First published on Nov 13, 2017 – Updated on Feb 4, 2019
Nowadays, a server operating system might host some of the following services:
- Web service and associated applications used by websites
- Mail service
- Database services
- DNS service
Often there’s also an installed control panel software that helps to facilitate the deployment and management of these services. So migration of the data and services from one server to another one is, in this case, the process of transfer of the control panel data and content (such as websites, mail, databases, DNS zones) to the new server.
Disadvantages of manual backup/restore
Generally, the migration procedure backs up some data on the old server. Then, transfers the backup file to the new server and restores it there. For such a complex environment, the transfer of data to another server isn’t the easiest option. You can, of course, move all the data piece by piece using the native backup/restore tools for each server component and file copy. However, it often takes an unreasonable amount of work-time and manual operations.
The other disadvantage is that it’s not possible to make a seamless transition if the services on the old server are active. Some data will be lost in transfer staying on the old server or some services will be down during the transfer.
Migration to a server with Plesk
Let’s now suppose you have Plesk Onyx on the new server. In this case, it will be easier to transfer all the data (web/mail/databases/DNS/Control Panel data). Because Plesk provides a special tool, the Plesk Migrator Extension, which automates the process.
This is the migration tool that Plesk provides for migration to the latest, recommended Plesk Onyx versions. You install it via Plesk Panel like any other Plesk Extension and it has a handy user interface too.
There can be different reasons for migrating services and/or data from one server to another. Let’s go through the typical server migration scenarios and see how Plesk makes the whole process simple.
Moving your services to the Cloud with Plesk and our hyperscaler partners
Migration from another control panel/hosting environment to Plesk
Moving your services to the Cloud with Plesk
It’s become popular to move onto cloud services and scale your business. You can easily install Plesk on the most-loved cloud platforms, like:
- Amazon AWS
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Compute Engine (we have yet not blogged about this yet, but you can install Plesk on a Google Cloud VM the same way as a regular stand-alone Plesk server)
And once you install Plesk, you can migrate to the cloud instance with Plesk from anywhere, in a standard way.
There will practically be no difference as it doesnt depend on where Plesk is installed (cloud instance, virtual container/ machine or a physical server). You always migrate to Plesk using the Plesk Migrator Extension (this is the number one tool for Plesk migration).
Migration from another control panel/hosting environment to Plesk
If you have any control Panel you would like to leave for Plesk – check out our list of supported Panels. We might already have implemented the support of migration from it.
Your Panel not on the list yet? No problem. Plesk has a dedicated migration assistance team who can prepare the scripts for migration or do a full, paid migration service for you, if needed. Do not hesitate to contact us so we can help you implement the migration method from your server environment to Plesk.
You can even do this from your Panel (one that is not yet supported) on your own, using our custom migration framework.
Migration to the new Plesk and Operating System versions
Another common reason to migrate to a server managed by Plesk is to update the old Plesk version and/or Operating System. Please check the Plesk EOL policy. We recommend that you migrate to the latest Plesk version (Plesk Onyx, since 2017) on a supported operating system.
You can check what upgrade/migration options are available for your OS/Plesk version in the Migration Process Guide.
More common migration scenarios
- Joining and migrating services from several Plesk servers, one by one, to a new, bigger, more powerful server.
- Migrate part of Plesk subscriptions to a new server.
- Shift to the Plesk Multi-Server product.
- Moving data to a server in another datacenter.
- Switch to a server with upgraded hardware.
- Transfer from a physical server to a VM/container.
In any case, the Plesk migration process is the same – you always migrate to Plesk using the Plesk Migrator Extension on the target Plesk server.
Common questions around migration to Plesk
Usually, when the migration planning has started, the following questions appear.
- Which tool should I use to migrate?
- What should I configure/check/install on both servers?
- Are there any ports that need to be opened on the servers?
- Will be there any services downtime during migration?
- How do you sync outdated data on the old server during migration?
- How much disc space do both servers need for migration?
- Is it possible to keep IP address of the old server instead of changing the domains’ DNS records?
You can find the answers and more details about the migration process in the Migration Process Guide document.
In most cases, Plesk migrator will warn you about the problems which need to be solved when it does automated pre-checks. Also, it will warn about problems when it does automated post-checks on migrated objects. Based on the warnings you can always do required corrections and repeat the migration of the problem customers/mailboxes/websites/databases any time.
Typical Plesk migration steps
A short overview of the migration steps (more in detail in the Migration Process Guide)
For steps 1 and 2:
- Install Plesk on the destination server.
- Install all 3rd party components/software that your services use on the source server.
- Make sure to install all products licenses.
- If you plan to migrate databases, make sure that you install and register database servers on the Plesk Panel. Do this in the destination server of the same or higher version than the source server.
- Install all available PHP versions via Plesk Panel installer on the destination server.
- For Windows – Install the latest .NET framework version on the server.
- Then, you can just install the Plesk Migrator Extension on Plesk Panel in the destination server.
- Start the migration to Plesk from there.
- Follow the hints of the automated pre-check/post-check procedures.
For step 3 and 4:
This will not interrupt your services on the source server. It will merely copy data from the source server and will validate them on the destination server. It will warn you if something is missing or if you need to configure something.
When you are satisfied with the migration result, you can sync data in step 6 from the source server to update it and switch domains’ DNS (or move IP addresses) to complete the migration in step 7.