Overview

For most new websites, you generally want a way of either completing a final preview or working on the site without affecting the current version of the website. Depending on your preferred workflow, there of ways you can upload and preview a new website using Plesk.

Subdomain

If you intend to develop the site on the server (rather than on your local workstation or separate development server), you can archive this by using a sub-domain of the main site (eg newsite.yourwebsite.com). Plesk allows you to create a subdomain easily (we have an easy guide on creating subdomains), where you can create a website (including a separate database) which doesn’t affect the live site.

For WordPress based sites, you can use the WordPress clone tool within Plesk to not only move the files but to complete the required configuration and database rewrites for you.

For alternative CMS systems, you can use the Plesk website copying tool in order to copy all of the files over for you. Depending on the CMS, you may also need to manually copy the database and update the configuration as well.

Plesk Preview

The Plesk Preview tool allows you to view your site without making any DNS changes. This is a great option when migrating websites to ensure it’s working as expected. To preview your website, simply click on the Preview button within your website:
Plesk Onyx - Website Preview

This will open a link based on the IP address rather than the domain. 

Note

This should only ever be used as a final staging preview and not for development. Not all websites are compatible with the Plesk Preview option and any login or backend administration systems may display erratic behaviour.

Hosts File

For the most complete way to preview a site before it’s live, you can edit your hosts file on your local workstation. This method essentially bypasses any external DNS and points direct to the IP address of where your development site is hosted. 

Detailed Host file modification guide: https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/27350/beginner-geek-how-to-edit-your-hosts-file/

This requires full Administrative access to your workstation, which may not be available within your business.

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