Upload files to server without domain name pointing there

In this article I’m going to briefly review a few options you have for getting your website’s files uploaded to our server prior to your domain name being pointed at our name servers and using our service.

All requests over the Internet including a domain name use the DNS (Domain Name System) in order to establish where certain resources are stored. For instance the DNS (A)ddress record establishes the IP address of the web server where your website’s files are stored.

Anytime you’re making DNS changes on your domain those changes can take between 24-48 hours to fully propagate out over the Internet. During this time frame it can become confusing if you think you’re uploading files to one server, but in reality uploading them to another because your computer hasn’t received the latest DNS update yet.

Using one of the methods below will help ensure that there is no confusion when it comes to uploading your files onto the correct server.

Upload files via server name

One of the easiest methods of guaranteeing that you’re uploading files to the correct server is by uploading files in your FTP client directly to the server’s hostname of your server. In order to do this you can simply follow the instructions in our guide on how to find the server name in cPanel.

Uploading files to the server with this method will result in you using a hostname like this in your FTP client:

Then you’d use your temporary URL to review the website and the files you’ve uploaded, it will look similar to:


Upload files after modifying hosts file

You can allow your computer to skip using DNS at all to look up the IP address for your server, instead you can use your local computer’s hosts file to direct where you’d like your domain name to point to. Doing uploads with this method, after you’ve pointed your domain to our server’s IP address you can simply use your domain name as the hostname in your FTP client, and then you can also view the resulting uploads in your web-browser using your domain name as well.

You would first want to find your shared IP address of your server in cPanel, then once you have that IP address, you’d want to modify your hosts file to reflect that IP address for your domain name.

When using this method I typically recommend uploading a test file via FTP such as test.txt, then try to access that file in your web-browser using your domain name such as example.com/test.txt and if you see your test file there, then you know you’re both uploading and accessing files off of the same correct server.

Upload files via cPanel

Another option that you have to ensure you’re uploading files to the appropiate server is by directly uploading a file using File Manager in cPanel. After the file is uploaded to the server you would then need to access it over either your temporary URL or by modifying your hosts file to point your domain name’s DNS records to our server.

You should now understand that there are a few options that you have in order to upload files to your server with us without having to have your actual domain name pointed to us yet. After you’ve got everything look just how you like it don’t forget to go ahead and update your domain’s name servers to point to us so that the rest of the world can see your work.

InMotion Hosting Contributor
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