DirectAdmin To DirectAdmin Migration

Following is a recommended procedure for migrating your account from one DirectAdmin server to a different DirectAdmin server. For example, if you have a “d” series account and you wish to migrate to an “e” series account, you would follow the procedure below.

Note: This procedure has been newly created and only briefly tested. If you encounter any problems, please note down at which step the problem occurred, and open a ticket reporting the problem.

Installatron: This migration procedure should also correctly migrate all applications installed via Installatron, if your account includes this feature.


  • Let's call your existing account A, and your new account (to be soon created) B. And you will need a free trial account F of the same type as B.

For example, suppose you have a d1000b account (call this A), and you wish to migrate to an e5000b account (call this B). You will also need a free trial account of the same type as B, i.e., type e5000b in this case, and let's call this account F.

  • In the procedures below, the items with dots are the main ones, like this one.

The rest is just background explanation, which technically advanced users can scan quickly or even skip.

We also have a brief version of these instructions at DirectAdmin To DirectAdmin Migration (Brief) that summarizes all the essential steps.

Get a Free Trial Account F

  • Get a free trial account F, of the same type as the new account B to which you will migrate.

Log into the billing system (see, go to the Order link, and order a free trial of the same type as the new account to which you wish to migrate. This will be account F, the free trial account. Account F will not become permanent—it's for evaluation and testing only.

  • Test account F to make sure it meets your needs.

Once you get confirmation that account F has been set up, explore the free trial account and check to make sure it has the features you need. If you are using any specific applications or scripts in your existing account A, do brief tests to ascertain if they will likely work in account F. If you were using any Installatron-installed applications account A, test to see if they are available and can be reliably installed from the menu in account F.

Generally, you can keep account F for as long as you reasonably need it. Usually this will be for a few weeks, but we can extend that if you are running into some specific problems and need time to resolve them. In any case, never store any valuable data into a free trial account. If the free trial account does get deleted too soon, we have no provision for restoring any data lost in it.

Do a Backup of Account A

This will incur you a few minutes of down time.

  • In account A, change the name of each of your domains to a temporary name. The temporary name doesn't have to be a valid domain.

It's very easy to create a new temporary domain name. Just add ”.invalid” to the domain name. For example, if you have a domain name, change its name to

You can do this domain name change from the DirectAdmin control panel by going to the Domain Setup menu, and then going to Change a Domain Name.

After these domain name changes your website will be down and your incoming email is likely to bounce. We recommend doing this, therefore, during off-peak hours.

Why you need to make the change in the domain name: The DirectAdmin servers query one another, and will not allow the same domain to reside on more than one server, to ensure DNS consistency. Changing the domain name before doing the backup will prevent a duplicate domain error when you later restore to a different server.

  • Go to the Create/Restore Backups menu item on your control panel. Make sure that all the boxes are checked, and then click on the Create Backup button.

Within a few minutes you will get a message in the DirectAdmin Message System telling you that a backup has been made. You may need to refresh your browser window to see it.

  • After the backup has been made, change all the domain names back to their original names.

Now that your domains are back to their original names, your website and email should also be back to normal.

If you notice any errors in the completion message, there is usually no need to be concerned. Errors occur often, if something was missing. For example, if account A had no active mailbox, you may see an error message saying mail could not be backed up.

Most such errors are not serious. So just keep going. The Message System will retain the message and you can look at the errors again if needed.

However, if the error message says that the backup ran out of disk space, this is indeed a serious error. Try deleting old backups and cleaning up other files and retrying. If you are unable to clean up enough files to recover space to do a backup, please log into our billing system (see and open a ticket and we may be able to find a work-around for you.

Transfer the Backup to New Server

  • Transfer the backup archive from account A, in the “backups” directory, to a corresponding “backups” directory in account F.

An easy way of doing the transfer is to download the backup archive (which will be named something similar to backup-Aug-13-2009-1.tar.gz) to your home machine and then upload it to the server that holds account F.

From account A, you can download from the DirectAdmin menu called Files—look in a subdirectory called “backups”.

Upload to the corresponding directory called “backups” on the server for account F.

Note: The “backups” directory for account F might not exist. Just do a backup in account F. This will cause the “backups” directory to be created. You don't need to use the backup created in account F—it's OK to delete it from the Files menu. Now you have a “backups” directory in account F into which you can do the upload.

Problems with upload size? If your backup archive is too big, and you have problems doing the upload, you can log in via “ssh” and then use the “scp” command to copy the backup archive from account A to account F. If you have trouble doing this, please log into our billing system (see and open a ticket asking us to do the copy for you, and please mention the name of the backup archive and from which server to which server, and from which account to which account, we should copy it. We will do this at no charge and send you an acknowledgment.

Restore to Account F

  • Restore the migrated backup archive in account F. Record any errors.

Go to Create/Restore Backups in account F, then in the “Select a File to Restore” section make sure your backup from account A is selected, then click on Select Restore options. Check all the boxes, then click on Restore Selected Items.

The restore will occur in the background. When it's done, the DirectAdmin Message System will send you a completion message. You may need to refresh your browser window to see it.

If you notice any error output, there is usually no need to be concerned. Errors occur often, if something was missing in account A. For example, if account A had no mail forwarders and no mailing lists, then the restore may yield an error message saying it could not restore mail forwarders, mailing lists, etc.

Most such restore errors are not serious. So just keep going. The Message System will retain the message and you can look at the errors again if needed.

Reactivate Domains in Account F

  • Change each restored domain xxx to a valid name such as Test.

You should now have your temporary domains (e.g. restored into account F.

Now take one of these domains and change it to a valid name. For such tests, you can pick any subdomain within the domain. For example, if you had a domain, change it to

After this change, allow some time for DNS to propagate, then see if everything within this domain works as expected.

If it does, then you have verified the restore for this domain. Do the same for all your other restored domains.

Please see the Issues section below for possible issues that might arise.

Restore the Same Way to Account B

If everything worked so far, now get a regular account B.

You can now delete everything in account F and restore from the same backup into a new regular account B.

Or, if some time has passed since you made the backup before, make a fresh backup in account A, and restore that into account B.

Final Cut-over

(Some down time.)

  • In account A, change all the domain names back into different temporary domain names. Then in account B, change all the temporary domain names back to the original domain names.

You will incur some down time while DNS catches up. It shouldn't be more than an hour or two. Pick a low-use time for the final cut-over.

Now do some final testing in account B.

If you properly used account F for testing, account B should work the same way, since it is on the same server.


Account name dependencies. If your login name is different between account A and account B, and if any of your software uses a MySQL database, then database permissions will need to be revised. For example, if your account A login is “cindy” and your account B login is “cyndi”, then after the restore, your database tables will have permission for “cindy” and not for “cyndi”. So you will need to go into the MySQL management screen, and make appropriate adjustments.

All free trial logins always include the ending string “trial”. So the above will definitely apply to your free trial account F.

Protected Directories. You may need to re-protect any protected directories after the restore into a new account.

directadmin/directadmin_to_directadmin_migration.txt · Last modified: 2009-08-21 15:19 by admin
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