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Migrate site to webflow hosting while keeping some pages hosted on external non-webflow hosting


#1

Hi,

I have 4 existing websites all hosted on the same server, each with a unique domain name. I have built a webflow site that will act as a new single landing page for all 4 sites, so when a visitor goes to any one of the 4 domains, they will all reach the new webflow site.

The plan is to eventually transition all old content from each to site to the new webflow site but in the meantime, I need to keep the old sites live so all the existing content is still available on the current hosting.

I’m a little unsure on the best way to achieve this. This is a process i had in mind:

  1. Add all 4 domains to webflow as custom domains and change DNS to point to webflow hosting for each.
  2. In the domain name's DNS control panels, create new subdomains for each of the 4 sites (eg. site.domain1.com, site.domain2.com etc) and point them to the existing, external non-webflow hosting (eg. site.domain1.com > external-IP.
  3. Use webflow 301 redirects to direct all links to pages which are not yet hosted in webflow to the externally hosted subdomains (eg. domain1.com/events > site.domain1.com/events).

Is it the best way to migrate a site to webflow while keeping some of the site on webflow and some of it hosted outside of webflow and maintain old link juice?

Thanks for any advice


#2

So you have 4 websites that you don't need anymore? You want all 4 domains to point to 1 webflow website? I'm not really following but no matter what, i would not let webflow handle all the forwarding since they are not a domain registrar. That kind of stuff should be done with your registrar using either a records or cnames.


#3

Maybe 301 redirect


#4

Hi @DFink, I currently have 4 separate websites for different 4 bars and restaurants, each with their own unique domain. I've created a new website in webflow that will act as the new landing page for all 4 sites – so the 4 different URLs will now all point to the one webflow site.

The trouble is, I need to keep most of the old site content live while going through the slow transition moving it all to webflow – so I would have some content in webflow and some content on an external server and I was wondering which is the best way to set it all up to allow this while keeping all the established SEO work that has been done.

I realise webflow is not a domain registrar, but I thought the webflow 301 redirect feature was for this sort of thing?


#5

Hi @matt50, I think your idea will work, with the following points observed:

  1. domain1 should be pointed at Webflow servers
  2. The cname record for site.domain1.com should be pointed at the IP address of the external server running a web hosting for the old folder and files.
  3. A redirect is setup in Webflow, with the following:

Old path: /events
New path: http://site.domain1.com/events

Might have to play with these settings a bit, and check all works ok on the cname to the old server, but I think this should work.

I would recommend to do a test cname record on the old server and test it out.


#6

Many thanks @cyberdave, I'll proceed with a cautious test to see if it works as you suggest. I'll post back with how it worked (or didn't!)..


#7

I'd personally set the 4 domains to subdomain and upload copies of the site there. That way you have a copy on the regular domain and subdomain. Then make the switch where the domain points to Webflow and Webflow points to the subdomain.


#8

Hi @cyberdave, I've just back on to this to try it and the first stumbling block is that it seems CNAME records can't point to IP addresses!

@DFink, thanks for you reply. Let me see if I understand – do you mean:

  1. In the DNS settings, add 4 x new A record subdomains: site.domain1.com, site.domain2.com etc. and point them to the current external hosted IP adddress (no need to copy if they already there?)
  2. Point the main domains (domain1.com, domain2.com etc) to webflow (usual A records and CNAME setup)
  3. Use webflow's 301 redirect to point all links not yet in webflow to the subdomain

Is this what you meant?


#9

Hi @matt50, yeah you are right, sorry about that. You might try to setup a separate domain on the old server, and then setup a cname to that domain. Sorry for any confusion.


#10

@cyberdave No worries, it was news to me to be honest!

One of the problems I have is that a previous company built the existing sites and I wanted to try and move to webflow without having to get access to their server. They built the existing sites using Expression Engine which I have no real experience with so I didn't want to get into any potentially complicated setup if I could avoid it. I do have access to the domains and was hoping I could get it all done with DNS and webflow alone.


#11

Hi @matt50, I hear you on this for sure. I think the goal is now, to make that transition to Webflow as one-click as possible. You have my full support and I will raise this to the dev team. Let's make this process easier :slight_smile:


#12

I am not sure about the DNS a record subdomains. I usually set this up in the cpanel of bluehost or godaddy to simply create subdomains. Then I can forward those to webflow. But the rest seems right. At least that seems to be the simplest way to me.


#13

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