Domain Names

ID #348

Can You Provide Assistance in Migrating My Account from Grid Hosting to a VPS?

Applies to: Grid System

First, be sure that you check out this page to be ensure that this guide is for you.

If you have looked over that FAQ and are ready to get started in your migration, then this guide is for you.

PLEASE NOTE: migrating your websites to a VPS is not something that Modwest directly supports. This guide is offered to assist you in migrating your services. It is up to you to ensure that your website(s)/application(s) work correctly in your new environment. Modwest highly encourages thorough testing of your configuration before considering your migration successful.

Before getting started, you should familiarize yourself with the Plesk interface. The documentation provided by Plesk will be very helpful in this process and will also be referred to. You can find the manual which corresponds to your version of Plesk here.

Once you have gotten a chance to familiarize yourself with the documentation, you can begin to migrate your sites to your new VPS account.

  1. Mirroring your configuration from your grid hosting account to your new VPS account

    • Setup and register nameservers for your new VPS hosting environment

      Depending on your registrar, there will be different methods for this. Here are some links to some common registrars information on how to register nameserver with them: If you are registered with us follow these steps:
      1. Go to our domains section.

      2. Click on the ‘Account Accesss for Domains’ link.

      3. Login using your domain registration credentials.

      4. Go to ‘My Domains’ then select the domain you wish to register as a nameserver.

      5. Click on the ‘Register Name Server’ link.

      6. Enter the prefix you would like as well as the IP address of your new VPS. Common prefixes are ns, ns1, ns2, etc.

      7. Click on the Update button.

    • If necessary, setup client accounts for your individual clients associated with your account

      More information about how to do this in Plesk can be found here.

    • For all domains currently on your grid account(s), create appropriate domains in Plesk on your VPS

      You can follow the instructions provided by Plesk here to begin setting up and managing your domains.

    • For all mailboxes currently on your grid account(s), create appropriate mailboxes in Plesk on your VPS

      You should follow the Plesk documentation to create your new mailboxes for your clients.

    • If necessary, for all databases currently on your grid account(s), create appropriate databases on your VPS

      NOTE: If you are changing from MySQL 4 to MySQL 5 make sure you check out the MySQL documentation. Also, be sure to check out the updated list of ‘reserved words’ that can cause issues.

      You can find instructions on how to setup your databases for each of your domains in the Plesk documentation here.

  2. Migrating the data from your grid hosting account to your new VPS

    • Recreate any custom DNS configuration(s) associated with your grid hosting account

      You can find information on how do that here. If you are unsure of your DNS configuration, you should check out this FAQ.

    • Move the web files from your grid hosting plan to your VPS

      First you should get your files from your grid hosting account via FTP. If you are unsure how to do this, you should look in our FAQ here. Once you have downloaded your files to your computer, you will probably want to put them on your VPS and see how they look before changing your nameservers over. Plesk offers a file manager that will allow you to upload your files. However, if you have a lot of files or some rather large files, you may want to upload via FTP.

      At this point you may be wondering: how can you upload via FTP if ftp.yourdomain.com goes to your grid hosting account?

      This can be done by modifying your hosts file and entering the appropriate entry for ftp.yourdomain.com and the IP address of your VPS. Now when you enter ftp.yourdomain.com in your FTP client you will be able to connect to your VPS instead of your grid hosting environment. You can now upload your site.

    • If you access mail via IMAP or normally through webmail, move mail data from your grid hosting plan to your VPS mailboxes

      This can be done a number of different ways. For this FAQ we will go over how you can use a mail client to move the mail via POP3 before you have changed your nameservers for your domains. There are other methods of moving mail from one server to another. A search in Google will yield information about those other methods. If you don't need to move your mail over then you can skip over this section.

      Moving your mail using a mail client via POP3. This is a three step process that may take some time depending upon the amount of mail you have in your mailbox. First you will be connecting to your mailbox in your grid hosting account and downloading all of the email. Then, you will modify your hosts file so you can connect via IMAP to your mailbox on your VPS account. Then you can move your mail from your local computer to the mailbox. Here is an explanation of how to do this via POP3.

      1. First you will need to make sure you have a mail client. A free, powerful mail client is Thunderbird available from Mozilla (makers of the popular Firefox browser).

      2. Now you should configure the mail client to connect to your mailbox in your grid hosting account. If you are unsure how to do this, look at this FAQ.

      3. Now you can connect to the mailbox and download all of the mail within it.

      4. Modify your hosts file and enter an entry for mail.yourdomain.com and the IP address of your VPS.

      5. Add a new account to your mail client. Instead of choosing POP3 for the incoming server, select IMAP. This will allow you connect to your mailbox and modify its contents as they exist on the server. More information about the difference between POP3 and IMAP can be found in our FAQ here.

      6. Now, you can select all of your mail from your POP3 account and drag it to your inbox in your new IMAP account. This will take the email that you have downloaded to your local computer and put it in the inbox on the server.

    • If you have databases, export any database(s) associated with your grid hosting plan and import the information into your VPS

      1. First, you'll want to create a dump of your database from our servers. We have information about how to do that in our FAQ here.

      2. Now that you have your dump file, you will want to import it.

        Depending on the size, you may be able to import it using the web based phpMyAdmin. Plesk provides information about how to do that here. If you have a larger database then you will want to login via shell access and run the necessary command to import a database. We have an example of how to do this with our system in our FAQ here. Keep in mind that you will have to replace the necessary information in that FAQ so that is relevant to your new VPS setup.

  3. Test the new configuration

    • Test your DNS configuration for each domain

      Many methods exist for testing the setup of your DNS. There are a few websites out there which offer tools which can aid in this process such as DNSstuff.com, or DNS Bajaj. Keep in mind that, due to the complexity of DNS, there is no best way to test your new configuration. A very helpful tool for this is the Linux command line utility called "dig." A good explanation of how to use the utility can be found in this article. For the scope of this FAQ, we will provide an example of a command that you can run which can help:
      dig @yourserver.modwest.com exampledomain.com any
      This will directly query your VPS for DNS information that it has for the exampledomain.com domain. Again: this is just an example. You will want to explore the options for testing DNS that you are most comfortable with to ensure that everything is setup properly for you.

    • Test the domains on your VPS using a hosts file

      You can modify your hosts file to specify an IP address that you would like a particular domain to resolve to. You should create an entry for the domain in question and associate it with the IP address of your new VPS. Now, you can go to your browser and enter the domain you wish to test and you will be viewing the files on your VPS.

    • Test mail to your domain using webmail in your VPS to achieve local delivery

      Because you do not want to interrupt your mail service yet, you will want to use webmail on your VPS to ensure that your email configuration is working properly. You can login to webmail for email accounts by either logging in as the mailbox user or by selecting the mailbox in question and clicking on the webmail button associated with it. By using webmail, you can ensure that your email configuration is working as expected without having to worry about switching over your MX records yet.

    • Test any databases that were not adequately tested in step #2

      There are many different ways to test your database. You can perform custom queries using the command line or by using phpMyAdmin. Also, assuming that your hosts file still points exampledomain.com to your VPS, you can test out your database by interacting with your site as you normally would.

  4. Make your changes live by modifying your DNS hosted on Modwests nameservers

    NOTE: due to the nature of DNS propagation, it may take some time before you and your users resolve to your updated DNS entries
    Information on how to modify your DNS hosted with Modwest can be found in this FAQ.

    • Switch your MX record(s) for your DNS to your VPS to ensure mail functions properly

      Before actually switching your entire site over, you can begin to test how your VPS will handle your domain configuration by just switching over the mail to the VPS. Keep in mind that propagation can take 24-48 hours. You may want to consider testing the mail configuration for some time before proceeding to the next step.

    • Switch your A record(s) for your DNS to point to your VPS to ensure your web applications function properly

      Now that your A record has been changed, you can see how your VPS will react to your clients using your website(s). This is another step of the process where you should consider testing the configuration for quite some time before proceeding to the next step.

  5. Switch domain name resolution over to your VPS

    • Change your nameservers for all of your domains with their associated registrars

      You should check with your registrar to see how to update your nameservers. Here are a couple links to guides from a couple of common registrars:
      If you registered your domain with Modwest then follow these steps:
      1. Go to our domains section.

      2. Click on the ‘Account Access for Domains’ link.

      3. Login using your domain registration credentials.

      4. Select the domain you are trying to switch nameservers for.

      5. Click on the ‘Update Name Servers’ link

      6. Enter the name(s) of your new nameservers you registered earlier

  6. Discontinue your grid hosting service

    • Email billing -at- modwest.com to request that your grid hosting account be closed

      Be sure that this request comes from an email account associated with your grid hosting account.


Assuming you have followed the steps in this guide, you should now be the proud owner of a new VPS environment containing the same information that used to be stored in your grid hosting account.


Last update: 2010-10-03 12:51
Author: FAQ Admin
Revision: 1.3

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