Moving new site into the same domain as the current site: conflicts


I have created a new site for a client. It is in a sub-directory in his host account.
His current site is outdated, a lot of static HTML (lots of re-written code) and no real separation of concerns (a lot of inline Javascript and CSS).

To save hassles, I just wanted to go into his hosts control panel and assign the current domain (e.g. to the sub-directory containing the new site. This would mean that instead of going to the new site using the following URL: we could just type in and we would arrive at the new site.

The problem is, he is worried that he would lose a lot of business and search rankings because doing that would break a lot of the links into his current site.

I offered to do URL re-writes to make sure that the most popular URLs (in terms of incoming links) would point towards the relevant/corresponding page on the NEW site.

He is not happy with that solution because he is worried that we won’t be able to cover every single URL with re-writes (or it would take too long) and it would negatively affect his organic search ranking (which is no1 for certain searches). He wants to do the same routine as he did with the previous developers, which is just take the whole new site (files and directories) and just drop it into the same root directory as the current site.

The problem I am having with this suggested approach is that, in order to avoid the names of files and directories clashing when I drop the current site into the root www directory, I am going to have to re-name a lot of directories in my application to avoid name clashes. And the new directory names will just suck because they will violate the conventions I am used to using. Also, re-naming directories will mean having to sift through my application files with bbedits text factory and make sure all the path references containing the old directory names are now changed to accommodate the new directory names. AH what a headache.

Can someone with knowledge of server configuration please tell me if it’s possible to assign two different directory trees to the same domain. I am hoping that the server software can handle the two directory trees/files at the same time without getting confused about directory name and file names.

This is a sticky situation. I think you should definitely be able to assign the domain to point to both directories via cPanel. If not, a simple redirect system would work even better.

Having redirects installed in your htaccess file or on the side of the server will help you.
But I believe that would be much better if you solve this problem with your web hosting provider.