How can I work on my new ProPhoto site on a new host while keeping my current site live and then seamlessly transfer my domain name to my new site when it is ready?
Many people who are interested in using ProPhoto already have some kind of pre-existing website. In general, these folks fall into two camps.
- Those who already have a site hosted by a WordPress compatible host, who want to use this hosting for their ProPhoto site as well.
- Those who are unsatisfied with their current host or who want to switch to using just ProPhoto, but whose current host is incompatible with WordPress.
This tutorial address that second group – people who have a site, but want to use ProPhoto on a new host with the same domain name, and want to keep their old site live until the new ProPhoto site is ready. Whether your current site is a free blog, a custom flash site, a proofing site or even another WordPress site, the process for switching to ProPhoto and good WordPress compatible hosting is basically the same.
Step 1: Choose a host
You’ll want to choose a host that provides a “temporary URL” option. This is a URL that points to your new host’s server, and gives you a way to view and edit your new WordPress site before you connect your domain name to it.
Among hosts, the process for connecting WordPress to a temp URL can vary greatly. This is one of the reasons we recommend HostPapa for your hosting, since they make using a temp URL so easy.
If you choose a different host though, you’ll just want to contact them directly to see if you can get setup with WordPress at a temporary URL. (Hosts that offer cPanel type control panels tend to work best.)
Step 2: Install WordPress and ProPhoto at your temporary URL
What does my temporary URL look like?
Many hosts automatically assign a temporary URL according to this structure:
http://serverboxname/~username or http://IP_address/~username
So a sample temp URL would look like this:
http://box.temp444.com/~fotomani or http://126.96.36.199/~fotomani
The username is usually what you use to sign in to your host and the server box name or IP address is found in the “stats” sidebar on the left of your cPanel. If you enter your temp url in your browser, you typically see a blank page or placeholder page.
Install WordPress and ProPhoto
When using a hosting company’s automatic WordPress installer, you will choose your temp URL as your installation location for WordPress. See our installation guide for more information.
Or, if you are using HostPapa’s Managed WordPress Hosting solution, WordPress will already be installed for you and all you will need to do is install ProPhoto. (When you sign up with HostPapa, you will have the option of selecting a temporary URL during the sign up process.)
Step 3: Customize your site and import content (if applicable)
After WordPress is ready to operate at the temporary address, you can begin working on your site content and custom ProPhoto design. Use the videos and help on our site and within the ProPhoto interface to create something great.
If you have another blog you would like to import content over from, be sure to check out this guide. (Another advantage to using HostPapa is that if you already have a WordPress site at a different host, they will migrate that entire site over for you for free!)
Step 4: Launch your new site
After you are done customizing and you’ve imported over any content you wanted, you are ready to launch your site on your actual domain. Simply follow the steps in our Launch guide to do just that.
So there you go! You just switched from your old website on an incompatible web host to a ProPhoto site, on a great host, without downtime and little hassle!