Preview your website

If your domain name is not pointing to our servers and still on your old hosting provider's space, you might want to upload your data and preview if everything looks and works fine before modifying your DNS to our servers. You can do this without a problem but it will require you to modify your computer's hosts file and force our server IP when you look up your domain. 

This procedure only allows the computer(s) setup to preview the site. We have an alternative solution to the hosts file modification but requires the previewed domain to be an add-on domain to your account.

Get your server IP

Before you start, you should identify your hosting server's IP address. The server name has the format  s###.panelboxmanager.com on which you can do a ping, traceroute, nslookup or dig command to know what is its associated IP. You can also look in the Panelbox interface; the IP would be listed at the bottom of the main window. Per example, the IP for s049.panelboxmanager.com is 72.55.186.69

Modifying your hosts file

To preview the content of a website without modifying the DNS configuration of a domain is to (temporarily) force your computer to make the domain point on a specific IP address. Follow these steps.

Under Windows (XP in this example)

Open up your hosts file with a text editor (such as notepad). Click on Start -> Run and execute the following shortcut:

%windir%\system32\notepad.exe %windir%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

You may also go review the file manually, it is located in here : C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts . You will surely have to right-click and "open with..."; Notepad would be recommended.

Hosts file

Underneath the last entry of the file, type in a line like this (replace yourdomain.com by your domain name and the IP address of the server on which you are hosted) :

72.55.186.69 yourdomain.com www.yourdomain.com

Now, yourdomain.com and www.yourdomain.com will resolve to the IP address specified and load what you put on our servers!

Under Mac OS X

The procedure becomes a bit more complicated due to common Mac OS restrictions. You need to enter these values in the hosts file through a terminal window. 

First, locate the Terminal, which is found in Applications > Utilities . You can also make a search in Spotlight. 

In the Terminal window, enter the following:

sudo nano /etc/hosts 

Hosts line

You will be prompted to enter your computer password. What you type will not be displayed, so take your time and press 'enter' at the end.

The content of the terminal will change into a terminal style text editor.

With the arrow keys on the keyboard, place the flashing cursor under the last entry. Press enter to make line returns. Then, enter the IP and domain name you wish to preview.

 
Nano hosts

 

To save the modifications, you must press the CTRL key and the letter o on your keyboard at the same time. This will prompt a message at the bottom requesting which file to overwrite. Simply press 'enter' on your keyboard.

Then, to exit, press CTRL and the letter x at the same time.

NOTE : Having an entry like that in your host file will override any DNS configuration currently in place, locally on your computer. 

Alternative preview method for add-on domains

If your main domain of your account is pointing to our servers and that you have added an add-on domain, you can easily preview the add-on domain. When you add a domain to your account, it creates a sub-folder with the name of the domain (or whatever directory name you specified). To preview, then, just go to:

http://maindomain.com/add-ondomain.com

Voilà!

 

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