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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    38

    Preview website on dedicated server without having domain name

    Hi,

    Maybe someone here can help...

    Is it possible to preview websites on a Windows 2003 server before switching the domain name across? I'm running Matrix control panel if that helps?

    What I need to do is upload files to my server, then check that it is working properly before I switch the nameservers of the domain to make it live.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NY USA
    Posts
    839
    Two options as I see it

    Make the site the default site and just put IP into web browser

    or

    Set the DNS domains up on the local (or another) DNS server, and use that as the resolver from wherever you are previewing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    38
    Thanks Ezzi,

    The first option isn't going to work since the primary domain needs to be live throughout.

    The second option sounds interesting, but I'm very new to hosting, so would appreciate some more explanation if you would?

    Thanks again...

  4. #4
    You can just make an entry in your local hosts file. Edit your "C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts" file and put in lines similiar to:


    192.168.0.1 wwwdotyourdomaindotcom
    192.168.0.1 yourdomaindotcom


    You can then preview the site via your browser. (Sometimes you have to restart your browser for it to effectively see the local entry.) Just delete the entries when you're done and you're good to go.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NY USA
    Posts
    839
    If you aren't familiar with DNS terms you'll have to do some reading on it, but I'll give it to you with the terms here.

    You set up a DNS server on the Web Server

    You configure A Records for the sites as needed www.domain.com etc...

    On your local internet connection, you manually change (in the section where you would change your IP) your DNS server to the ip of the web/dns server.

    This way, when your computer asks the DNS server where www.domain.com is, your DNS server will respond with its records instead of asking authoratative internet servers, that know where the site really is.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    38
    Okay thanks Ezzi, I think I need to do some reading!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NY USA
    Posts
    839
    Originally posted by thanh
    You can just make an entry in your local hosts file. Edit your "C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts" file and put in lines similiar to:


    192.168.0.1 wwwdotyourdomaindotcom
    192.168.0.1 yourdomaindotcom


    You can then preview the site via your browser. (Sometimes you have to restart your browser for it to effectively see the local entry.) Just delete the entries when you're done and you're good to go.
    That is actually a better and simpler method than mine,

    However, if you intend to manage the DNS for the sites, you'll need to do my way this at some point anyway.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    38
    The problem with this is that sometimes I'll need to give my clients access to view their sites on the web - but not on their domain. I was able to do this previously on a shared server very easily.

    Maybe I'll get a copy of HELM to run on the server to help me do all this stuff?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NY USA
    Posts
    839

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Stafford UK
    Posts
    142
    I have a setup where each of my virtual hosts is setup for 3 domain names / host name. - It's apache so I wont go into it too much, but you can do this on IIS too:

    clientdomain.com
    www.clientdomain.com
    clientdomain.test.mydomain.com

    I then have a wildcard dns record for *.test.mydomain.com to my server and hey presto. Any client can view their website before DNS for clientdomain.com is sorted or changed.

    HTH.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    38
    That sounds perfect. Now I just need to find out how to do it in IIS! (*Look on Amazon for a large IIS book...*)

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