How do I test my Web Site before moving the domain name to my new server?

Once your have your web site configured on your new server (or hosting account), you should test the site before making changes to your DNS records at your old hosting provider and/or registrar. There is a very simple way to test a web site from your web browser without having to make or wait for DNS updates at your old hosting provider. Simply edit the hosts.txt file on your computer to "trick" your web browser to going to your new server (or hosting account) IP address for the domain name, instead of using the normal IP address that is still active with your old hosting provider or registrar.

Step #1: Locate the hosts file on your computer. Depending on what version of Windows you have, the folder which hosts.txt (or just named hosts on some versions of windows) is located in may vary:

Windows Vista = C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC
Windows XP = C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC
Windows 2K = C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC
Win 98/ME = C:\WINDOWS

Step #2: Edit the file, and add 1 new line with your domain and your server (or hosting account) IP address. If you do not know your IP address, check the welcome email that was sent to you after ordering service from TurnKey Internet; the IP address should be contained in that email. If the web site domain name you wanted to test was "www.test.com" and your IP address was 192.168.10.14, your hosts file would look something like this:


127.0.0.1 localhost
192.168.10.14 www.test.com


NOTE: Windows Vista users may run into problems editing the hosts file due to default security settings; if you do run into a problem, follow these steps:

1. Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Notepad, and then click Run as administrator.

If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Allow.
2. Open the Hosts file, make the necessary changes, and then click Save on the Edit menu.

Step #3: Close all web browsers (this prevents any sort of caching from making you go to the wrong copy of your web site). Open a new browser, and go to your domain name. You should now be viewing the web site on your new server (or hosting account). If you have problems be sure to reboot your computer and repeat step #3.

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