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Previewing a domain before DNS transfer

Discussion in 'Plesk for Linux - 8.x and Older' started by Erock, May 22, 2005.

  1. Erock

    Erock Guest

    I was able to view my site before installing a php CMS using the following naming format:


    now that I have loaded up some data I can no longer test\demo the site.

    My problem is that I currently have a website that is live at a shared hosting server and I am transferring it to a bigger\better dedicated server, but I would like to get things up and running and mirrored from the old site before pointing the DNS over.

    Therefore I am looking for some help in displaying my site using the preview functions of PLESK.

    Also, I came up with another idea that I am hoping will work:

    If I setup my site on another domain such as mydomain2.com and make sure everything works, then change the domain back to mydomain.com will everything work?

    If that was confusing here is a better example:

    1. mydomain.com <---live on the net right now

    2. mydomain2.com <---will make live and run\test all my functions of my other website

    3. change mydomain2.com (in plesk) to mydomain.com and then wait for the DNS transfer to happen.

    This is the only possible work-around I could come up with, but if someone has any advice I would deeply appreciate it.
  2. Terminal Junkie

    Terminal Junkie Guest

    One trick I use is to manually enter the DNS addresses of the server for my personal computer's DNS server(s). This allows me to access 'unpropogated' or even 'unregistered' test domains on the server.

    If you use the same domain name on both servers (which I would recommend so that you don't end up with some hard-coded URL problems), you will have to change your personal computer's DNS settings back and forth to get at the new/old site. Also, (as an obvious example) if you create a test domain called 'yahoo.com' on the server, you will not be able to acces the realy 'yahoo.com' site(s) until you either disable the test site or change your PC's DNS settings back you your ISP DNS servers.

    Many of my clients always use the server's DNS as their own PC DNS because their ISP DNS frequently has problems or is very slow (like all the Comcast DNS outages earlier this year).

    I hope that made sense,
    Terminal Junkie
  3. Erock

    Erock Guest

    Thank you for your help!

    Can you point me to some directions of how to setup my computers DNS settings manually on XP Pro?

    Also, what about setting up the domain on another "name" and then changing the name later as described above?


    mywebsite.com is currently online and doing great

    I want to transfer it and all its content onto my new dedicated server with no downtime. (current control is with cPanel)

    I am trying to setup anotherdomain.com and have everything match my other site...then when it is ready I will change the name and DNS to mywebsite.com

    Do you think this will work?

    Again thanks for the help
  4. Terminal Junkie

    Terminal Junkie Guest

    First step: note what your current settings are just in case:
    Start -> Run -> 'cmd' (this will open a command prompt window) -> type:
    ipconfig /all
    Write down/copy the info regarding your DNS server(s) -- you can scroll and resize the window if you need to.

    It is highly likely that your computer is currently set to 'Obtain DNS addresses automatically' so you won't need this info. But, I would hate for you to screw up your settings and not be able to put them back. ;)

    Start -> Control Panel -> Network Connection -> Right-click on the active connection (local area connection?) -> Properties -> Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) -> Properties -> Use the following DNS Server addresses -> enter the addresses of your server in the provided fields.

    Depending on your preferences, many of these may be sub-menus from the Start menu, or you may have to drill down through windows. Also, you may need to change from the 'Simple' view to get to some of these. If you still cannot get to the TCP/IP properties, Google it or try MS web site. Sorry, Windoze is not my forte... ;)

    When you want to access the old (current) site, simply switch it back to 'Obtain automatically' or enter the values you wrote down in the first step.

    I don't know of an easy way to 'change' a domain name in Plesk. Basically you would end up creating a new domain with the correct name, copy/upload your files to the new domain and then delete test domain. And there is a possibility that the site worked properly on the 'test' name, but then fails when you upload it to the new domain, usually if there are some hardcoded URLs buried in the site. This could be a real pain if you have php scripts and mySQL databases, etc, that will all need to be re-installed/re-created. Not to mention the resulting site will be untested... :(

    This is why I prefer to use the real domain name even when testing.

    Also, doing it via a 'test' domain name will require that you register a second domain and wait for it to propagate. Doing it by changing your PC's DNS allows for immediate testing and does not require that you register another domain. Faster + cheaper = better? ;)

    Also, if you have 'live' content on your site (like forums, etc) then I would suggest that you replace the active content index pages with 'place holders' indicating the 'site has moved' as soon as you decide to make the switch. Some ISP name servers will take as long as 72 hours for the new IP to propagate, and you don't want people adding content to the old server during that timeframe. As soon as their ISP's name server refreshes the clients will see the new site.

    Also, if you have control over your sever DNS settings (and you should via Plesk), you can manually adjust the old domain's DNS entries to point to the new server when you make the switch. That way clients who's ISP has not yet updated should go directly to the new site.

    I hope that all made sense,
    Terminal Junkie
  5. manarak

    manarak Guest


    is that the only way?

    is it possible to setup a client domain with additionally a subdomain of the server's standard domain instead?
  6. Cranky

    Cranky Guest

  7. manarak

    manarak Guest

    The hosts file method does not seem to work.

    mydomain.com on my.se.rv.er
    (DNS entries for mydomain.com OK on the server, but public DNS mydomain.com pointing elsewhere - other server other DNS servers)

    I put into my local hosts file

    my.se.rv.er mydomain.com

    rebooted, directed browser to www.mydomain.com, still unable to see new site, I am directed to the current site.

    So, how to access this page:


    but without having to login to plesk using https on port 8443?

    I am currently blocked in the site development because I need to test new themes on the new site, and because the Plesk site preview does not work fully.
  8. jamesyeeoc

    jamesyeeoc Guest

    manarak - if you are using a windows PC, then change your network config so that the IP of the server which hosts the domain you need to access is put as the Primary DNS Server for windows. Reboot.

    After that, windows will query that IP for DNS lookups before any others, as long as that server's DNS is correctly responding, then all DNS lookup requests for that domain will be given the proper IP (the same server IP)
  9. manarak

    manarak Guest

    didn't work.
    probably conflicting with my router.

    A partial fix would be to temporarily make this domain default for the server. But that is not really a solution.
  10. jamesyeeoc

    jamesyeeoc Guest

    If you manually set the DNS Primary in the Windows network settings, the router's settings will not matter at all.

    If you wish, PM me with the IP address and domain name and I'll check further.

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but for site preview, I don't think you have to login to the CP as long as you know the URL.

    I don't use it myself (that's why I'm not sure I remember correctly), I set my primary DNS to the hosting server and then don't have to worry about it.