A temporary development domain name is a subdomain used by website developers to create a new version of a website without affecting the existing site on the main domain. After the development is finished, the temporary development domain name can be switched to the main domain to replace the old website with the newly built version.
A. Create a temporary development domain name
1. Go to your hosting provider where the domain name for your website is currently hosted and pointed
2. At that provider, create a subdomain of your main domain name using the word development. As an example, for the domain name skystrahelp.com, the temporary development domain name would be: development.skystrahelp.com
3. Once you’ve created the subdomain, in your DNS records, you will have to create an A record for development pointing to the IP address of your Skystra hosting service
4. Once you’ve pointed the A record to your hosting service IP address, you will need to wait for the DNS to update across the internet. Depending on your internet connection, this can take anywhere from a few hours or up to 24h. We recommend waiting a full 24h.
5. Once you’ve waited a full 24h, go to your Skystra hosting control panel
6. If you haven’t done so already, add your main domain name as a new domain to your hosting account. If you signed up for a hosting service with your main domain name, you do not need to perform this step.
7. Create the subdomain for your temporary development domain name on your Skystra hosting account. As an example, for the domain name skystrahelp.com, the subdomain you’d have to create is: development.skystrahelp.com
8. Install WordPress on your temporary development domain name using these steps: Install WordPress on a subdomain
9. Build your website on the temporary development domain name
10. Once you’re done building your website on your temporary development domain name, go to the next section
B. Convert temporary domain name website to main domain website
1. Go to your Skystra hosting control panel
2. Click on the File Manager button
3. Double click on the domains folder
4. Locate your development domain name folder and double click on it
5. Double click on the public_html folder
6. Select all of your files by clicking them one by one, starting from wp-admin and going all the way to the bottom (you do not need to select the cgi-bin folder)
7. Once you’ve selected all of the files, do a right-click on your mouse
8. From the dropdown, select Copy/Move to…
9. On the Copy/Move… popup, in the New Path field, put in the folder path where your main domain name public_html is located. As an example, for the main domain name skystrahelp.com – the folder path would be:
10. Once you’ve put in the new folder path, click the Move button
11. Now, return to your hosting control panel homepage
12. Click on the Terminal button
13. Access your main domain names public_html folder, by typing in these commands in the exact order they appear below and one by one.
In any command you see development.skystrahelp.com and skystrahelp.com – replace it with your own temporary subdomain and main domain name.
In our example, we are changing the website name from development.skystrahelp.com to skystrahelp.com
wp search-replace 'https://development.skystrahelp.com' 'https://skystrahelp.com' --all-tables --dry-run
14. After running the 4th command, verify that you get Success: message and a table replacement number above at least 0, and then move to the 5th and final command.
wp search-replace 'https://development.skystrahelp.com' 'https://skystrahelp.com' --all-tables
15. After running the 5th command, verify that you get Success: message again and a table replacement number above at least 0, and then move to the next section.
16. You are done with the Terminal section, click on Disconnect and then the Back button to return to your hosting control panel main page
C. Verify MX records and update nameservers on your main domain name
1. The first step is to determine your MX (email records) and implement any required changes. If you will use no email or email hosted through Skystra, skip this test and directly to step 2. below. However, If you use an external email service, make sure to set up your external MX records – if you use Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 email, see the points below:
- Do you use Google Workspace email on your main domain name? If so, go here and perform these steps: Enable Google Workspace email on your domain name
- Do you use Microsoft 365 email on your main domain name? If so, go here and perform these steps: Enable Microsoft 365 email on your domain name
2. Once you’ve verified your MX (email records), go to your domain name registrar provider, this is where your domain name registration is held
⚠️ REMINDER: It’s very important you verify your MX records and make sure they are set correctly to keep your email service operational. Please double check before moving to the next step.
3. At your domain name registrar provider, update your domain name to the Skystra nameservers
4. Once you’ve updated to the Skystra nameservers, you will need to wait for the new nameservers and SSL certificate to update across the internet on your domain name. Depending on your internet connection, this can take anywhere from a few hours or up to 24h. We recommend waiting a full 24h.
5. Once you’ve waited a full 24h, load your website on an incognito or private browser window. You will see your newly built website loading on it.
D. Update your WordPress Manager installation
1. Log in to your hosting control panel
2. Click on the WordPress Manager button
3. Locate your development domain name WordPress Installation and click the down arrow V
4. Scroll down and click the Remove button
5. Click the Remove Installation button
6. Click the OK button on the Are you sure you want to remove this installation? popup
7. Click on the Return to WordPress Management button
8. On the WordPress Management page, click the Scan button
9. On the Import Installations page, click the Start scanning for installations button
10. You’ll see your main website name listed, click the Return to WordPress Management button
8. Your main domain name WordPress installation will now be listed
Please note, you can log in to your main domain name WordPress installation either through your WordPress Manager or by using the direct login credentials using your domain name wp-admin link, go here for details.
E. Disconnect your development domain from your hosting control panel
If you no longer have any use for your temporary development subdomain, you can disconnect it from your hosting control panel.
1. Log in to your hosting control panel
2. Click on the Subdomains button
3. Check the box next to your subdomain
4. Click the Delete button
5. Click the Confirm button