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Thread: WordPress confusion

  1. #1
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    Default WordPress confusion

    Here is what I am pulling my hair out about.

    I need to do a redo on my main website. I plan to do it using WordPress. I also want to change hosting companies. My main web site has probably 80 pages so it isn't a small site and it isn't done in WordPress. What I would like to do is to create the site without disrupting my current site and once it is done make it live.

    Until I read the fine print I had planned to do this with a staging area that some hosts offer. When I look closer most staging areas are really designed more to test changes to a WordPress site hosted there without risking having errors that could crash the site. One (SiteGround) can do what I want but the fine print says if your domain is not pointed to them you have to set up a secondary hosting account with your domain registrar. This domain has Network Solutions for the registrar and looking at things I looks like setting up the secondary hosting is really difficult and that they don't offer much support on the issue. Until yesterday this was the plan but now that option is making me nervous.

    My back up plan is to install WordPress on my computer and build the site and upload it. There are some tutorials on YouTube and it doesn't look easy but doesn't look that bad.

    The next option I have not ruled out is to sign up for hosting with the hosting company I want to be my final host and I have a lot of unused URL's so I could build the site using one of the unused URL's and then rename the site. I have no idea what problems that would create but it does seem like a viable option but that is a guess. If someone trips over the site while I am building it that won't be a serious concern.

    The last option and the one I like least would be to set up a sub-directory on my current host, install WordPress, build the site, repoint the domain and then move it to the new host. This would have some advantages but it would be the option I like least.

    I just know enough to be dangerous so perhaps someone here who knows a lot more than I do can suggest which options would be the best and which problems I am not aware of that I might encounter. I am hoping to start on this in the next few days.
    Ray Badger, Turbo Technologies, Inc.
    www.TurboTurf.com www.IceControlSprayers.com

  2. #2
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    Default

    The way I would do this is to signup for the new hosting account and build the WordPress site there and once you have the new site working, change the DNS information (the nameservers) with your registrar to point to the new hosting company. You won't disrupt the live site at all this way.

    You don't need a staging site. What will happen is your current site will show to people just as it does now, while you work on the new site behind the scenes. The challenge is that you'll need a way to access the new WordPress site on the new web host. Oddly enough, I just moved a couple of sites to Siteground this week and last. I haven't been with them very long, but so far I'm extremely happy with the decision to use them.

    To work on your new site you change one file on your computer called your hosts file. Siteground will tell you exactly how to change it. It's a way to trick your computer into thinking that when you want to visit your domain, it should go to the IP address of the new site and you can work test the site as though it were the live site. You comment out the one line when you want things to return to normal so you can visit the live site. It's a little more than just changing the file. You often have to clear the cache on your computer when you change the hosts file, but there are commands to run to do that quickly.

    Only you ever see the domain pointing to the new host this way. Everyone else visits your current site as usual until you want to make the switch. You do end up paying for both hosting accounts while the work and testing is done on the new site. If you think it will take a long time to build the new site, you might set things up on your computer to build it locally and then do all of the above to test the site.

    An alternative is to just move the site as is to a new host and then build the website behind the scenes. You can place all your existing files in the server root (probably inside a public_html folder) and then build the WordPress site inside a directory in the root. You might visit the new WordPress site at domain.com/wordpress/. Technically anyone else could too, but no one would know it exists to try. When the site is ready, you move one WordPress file back up to the root and make a small change to it and the site will load when someone visits domain.com without the extra directory. The one file tells WordPress where all the files it needs are loaded.

    Most of the WordPress sites I've built have WordPress inside a directory like this.

    Also once the new WordPress site is ready and you move the one file out and back into the root, you'd likely want to move all the files for the old version of the site into a separate folder or just download a copy and then delete them from the server.

    That may all come across as more confusing than I intended, but the gist is that there are ways to build the WordPress site on the new hosting account, while you leave the current site where it is. You'll have to do a couple of technical things to work on the site. They may be a little confusing the first time or two you do them, but once you understand what to do it isn't difficult to make the changes and then change things back.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks, That is a big help and if I can do it that way it would be great. I am fine with paying for two hostings at the same time. I won't say the "hosts file on my computer" is something I completely understand but I am sure they can help me with it.
    Ray Badger, Turbo Technologies, Inc.
    www.TurboTurf.com www.IceControlSprayers.com

  4. #4
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    My problem is solved thanks to Vangogh and the customer service at SiteGround. I have to say I was beyond impressed with the customer service at SiteGround.

    I went on the online chat and asked about secondary domains and setting up something using the hosts file. The support guy said they could just set up a temporary URL for me and said if I was ready he could set everything up for me and get me running. So he waited while I signed up for the plan and then configured a temporary URL, and the Wordpress log in. So I am set with my site ready to start, WordPress installed and ready to start building my new site.

    Thank you so much Steven.
    Ray Badger, Turbo Technologies, Inc.
    www.TurboTurf.com www.IceControlSprayers.com

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