Help with Server Migration Plan (From WHM to another WHM)


Oct 12, 2005
Hello, I have been using whm/cpanel on my dedicated servers for some time now, but I am in a situation where I need to migrate an entire server from one provider to another provider.

My current server is running WHM 10.8.0 cPanel 10.8.1-R113 on Fedora i686 - WHM X v3.1.0
My new server is running WHM 10.8.0 cPanel 10.8.2-R83 on Fedora x86_64 - WHM X v3.1.0

The current server is called and it is running 4 nameservers:,,, and

The domain is only using ns1 and ns2, where as some of my clients are using ns1/ns2 and some are using ns3/ns4 (and some are using all 4), as they used to be all on seperate servers ages ago. Also about a dozen of my clients are using their own nameservers at other providers.

On the current server, I have about 300 domains. about 150 of these were bought from another provider that went out of business, and unfortunately they were on a "legacy" LAMP server. In that circumstance the isp was the only one with access to anything, and the users requested changes. Unfortuantely when I migrated these all over, the databases that these sites use are all named arbitrary things, (nothing to do with the username) and the database names are all hardcoded into the code... So the users don't actually own the databases (they all appear to be owned by root in whm).

My current plan to migrate all of this is as follows, please give me any feedback, and let me know if there is a better (or more proper) way to do this, and if there is any suggestions that might help smooth the process out... One of the reasons I am moving is because my current provider *accidentally* formatted my server, and forced me to restore from backups, causing a couple days of downtime, which my clients are very angry about, the last thing I need is more downtime during this move.

My plan is:
#1 - 24 hours before executing the remaining steps, do a mass find and replace on the zone files in the dns config for the ttl values, setting them all down to like 1 hour on the old server.
#2 - Move across all the databases manually first, using a mysqldump remotely.
#3 - Move across all the accounts, using a standard whm multi-account transfer. (leaving the domain out of the transfer).
#4 - Confirm everything moved over allright (by using my local hosts file and visiting some of the sites)
#5 - back up the zone file on the new server (because it is all configured for the new IPs)
#6 - move across the account using whm transfer
#7 - alter the zone file on the new server to reflect the backup made
#8 - on the old server, alter the zone file to reflect the ip addresses of the new server
#9 - wait for DNS propogation

Please let me know if this should work with minimal (if not no noticable) downtime for my clients.

Thanks for your time and feedback!


Active Member
Jan 6, 2004

I did a migration just a few months ago from one server to another using the WHM 'copy multiple accounts from one server to another.

The way I did this was, on my new server I setup different nameservers from my old server first, and allowed the usual 48 hour propogation time etc.

On all the domains affected which would require DNS changes, I added the new nameservers as additional nameservers, leaving the old ones in place still.

Then I did the multi copy accounts from one server to another using WHM. I initialy did several individual copies first, then I deleted the old dns servers for these individual domains in their respective namerserver areas, leaving only the new nameservers, then I checked the accounts were working okay and the transfer were fine, which they were.

After this I copied the rest of the domains with WHM again. Then I went into the remaining domains domain management areas with my registrar, changed all the nameservers so that they showed only the new nameservers and that was it.

The transition was as smooth as you would like, and no downtime for any account.

As to the way you propose doing it, it all seems rather complicated to me. There doesn't appear to be any compatability issues which would affect you accounts in any way, and the WHM copy from one server to another should be no problem.

Alternatively you could do individual backups of each account using the full backup feature in CPanel ( I would recommend full back-ups BEFORE you start anyway and save a copy of them on your pc just to be on the safe side), then transfer and re-install them on the new server using restore account. But you would only be doing manually that which WHM can do automatically.
If I was you, I would create a completely NEW nameserver for the new server, then do what I suggested above. You can use any old name for your nameserver, just register anything at all reallt, it doesn't matter, just so long as it is a FQDN/TLD. I registered something stupid like or summit like that. Never use the domain other than for the server hostname and nameservers. It will mean a bit of work with changing all the dns settings to reflect the new nameservers. You only need to create 2 nameservers for the server, since any additional nameserver with the same domain makes no difference. If the server goes down, the nameserver go down no matter whether you use 2 or 4 or whatever which have been created from the same domain.

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