How do I set up my site at DreamHost before changing my DNS?

This article details how to upload your site to DreamHost before changing your DNS at your current host. In this way, you can see how the site will look at DreamHost before you make the final DNS change.

Create an account and add your domain

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  1. Sign up for any DreamHost plan. View the following article for details:
  2. During the signup process you can select the option to add your current domain to your DreamHost account. This does not affect your current live site.
    After you sign up, you have a hosting plan with a domain, but the registration is still not pointing to it yet. You won't be able see your DreamHost version of the site through a browser, but you can access it via FTP. Please review the FTP article for directions on how to log into your FTP account with DreamHost.
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  3. Use an FTP client to upload your website content to your site on your DreamHost server. View the following article for details on how to do this:

Mirroring a domain

See also: Mirror Domain

When you create a mirror domain, you are creating a server alias that allows you to access the content of your DreamHost site before the domain itself has become accessible from DreamHost's servers. Follow these steps to set it to mirror your existing domain that you already have in your account.

  1. Log into your account in the Panel.
  2. Go to the (Panel > 'Domains' > 'Manage Domains') section.
  3. Click the Add Hosting to a Domain / Sub-Domain button.
  4. Create a free subdomain using the ‘dreamhosters.com’ domain. Example: MYDOMAIN.dreamhosters.com.
    This subdomain is free of charge.
  5. Open the ‘Manage Domains’ page on your Panel at (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’).
  6. Click the Edit button under the ‘Web Hosting’ column for the subdomain you just created using your ‘.dreamhosters.com’ domain.
  7. Scroll down to the ‘Mirrored’ section of that page to set up the mirror to your main domain.
  8. Enter the domain name you’re going to use to mirror your primary domain in the ‘Create the mirror at’ section.
    The ‘Mirror this site’ section is where you enter your main domain.
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  9. Click Mirror this domain.
    It usually takes between 4 and 8 hours for the subdomain to start working. After that, the example.dreamhosters.com site you created above allows you to view your main domain in the interim period before the DNS is pointed to DreamHost.
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Updating your nameservers

After you've uploaded your website and confirmed it looks correct, you can then proceed to point your DNS to DreamHost.

Return to your old host and change the 'nameservers' for your registration to point to DreamHost using the following:

  • ns1.dreamhost.com
  • ns2.dreamhost.com
  • ns3.dreamhost.com
Note: This modification takes anywhere from 4-72 hours to propagate across the Internet, after which your new nameservers will direct visitors to your account here with DreamHost. Your mirror will no longer be needed at that time.
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See also

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