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I have someone I'm making a website for with a domain name and current website hosted at fasthosts. I've built them a website hosted at a different host, unlimited web hosting. The website I've made them is in a directory like this www.mysite.com/dev/0002.

So fasthosts: Is the registrar for the domain name, it also has all of the email addresses and their current site.

unlimited web hosting: Has the new site in a sub directory, like .com/dev/0002

Is it possible to keep the domain name and email addresses all hosted at fasthosts and to have the new website hosted in my unlimited web hosting account and to somehow have the domain point to the new website?

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The wording of this question is a bit confusing. Are you trying to replace the client's current website with the one you just developed? Or are you trying to have a subdirectory of the client's domain point to the newly developed site? In either case, why don't you want your client to just use ther web host to host their new site instead of having to deal with 2 different web hosts? –  Lèse majesté Jan 2 '12 at 15:41
    
The new website will be replacing their current one. Their current web host won't be able to run the site (it's a wordpress site). I'm trying to make things simple for them, so they don't have to do anything in terms of transferring the domain name and then all of the email addresses and things. –  Corbula Jan 2 '12 at 15:53
    
It's possible to migrate just the domain and web hosting over while still pointing the MX records to the old host, but if they're currently stuck with a very limited/crappy we bhost, then it's best to just migrate to a new web host and get that out of the way. It's not that hard to migrate email accounts. And that way they don't need to worry about 2 different web hosts. –  Lèse majesté Jan 2 '12 at 16:22
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2 Answers 2

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As Lèse majesté notes in the comments, it's possible to do what you suggest, but it's probably easier (both in the short and in the long run) to just move everything over to the new host.

I'd suggest contacting your new webhost and asking for their help in arranging a smooth transfer. They should be able to give you instructions on how to move everything over with minimum fuss, and they may be able to take care of some things (such as the actual DNS handover) entirely on their end. Remember, they have a financial interest in helping you do this right.


In the comments, you imply that the new site will have a different structure than the old one. While it's certainly possible to just prepare the new site at the new host, and then change DNS to point to it, a smoother solution could be to do it in several steps:

  1. Make an exact copy of the old site (which I assume is mainly static HTML) at the new host.

  2. Change the DNS records to point to the new host. If done right, this step should be essentially invisible to users. Wait until the old DNS TTL has expired.

  3. Set up the new site structure alongside the old one, but don't replace any of the old pages yet. (I assume your new URLs will generally not overlap with the old ones, except perhaps for the main page.) Test to see that the new system works and that all content that you want to keep has been copied to the new system. Of course, you can do this step even before steps 1 and 2 if you like.

  4. Replace the old pages with 301 redirects to their closest equivalents in the new system.

Doing it this way has a few advantages: there's no period during the DNS changeover when some users will see the new site and some will see the old, and setting up the 301 redirects means that you won't break old links to the site and so won't lose visitors and search engine rank because of that.


As for e-mail, assuming that you set up the same mailboxes on the new host as existed on the old one, what should happen during the DNS changeover is that mail simply starts arriving in the new mailboxes insted of the old ones.

Your client may be able to continue accessing their old mailboxes even after the changeover: it depends on whether the server address configured in their e-mail client is something like mail.oldhostingcompany.com (in which case everything will work as before, just no new mail will arrive in the old mailboxes) or something like mail.sitename.com (in which case changing the DNS records for sitename.com will affect the mailserver address too). You might be able to set their e-mail client to use an address of the former kind before the changeover, although the details will obviously vary between hosting companies. (If they're using webmail, it similarly depends on which type of hostname they're using to access the webmail app.)

Of course, your client should obviously back up all their e-mails before the changeover, just in case something goes wrong, and should definitely back them up after the changeover is complete (since they'll presumably want to close the old hosting account sooner or later). It's also technically possible to upload the old e-mails to the new server, although that may not be worth the trouble compared to just saving them in local mail folders on the client's own computer.

I'd also at least consider the possibility suggested by jflaflamme of setting up a third-party e-mail account (e.g. at Gmail) and configuring the new hosting to just forward all e-mails there. Really, it depends on how reliable and trustworthy you consider the new hosting company to be compared to Google, and whether you expect to be changing hosting companies again in the future. Personally, I'm happy to just let my hosting company store my e-mails, but there are advantages to doing it either way.

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I will accept this as an answer, i think what's going to happen is just move everything to a new host assuming their current host won't work with the website. It's a Wordpress website so it won't work with every host. –  Corbula Feb 3 '12 at 12:01
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Here are some different scenarios and solutions:

SOLUTION 1

In unlimitedwebhosting, are you able to "add" a domain and point it to the directory com/dev/0002 ?

If so, you want to make www.clientdomain.com and clientdomain.com A records on fasthosts "control panel?" to go to your unlimitedwebhosting IP address.

SOLUTION 2

Is fasthosts able to do URL FRAME ?

This way, you can simply make www.clientdomain.com display the content of www.mysite.com/dev/0002

SOLUTION 3

You switch your client mail to google apps if you don't want to pay two hosting providers :-)

SOLUTION 4

Choose a registrar able to do URL FRAME, host your dns records, for FREE http://www.namecheap.com/products/freedns.aspx?aff=16569

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Solutions 2 and 4 are terrible and should never be used, especially for a business site. –  Lèse majesté Jan 2 '12 at 15:43
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Totally agree, i addressed the question, for me, the only professional solution is #3 (not for google apps, but not to rely on two hosters). When someone asked HOW TO DO THAT, i reply with the solution to the question. But you are right, it is better to add professional recommendations. –  jflaflamme Jan 2 '12 at 15:51
    
I can add a domain, but it only gives me two IP addresses to chose from (shared). –  Corbula Jan 2 '12 at 16:19
    
You could probably just add the domain to the unlimitedwebhosting account and they'll automatically set up the proper DNS records. If you still want to keep the original host for email, then you just need to make sure the MX record stays pointed at the old web host. –  Lèse majesté Jan 2 '12 at 16:27
    
Doesn't look like this is going to be possible. I think i will just have to try and transfer all everything over to one host. –  Corbula Jan 2 '12 at 19:59
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