance or direction.


You’ve cleared it right up. Let’s use your example:

Create a fully hosted domain, since this sounds like your ultimate goal (not a subdomain). If your ultimate goal is to create, you’ll still have to create to get the domain into the DreamHost system, then add

Now create a mirror called that points to

Get this up and running, with all configurations calling it A mirror does the translations for you and makes it function as if it really is Once this is all good, you can set DNS for to use the dreamhost name servers and will eventually go live.

The way DreamHost creates domains and subdomains make them all behave the same. There is no directory nesting of subdomains. They all run in parallel, so can reside in parallel with inside your user directory.



Scott . . . thank you very much for the help. I think I’ve got a handle on it now.