Getting everything back up to speed!
The actual server migration itself went smoothly – just some big scares along the way!
First, why did I get a new server?
I’ve had this server for a few years. Everything needed upgrading, but I did only some things – afraid of causing any downtime. When the spam situation got out of control, I finally went to ConfigServer.com to get them to install their MailScanner software on my server. They were unable to complete the request – because I was still running Redhat 9 as an operating system.
I looked into getting the company I lease my dedicated server from – HostGator.com – to upgrade my operating system. They said it would cost $25 and I would incur 6-9 hours of downtime on my server. That was a deal breaker! I can’t have all my sites down for that many hours.
I’ve also had some space problems on my server – so I looked at the dedicated server package that was one up from the level I was leasing. For only $45 more a month, I could have a HUGE jump in server guts. Plus if I upgraded, then I could have the new one all configured first – with CentOS, the latest PHP and MySQL and Perl and then I could migrate my sites. I was sold so I ordered the new server. I think the deal was complete in less than an hour!
Instead of just having the ConfigServer people install their Mailscanner program, I also had them lock up my entire server. $149 and they work their magic to seal the holes and install their spam fighting wisdom. My Verkley.com email address people will be grateful to see FAR less spam in their inboxes this week. Plus I am about to provide more email addresses to a couple of recent clients and I just didn’t want them to deal with the level of spam that was coming through, so the timing was right.
After ConfigServer was finished with my server. I followed these directions to migrate all my domains from the old server to the new one: Guide for transferring all accounts to a new server – post #69
It involved putting my servers on a DNS cluster – basically teaching them to trust each other.
Then I shut down the mail services on my old server so I wouldn’t lose anyone’s mail by having it delivered to the old server after I moved their mailbox.
Then I used CPanel’s migration tool in my WHM control panel to move my sites. I moved the little ones first, and then moved the bigger database driven ones. It took probably 3 hours or so? I panicked at first – my satellite connection died 10 minutes into the migration and I thought everything would be completely messed up, but it wasn’t – I just skipped that domain when my connection was restored and then re-migrated it.
As the sites moved over, the DNS’s were updated. Everything seemed wonderful.
Until I started looking at the domains. Every site I have that is programmed in PHP was showing an error – with a message that included a path for a DIFFERENT domain and it showed the default email address of ANOTHER domain! 88| What a mess! My subdomains for one site were showing completely another website of mine. I started to move the DNS’s back to the old server fearing everything was messed up.
I tracked the error down to the open_basedir setting. I fiddled with the php.ini file. It seemed to be shut off. Hours later I found it also in a Cpanel security tweak! Once I disabled it, all my PHP sites were back in order.
I had a few other things lingering to fix up. Since MySQL was upgraded, some of my custom database scripts were showing some odd behaviour. My timestamp displays were way off – but then I realized that the newest version of MySQL saves timestamps in a different format, so I had to alter my code a wee bit. And then find all the scripts where I manipulated timestamps, and I fixed them too. I couldn’t log into any control panels of my websites individually. Turns out the server was configured to allow SSL connections to my cpanels only – so I fixed that up. Comments disappeared on my blog – but that was from the blog software upgrade I preformed at the same time – one of the blog scripts didn’t fully upload. That took a couple days to figure out. My brother Brian had some IMAP connection problems, but we seem to have those figured out too. Bit by bit, everything is being restored, and this new server is a ton faster!
By the end of the week I will have decommissioned my old server.
If you want me to give your anti-spam setup a good check over, and suggest anything you might want to add to the mix, just give me a shout at email@example.com.
I might need to charge you for actually installing stuff if it is going to take a while for any nasty reason, but I’ll take a good look for free. It shouldn’t take me too long.
I have a good list of basic pointers on the MailScanner wiki at
Sorry the URL is so long, I never did get on well with wikis 🙂
You can trust me (yes, I know. Never trust a guy who says “trust me” 🙂 as I have a reputation to maintain, and would lose it very fast if I did anything nasty to anyone’s servers. Just ask the guys on the MailScanner mailing list what they think of me!
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.