The challenge with moving to a faster host, or migrating between platforms, is managing the downtime for your customers. You don’t want to lose business during the transfer and if someone finds your site and it’s down, will they come back? Or look for another service provider?

I know which I would do..

So is there a way to re-design your website, or set up your current site on a new host, without any downtime?

Thankfully, yes there is! The one drawback of WordPress is that some parts of it can be dependent on the domain name, so if you do any development or design using a temporary domain name you may find you have to re-test it and make some tweaks after your permanent domain is pointed at it.

It’s really simple to do as well.

First, once you’ve bought your new hosting, and installed WordPress, you’ll need to get the IP Address from your CPanel. It’s on the top left of the CPanel on SiteGround. Other providers may have moved it though.

Then you need to find your “Hosts” file.

For Windows, you do this by following these instructions:

  1. Press the Windows key.
  2. Type Notepad
  3. Right-click on Notepad and select Run as administrator.
  4. in Notepad, open  c:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts

It should look something like this:

# localhost name resolution is handled within DNS itself.
# 127.0.0.1 localhost
# ::1 localhost

If your IP Address from your new hosting is 123.10.12.62 and your website is www.mynewwebsite.com, then you simply add the line:

123.10.12.62 www.mynewwebsite.com

Then, you save and close the file.

What this tells your computer to do, is ignore where your Domain Name Servers (DNS) tell you the website is, and go to that specific IP address instead. So, it shows your current domain name, on your new hosting.

This way you can make any changes you want and fully test your site, before you then make changes to the DNS records to actually point it to the new server.

Just remember: To get back to your current site, you need to delete this line!