When moving to a new hosting provider, the most important thing for you to do is to test your website before pointing your domain over. This will help guarantee a successful migration by ensuring your site is 100% functional before making the switch. There are two ways to go about doing this, and we’ve explained the recommended way first.

What you will need:

Your GreenGeeks service server IP. You can find this in your service welcome email, or by contacting support to confirm the correct IP address you’ll need to use.

Using a Staged Domain (Recommended)

When setting up a staged domain for testing, this will allow you to use a sub-domain to access your site loading directly from the GreenGeeks server. After configuring the staged domain, other people will also be able to use the sub-domain you create to test out the website. This is very useful when you have multiple people wanting to review a migration before making the final switch.

Access cPanel by logging in to the GreenGeeks Account Manager.

Scroll down to the Domains section, and click on Advanced DNS Zone Editor.

Locate the Add a New Record section (near the top). If you have multiple domains on your account, you will need to first select the domain you want to test from the Select a Domain dropdown box.

Enter the following information to add a new record:
Name: stage.yourdomain.com
TTL: 301
Type: A
Address: Your GreenGeeks server IP. Be sure to replace “yourdomain.com” with your own domain name, for instance ours would be “stage.greengeeks.com”.

Click on the Add Record button to save your changes.

Now, you will need to create the exact same DNS record where your domain name is currently pointed to. Usually this is at your current website host via their own control panel. If you do not add the same record where your domain is currently hosted, then the staging domain will not work correctly. The instructions for this vary by host, however if you need some guidance you may always contact us.

Once the appropriate changes have been made both on your GreenGeeks account and with the current hosting provider, you will need to wait some time for full DNS propagation (usually 30 minutes to one hour) before the staging domain is accessible. Once DNS propagation is completed, anyone will be able to visit the staging domain you created to test your website on our server.

Staging Domain via System HOSTS File

The second way to test your website is by staging, or pointing your domain via your system’s HOSTS file. The benefit to doing this over our recommended way is you will not have to wait for DNS propagation, however this will only work on the system you configure it on. If someone else would like to test the site, they will need to follow the same steps for modifying the HOSTS file.

Open your text editor of choice. Windows users will need to use Notepad with administrative privileges in order to be able to modify the HOSTS file (right click Notepad -> Run as Administrator).

Open your systems HOSTS file. The location of this file is as follows:
Windows: C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts
Linux / Mac:  /etc/hosts

Add the following line to the file on a new line at the bottom: yourdomain.com www.yourdomain.comNote that “″ will need to be replaced with your server IP address obtained earlier. The records for “yourdomain.com” and “www.yourdomain.com” will need to be replaced with your actual website address.

Save the file, then open a browser and go to your website. The site will now load from the GreenGeeks server! To revert this change, simply remove the line you added and save the file. This will direct the site back to the original host.

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