My web host uses Plesk and I want to know if there is anyway to access and view a website (with PHP and other processes being functional) without propagation of the domain name?

I have found countless forums on this but they are all pretty old (circa 01-04) and involve either tricking your localhost or SSH commands and some even result in terrible security risks.

I would like to access a web page directory through a browser and see it's contents while having the PHP processes carry out... before I propagate it's potential domain name. People claim this is pointless but during a site migration why on earth would you not test a site before propagating it?

I'm looking for something similar to what cPanel offers i.e. http://IP.ADDRESS./~mydomain.com

The only solution I could think of is storing the site in a new directory of an already functional site and then setting up databases and testing the site once it's complete.

Once tested and working I should be easily be able to migrate the files to the "new" domain name's root directory and just setup a new databases and then propagate the domain name.

I can't believe that Plesk V10+ still does not have a site preview method that includes PHP, JS, and Flash ability.

  • I don't know about PLESK. But I DO know that you can set the '(test-)site' as the first one in the vhosts in apache. Which makes the site avialable through the IP. Another thing you could do is: If you already have a DNS record pointing to that machine use a subdomain of it to test it before you set the DNS to test it.
    – PeeHaa
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 19:54
  • I don't want to be trivial, but did you ask to the hoster that sold you the PLESK plan? And next time stick to cPanel (just kidding!) :) Commented Dec 10, 2011 at 16:30
  • Yea, I asked them. They claimed it wasn't possible. I've seen many forums to prove that wrong, but as I stated before, they often include risky methods or tricking the local host. I have no interest in either.
    – RCNeil
    Commented Dec 10, 2011 at 20:56
  • Plesk used to use the IP/~domain.tld up till about v6 or 7 that worked anyway..
    – user22674
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 7:32

2 Answers 2


You can have full functioning site preview starting from Plesk 10.4 (PHP, Javascript and whatever else you need). It needs to be enabled on the server - so if in shared hosting, you will depend on you hosting provider. Checkout "Setting up Website Preview" for details. You will need some DNS zone for previews though...

You may also be interested in "staging sites" - temporary site to see how it works before publishing.

PS unfortunately as a new user I cannot post more links, but you can find more in Plesk documentation by "preview" keyword

  • Yea I got the updgrade a few days after I asked this question. Can't believe it took them 10 versions to add that feature, and everyone's looking at me like I'm crazy when I ask "How can I test the site before it's launched?" lol
    – RCNeil
    Commented Apr 28, 2012 at 16:34

Edit your HOSTS file

ip.ip.ip.ip      domain.com  domain.com

has the added advantage that no one else can see the site / index it pre launch

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