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>> why not simply point the domain name for the site you are redesigning to the other site while the work is being done? >>
My problem is I have full access to both sites and dont want to totally knock out the first site just redirect the hits as you understand from the above comment, my question is "how do I redirect the hits?" should I simply move my index.htm from site1 to site 2? or do I need to speak with the ISP?
Sorry to be so thick I am the owner of the site but I am not the developer (who is not available at present)
To redirect the spider too, the simplest, best and most effective method is to repoint the domain name to the accessible site while work is being done. It only takes the same amount of time to change it back when work is complete so it doesn't 'knock the site out' any more than reconstruction will.
Alternately, simply include a meta tag refresh to the second site in the head of each page. Most spiders can detect, and some will follow, the refresh meta tag.
If you only want human visitors redirected (you don't fear broken links etc will affect your ranking for the site being rebuilt) then the best method is going to be cloaking.
A search for 'cloaking' will probably bring you up many of the commercial suppliers of the scripts you'll need. Look for a company that updates their spider IP address list regularly and reacts speedily.
Since your purpose is not to protect your code, virtually any method of cloaking will do, even purely user-agent detection based, but those based on IP address are often more reliable.
Thank you for the clarity of your advice, you were extrememly helpful and I appreciate your knowledge, the old site is currently obscured whilst we work on it and the new site is already receiving the traffic.
First, verify with your host that the mod_rewrite module is installed and available for your use. If so, a simple introductory example of redirection is here [bignosebird.com], a detailed set of examples and explanations is here [engelschall.com] and Apache's reference docs are here [httpd.apache.org].