DirectAdmin to cPanel migration : Best practices
WHM’s transfer tool is a great way to migrate accounts from DirectAdmin to cPanel.
Often, when the website content is very large, migration with this transfer tool can fail. Here, one possible workaround is to migrate account manually.
At Bobcares, we help server owners with manual account migration as part of our Dedicated Hosting Support Services.
Today, we’ll see the actual steps involved in DirectAdmin to cPanel migration with minimal downtime.
Pre migration Checks
Migration becomes a nightmare when the website do not load correctly from the new server.
But with proper pre-migration checks and by following best migration practices, we can avoid this.
For seamless migration of accounts, the major areas in which our Migration Specialists invest time and effort are:
1. Lower DNS TTL
Migration essentially involves dns record updates. To avoid possible delay in dns propagation, our Migration Engineers lower the time to live (TTL) value in the DNS records of the domains. We do this several days before the migration. With low ttl values, the dns changes propagates in no time.
Also, we inform all the domain owners about the migration well in advance. This helps website owners to make changes in the custom Nameservers for their domains.
2. Version Compatibility check
From our experience in handling servers, we have identified that post-migration issues mainly happen due to version mismatch of the programs running on old and new server.
So, our Engineers check and confirm the availability of compatible software versions in the new server. This ensures smooth function of services like Web, Mail, Mysql etc. even after the migration.
We also check and confirm that the number of IP addresses in the new server matches the count in old server.
3. Volume of Data
In the pre migration check, we also ensure that enough disk space is available on the new server to hold the backup of the accounts as well. Ideally, the hard disk capacity of new server should be at least 1.5 times that of old server.
This way, we can avoid the disk full issues during migration.
Actual steps for Migration
Now that we have done all the initial checks, we can proceed with the actual migration in 4 steps.
1. Build domain list
First and foremost, we build the list of domains on the DirectAdmin server that needs to be migrated. To make this list, we use the script provided by cPanel which can be downloaded at
Then we download the actual script to package account using the command :
We give executable privileges for the scripts.
chmod +x updateuserdomains-universal chmod +x pkgacct-da
Then we run the following command, we get a plain text file at /etc/trueuserdomains. This file contains a list of accounts that can be packaged.
2. Package account
Now, to package an account with username ‘bob’, use the command
This will package the entire account to a single file at /home/cpmove-bob.tar.gz
The time taken to package the account depends on the actual size of the website. So, our Migration Specialist Engineers run this command in “screen” so that even when the server session disconnects, packaging continues.
3. Copy to new cPanel server
The next step is to copy the account to the new cPanel server.
From the DirectAdmin server, execute :
scp /home/cpmove-bob.tar.gz firstname.lastname@example.org:/home
Here we need to substitute x.x.x.x with the IP address of new cPanel server. The backup file will be copied to the /home directory.
4. Restore account
Once the file is in the new server, we can restore the account using the command:
cd /home /scripts/restorepkg cpmove-bob.tar.gz
Again, we run this command on “screen” to avoid any possible termination of account restore due to connection issues.
If there are multiple accounts for migration, we migrate the accounts in small batches.
After account restore, our Support Engineers check and confirm the working of the website using “temporary url” which is based on the IP address of new server. This includes the checking of sub-links and functionalities of the website.
Once everything works as expected, we change the dns of the domain and delete the cpmove file from the server. That completes the entire process of migration.
Manual migration of account from DirectAdmin to cPanel server contains a series of steps. Today we’ve seen how our Migration Specialists foresee the possible risks and migrate the accounts with least down time.