Whooshing A Replacement Site For A New Client

Here we look at using Whoosh from the perspective of a website designer who is a building a new site for a client who already has a site. The idea is to Whoosh the site under a temporary URL, add the client content and once the client approves the site then switch it over from old site to the new site.

Please note that you only need to use this procedure if you need to keep the old site in place while the new site is under development.

If it is a new site or the old site can be scrapped then follow how to whoosh a new site for a client

Reseller Hosting and Recommended NameServer Set-Up

Existing Site Is Hosted By The Client

Let us assume that the client has their own hosting arrangements and that as part of taking on the new client you will be providing hosting for the new site.

New Site Is Hosted With You On A Temporary URL

We will assume that you have a spare domain that you can use for the temporary sites. Let’s say you main domain is tiptopwebdesign.com and you also own an unused branded domain such as tiptopwebdesign.net which you are redirecting to tiptopwebdesign.com. We recommend that you whoosh the temporary sites to sub-domains clientname.tiptopwebdesign.net. For example, bill.tiptopwebdesign.net, acme.tiptopwebdesign.net, smithchemicals.tiptopwebdesign.net, etc.

Name Servers For The Temporary URLs

You want the nameservers for tiptopwebdesign.net NOT to be managed on your host, instead manage them on the registrar’s default nameservers, e.g. at GoDaddy, NameCheap, Joker, etc. Almost all registrar’s offer free DNS so this should be a zero cost option.

Summary Checklist

  1. Set Up Client Account on WHM
  2. Create Temporary Parked Domain For Use Until The Site Goes Live
  3. Set Up DNS Record for Parked Domain
  4. Add Host On Whoosh
  5. Whoosh Site To Parked Domain
  6. Add Real Content
  7. Switch Over To Your Domain Name Servers
  8. Set up Mail accounts and Forwarding Rules
  9. Switch Over To The New Site
  10. Remove Temporary Parked Domain

Detailed Instructions

Set Up A New Client Account

Typically you will want to create a new account for each client. You do this in WHM, set the domain for the client to be that of the site you are going to design; e.g. johnsmithbeers.com, the username you choose might be jhn45smh and you might use a generated password, and choose a suitable package you use for your hosted client sites. Note the IP address that is allocated to this new account.

Create A Parked Domain For The New Site

Then log in to the cPanel of the new account and create a parked domain such as johnsmithbeers.tiptopwebdesign.net. This will be the URL of the site that you whoosh and will be the URL of the new site until it is ready to go live.

Set Up A DNS Record For The Parked Domain

At your registrar’s name servers where you manage DNS records for tiptopwebdesign.net, then add an ‘A’ record to point at the IP address for your new client account.

Create A WP Whoosh Host

On the site where you have WP Whoosh installed, add a host where the host URL ends in port 2083 and the username and password is that of the new client accounts. You should choose a host that has SSL so you can use a more secure connection when using cPanel. Port 2083 is secure whereas port 2082 is not.

For example:

Host Name: John Smith Beer Hosting
URL: https://tiptopwebdesign.com:2083 or https://somebox.websitewelcome.com:2083
Username: jhn45smh
Password : wm45$^$%&{}dgd

Whoosh The Site

The site is whooshed on to the temporary domain as follows:

  • Click Add New Site button and enter a label for the site; e.g. John Smiths Beer
  • Enter the temporary site URL, e.g. johnsmithbeers.tiptopwebdesign.net
  • Choose a template, e.g Genesis Outreach
  • Select the new cPanel host, e.g John Smith Beer Hosting
  • Press Save
  • Add any client address and contact information you want to appear in the footer and in privacy and terms and conditions pages
  • Enter an WordPress admin username that is not simply “admin”. For example, if your name is Bill Gates then use Bill as the User Display Name and maybe bill38ga as the username so your site will be safer against brute force attacks on the admin password.
  • Choose a permalink structure that is the same as the original site – if you want to change the permalink structures it is easier to do this at a later date.
  • Add any social media account URLs for Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc

Check the settings and then click Use Credits and Install

Replace Site Content

Edit the Whoosh specific content and replace it will client content. This will typically involve:

  • Export posts, pages, attachments, comments and meta data from the live site and upload into the new site
  • Replace the post titles, content, post images and featured images of the featured posts – the one that feature on the home page
  • Change the Menu content as required
  • Add the client logo and home page featured images using the Genesis Club plugin
  • Replace trademarks image links with suitable ones for the client
  • Check the content of each text widget and make sure their content is relevant for your client
  • Change the newsletter signup page to use the client’s Aweber, GetResponse, MailChimp or other autoresponder account.

When you are ready, expose the site URL to your client, e.g. johnsmithbeers.tiptopwebdesign.net

Client Approves Site

After demonstrating the site to the client and some fine tuning of the content you now have the green light to move the site.

At this point you will typically want to change the nameservers on the client’s domain from their old name servers to those allocated to the new client account on your server. There can be shared name servers supplied by your host or private name servers; either way you have control.

But before you do this you should mirror the existing DNS records of the current name servers so when the name server switch takes place, nothing changes as far as any user of the old site is concerned or any email clients with accounts on the domain.

Therefore, on the new cPanel account, set up an ‘A’ record with a TTL of 300 (5 minutes) which points at the current (the old) site’s IP address. Also set a MX record and possibility A or CNAME records for sudomains mail, ftp and www plus any other subdomains that exist with the same TTL of 300.

Then log in to the client site’s registrar and change the name servers to be the name servers allocated to your hosting account.

This transition will typically take between 1 and 24 hours. Nothing should have changed as far as email and the old site are concerned, only the authoritative name servers have changed. All that has happened is that now you are in control and the TTL is 5 minutes so when you make a switch from the old site and the old email server to the new site and the new email server it should happen quickly.

Email Account Setup

As part of taking on the client you may be taking responsibility for their mail services. If so, set up the same mail accounts and forwarding rules as exist on their existing mail system. A detailed description of transitioning mail services is beyond the scope of this article.

Site Switchover

This should happen typically at least 24 hours after you have moved the name servers. If you have had recent changes to the existing site such as comments that you may want to preserve then copy them from the old site to the new site using phpMyAdmin.

You also need to replace the temporary domain by the new domain in a number of places. For example, replace any references to johnsmithbeers.tiptopwebdesign.net by johnsmithbeers.com or by www.johnsmithbeers.com depending on whether you want to use the www or non-www version of the domain.

  • Change the DNS records for the client domain to point at your host instead of the old host – this involved the IP addresss referred to by the ‘A’ records
  • Edit the .htaccess file and replace the 2 references to the temporary URL to the real URL.
  • Log into the WordPress admin General settings and replace the temporary URL by the live URL in the WordPress Address URL and Site Address URL fields then press Update. This should reassign all the media libraries and post references.
  • Check text widgets and replace any references to the temporary URL by the real URL
  • Go into phpMyAdmin and check there are no references to the temporary domain in any table.
  • Visit the home page, single pages, single posts, archive pages and landing pages to verify all is well
  • If all is well then you can go ahead with the cleanup, if not you can revert to the old site by changing the DNS ‘A’ record(s) back again to point at the original server.

Cleanup

After the switchover you can remove the temporary subdomain.

  • Go into cPanel on the client account, choose Parked Domains, and delete the temporary parked domain. For example, delete johnsmithbeers.tiptopwebdesign.net.
  • Log into your registrar’s DNS and remove the ‘A’ record for the no unused temporary parked domain.

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