Support » Installing WordPress » Building a new WordPress site while the old static HTML site is live

  • I am going to be building a site for a client who already has a site live. He has a host already that he likes and wants to keep. The host meets the minimum WP requirements so there is no need to move to a new host.

    My question is, how do I build the new site while the old one is live? Should I ask the host to create a WP account for the client that I can work on and have them just give me the login info? I would like to do this all myself and ask the host to do as little as possible, but I do not know how to go about it.

    I read in another post that you need to build the site in a “subdirectory” but I do not really understand the whole directory/root/index.php thing. I have already built my own WP site, but I guess I am a total noob when it comes to building a new version of a site!

    If someone could please help me with this,and tell me what I need to ask the host to do (preferably as little as possible) I would be sooo grateful!

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 23 total)
  • What they told you about the subdirectory is correct.

    Usually hosts will have a quick install method for WordPress. Do a search in their docs to get directions – usually it’s staight forward. Follow the steps and put WordPress in a subdirectory and all that means is if the root directory of the domain is http://domain/ then a subdirectory would be http://domain/subdirectory. Once you build your new site, then delete all the files that makeup the old site and follow the directions from step 7 on this page.

    If the host doesn’t have a quick install, then use FTP or SFTP to connect to the server and create a directory in the root for the WordPress files. If you’re on Windows, Core FTP LE will work and for SFTP you can use WinSCP.

    Thank you so much Marinaa. That helps a ton! I am hoping they have a quick install.

    If not, I am using a Mac. I have downloaded FileZila, but I am not really sure what steps I I would take from there. What information would I need from the host to do this?

    One more thing I am confused about. When it says you need to “install WordPress” does that mean that you are installing it on your hosts server or on your own computer? Thanks again in advance!

    You’ll need the host, username and password for the FTP. The host is usually or

    “Install WordPress” here means to upload the files to the host’s server.

    If you should end up using FTP, once you login, the left side of the window will be your computer (local site) and the right side of the window will be the server where the website lives (remote site). Since this is a static site, look for index.html – it may be in a directory called “public_html” or “www”. If you can’t find it, ask your host. Once you do find it, within that same directory, create a new directory and call it whatever you’d like and upload the WordPress files there.

    Before uploading the files, don’t forget to configure wp-config.php > this page gives a step-by-step. And before doing that, a database and a user set to that database are needed > this page under step 2 describes the process. You can also ask your host how to do this.

    Thank you again Marinaa. You are a HUGE help.

    One more question: When I am building the new site and I am setting up the individual page URLs (say,,, etc) will that affect the current live URLs, since they are technically still in the same directory right? In other words, what keeps the new pages from messing up the old pages of the same name?

    since they are technically still in the same directory right?

    They are not in the same directory. That is the reason for creating a subdirectory and placing all the WordPress files in there.

    So right now the site is at But you will be working in, which will still be live for anyone who knows the name of the subdirectory. So no – there will be no conflict. For another example – lets take an “about” page. The path to the current page would be and where you will be working, the path will be – so both will be live, just the paths will be different.

    After installing WordPress in the subdirectory, it may be a good idea to block search engines by going to the admin > settings > privacy > select “I would like to block search engines, but allow normal visitors”. You can reverse this after the site is complete. As mentioned before, once the site is complete, you would delete all the old files and move index.php and .htaccess from the subdirectory up one level. For directions, follow from step 7 in “Giving WordPress Its Own Directory“.

    I think you can also move all the contents of the subdirectory up on level – that way you wouldn’t have to make the change to index.php as described in the above link. I just like keeping all the WordPress files in their own folder.

    Ok, I will do that. Thank you so much Marinaa!!

    Marinaa – I am just wanting to make sure I have this right – I want to move my site from a subdirectory too.

    * Delete old files – means old HTML files?
    * Only steps 7 – 11 in Giving_WordPress_Its_Own_Directory need to be followed? ie no need to adjust the urls on the General settings page?

    Thanks in advance.

    Tina –

    It’s not clear to me if you are replacing a static site as clou is doing or simply changing directories for an existing WordPress installation.

    * Delete old files – means old HTML files?

    In reference to Clou’s situation, by “old files” I mean what ever files that make up the site that will be replaced.

    If WordPress is going to be installed in a subdirectory ( but you want to access the website from the root (, then all the steps in Giving WordPress Its Own Directory need to be followed including the steps for the URLs in the General panel. Sorry about that – I made a mistake by saying to start from step 7.

    @marinaa So do you mean that you made a mistake and I should do steps 1-6 as well? Or just Tina? Just want to be clear.

    All of this may be over my head. Does anyone know of someone trustworthy who can do this for me at a reasonable price?

    Sorry about all the confusion! Thanks!

    Clou – I did make a mistake by neglecting to include the steps in changing the URLs in the General panel. All steps are needed if you want to access your site from root.

    You can post a job at WP Jobs.

    Marinaa, thanks for the clarification and all the help.

    Just like Clou, I am replacing a static site with a WP one, have wordpress in its own directory and want to access the new site through the root.

    I will try it today.
    Thanks again.

    Well the move went smoothly – just a few urls to change (taking out the subdirectory name).

    Now here is my stupid question, how do I set up redirects from my old pages that are showing on google to the new site? I took a look at some of the info on 301 redirect but I am not sure what exactly to do. Any help would be appreciated.

    Tina – I use Redirection.

    I’m glad it went smoothly.

    Hi again Marinaa,

    Is there any way to go live with the new site without deleting all the old files? Can we move the old site to a subdirectory for a while in case we need to go back?


Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 23 total)
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