How do I view my site before changing my DNS?

When you visit a website, you are redirected to the hosting company where your DNS is pointed. It’s also possible to upload your content to the DreamHost servers before you point your DNS to DreamHost and then view how the site will look on your DreamHost server. This article walks you through how to view the website you’ve uploaded to the DreamHost servers before this DNS change.

A note about using with a CMS

Some Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress have the domain name stored as a setting in the sites configuration file.

You can install and set up your site on a subdomain. But when it comes time to migrate the site to the primary domain, you’ll need to update the URLs in the database.

Visit this link at WordPress for further details on how to move the site to a new URL:

Viewing your site through a subdomain

For temporary web viewing, you are able to add a subdomain of on your (Panel > 'Domains' > 'Manage Domains') page. For example, if your site is named, you can set up a subdomain such as Then, set that dreamhosters URL to MIRROR your primary website.

In the example below, your site is named and the dreamhosters subdomain is named

  1. Open your (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’) page.
    01 DNS viewing site.fw.png
  2. Make sure your domain is set up as Fully Hosted.
    01 Adding Domain Subdomain.fw.png
  3. Click the Add Hosting to a Domain / Sub-Domain button found at the top of the page.
    The Manage Domains page opens where you can make various changes to your settings:
    03 DNS viewing site.fw.png
  4. Scroll down to the Mirrored section and fill in the two fields:
    • Create the mirror at: Type in the address you wish to use. In this case, you’d type in "".
    • Mirror this site: Select the name of your primary domain to be mirrored.
  5. Click the Mirror this domain button to complete the setup. It may take up to 6 hours for this newly-created mirror to update, but once it does, you'll be able to access your domain (via this mirror) before you change the nameservers to point to DreamHost.

When you are ready to point your DNS to DreamHost, visit the following article pages which provide full instructions:

Do not try to visit your site at DreamHost by its IP address, as the IP address is for the server, not the website. If you visit the IP, you’ll see a Site Not Found page which you can read about here:

Viewing your MySQL database before DNS change

If you need to access a MySQL database before DNS changes, you can do the same thing by using a "temporary" MySQL host arrangement.

Visit the following article for more information:

Viewing your site through your hosts file

You can also edit the 'hosts' file on your home computer. Making an adjustment to that will allow that specific computer to view your site at DreamHost before changing your DNS. View the following article for further details:

See also

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Article last updated .