A method to develop a new web site without disrupting an existing site

Problem: You have an existing web site. You would like to update the site or design a new site, without disrupting the existing site.

Solution: Don't touch the existing site at all. Get an account on a second web server, configured to host the same domain/URL. DO NOT follow their instructions (if any) to change your DNS settings. When the new site is complete, THEN you will change DNS to point to the new server. This leaves the old site as-is, still accessible to you should you need to retrieve any files, images, etc.

The "Magic": Edit your computer's hosts file to make it think your web site exists at the new IP number. THIS AFFECTS ONLY YOUR COMPUTER; the rest of the world (and even other computers you own) will still see the IP listed in your DNS records. See this page for instructions how to edit your hosts file. With this hosts file change, only you will see the new site. Simply undo that edit to see the existing site, or use a different computer.


1) You can't develop the new site on the same server as the existing site because both will have the same URL. You'll need access to a second web server (which DataBack can provide).

2) DataBack has multiple web servers. We can provide the second account for you. If we host your current site, we can even copy your existing site as your starting point if you like, such as when you'd like to try out a new Wordpress template without disrupting the current web site.