Under most circumstances, your HostGator site may need to be previewed for any errors soon after you (or the HostGator support staff) completes the initial setup. The following are the options available for you to preview the HostGator temporary website before it goes public (and before the DNS entries are changed).

1. Temporary URL for Shared Hosting

You can always preview your site by browsing the following HostGator Temporary URL in your web browser:

http://YourIPAddress/~UserName/DomainFolder

In the above example, replace ‘YourIPAddress’ with your assigned IP address, ‘UserName’ with your HostGator account user name and ‘DomainFolder’ with the actual folder name under the public_html folder where you chose to install your domain files.

Please note that there is a ‘~’ required in front of the User name.

You may also replace the IP address with your Host name (something like ‘gator922.hostgator.com‘) provided during the sign up as well.

2. Using HostGator Hosts File

If you want to preview your site without changing DNS, the alternate method is to use the Hosts file.

The Hosts file is a text file that is located in your Windows operating system directory (the paths given below)

Windows 95/98/Me: C:\windows\hosts
Windows NT/2000: C:\winnt\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
Windows XP: C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

(You may need administrator privileges on latest operating systems)

To change the hosts file to include your domain to be previewed, please do the following

1. Open the ‘hosts’ file in Notepad after locating the file in the relevant location mentioned above.

2. Start on a new line at the bottom of the Hosts file

3. Type the IP address of your HostGator server, hit the TAB key, then type your ‘Domain name’

4. Save the file and close all open web browsers before attempting to browse to the domain.

For example:

192.155.12.10 www.MyDomainName.com

(Replace the above IP address with the actual IP address provided during HostGator signup)

IMPORTANT: DO NOT FORGET to remove the Hosts file entries that you entered for temporary testing purpose once your DNS propagation is completed. Also, the hosts file based solution can work ONLY on the computer where these changes are made.

Once the above hosts file changes are made, you can directly browse the URL in your browser just like ‘www.mydomainname.com’. Please note that if your domain is hosted under a sub folder, you may have to append that folder to the URL.

3. Using HostGator S.W.A.M.P

Once your HostGator support person sets up your transferred domain name and its hosted files, they will contact you to preview your site. At this point, the website is still not available for the public and you can preview it using the SWAMP system (System for Website Assessment Managed by Proxy).

More details on how to preview the website via Proxy will be provided in the support email. You can also find more details using the link below:
HostGator SWAMP

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