Can two sites temporarily co-exist in the same space?


So I’m going to be revamping/revamping an old HTML site into a new WordPress site.

The thing is, I need the old site to still be accessible while the new WP site gets installed in the same place.

I believe a new WP install can co-exist in the same root folder as another site, right? (Someone please tell me if I’m wrong). Once the new WP site is there, it will “take over” if someone goes to that web address, yes? That’s fine with me — I plan to put up a “Relaunch coming soon” maintenance page immediately.

I already created an alternate homepage for the old site (index_old.html), and I will show that link on the coming soon page so people can still visit the old site while the new one’s being worked on. Once I’m finished, I’ll drop the coming soon page and the new site will be the new destination…right?

So is there anything else I need to do, or be concerned about?? I think what I want to do can work in theory, but I have a feeling I might be missing something. Is there something I need to be doing with the htaccess file, or will the new WP install automatically handle that?

If anyone can chime in and let me know if it will work out ok this way, or if I should be doing things differently, it would be greatly appreciated!

Also…I’d like to keep the old site around/accessible for a bit as it has some info that will take a while to port over (though it’s not necessary to have that right away). Will this complicate things by keeping the old site around for too long?

  • Ash
    • WordPress Hacker

    Hello @anton

    I hope you are well today and thanks for asking the question.

    Well, keeping both sites in same place is not a good idea though. It works because, your html site index file is index.html where wp site index file is index.php

    So, the logic is when some visits will see your html site, when he visits he will see the wp site.

    Now, as you said, you have a maintenance mode plugin for wordpress and that can handle the maintenance part and shows your renamed index_old.html page, then it’s fine. You don’t need to change anything in htaccess. But in Settings > Reading disable indexing of search engine, so that google or other search engines do not index your site as long your site is in maintenance mode.

    Hope it helps :slight_smile: Please feel free to ask more question if you have any.



  • Anton
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    Thanks for your reply, @ashok

    Actually….I just realized the OLD site is also index.php (not html), so that may complicate things even more, yes? (The previous site builder, who is going to help me a bit with the transition, made the new index_old.php file).

    In which case, I’m not sure what order to do things. Do I get rid of the OLD index.php first, and then do the new WP install? (I know this will temporarily mean no site. It’s very low traffic at the moment, hence the reason for the redesign, and I can always do this late at night).

    Or will installing WP simply overwrite the old index.php? I can have the new maintenance page (with a link to index_old.php) up in minutes.

    Any recommendation of how to go about this would be appreciated.


  • Ash
    • WordPress Hacker

    Hello @anton

    If you have index.php file in there, and if you install wordpress in the same folder, old index.php will be replaced with wordpress’ index.php file.

    So, better rename to index_old.php first and then install wordpress. Also, make sure check file names and folder names of current website and wordpress root, just in case if there is any file with same name.



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