cPanel to Centos Web Panel Migration – Quick and Easy way

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I have a dedicated server with cPanel/whm installed on it. Now, due to recent changes in cPanel pricing, we want to migrate from cPanel to CentOS Web Panel. Can you make it possible?

That was a recent request we received in the help-desk of our Server Migration Services.

cPanel to CentOS Web Panel migration can help in reducing costs. However, migrations always come with the risk of malfunctioning websites, data loss, and many more.

Today, we’ll see how our Migration Specialists properly plan and execute cPanel to CentOS Web Panel migration avoiding website down time.



Why CentOS Web Panel?

Before proceeding further, let’s quickly check on why many users choose CentOS Web panel aka CWP as a cPanel alternative.

CentOS Web Panel comes with a user-friendly interface and helps to manage websites on the servers easily. It offers Apache web server, MySQL database support and comes with PHP support too. Other comparable features of cPanel and CWP are options to switch PHP versions, inbuilt firewall support, email and backup options.

Moreover, Centos Web Panel offers a free version as well as a paid version. Thus, normal VPS users can benefit from the cost advantages of the panel.

Above all, CentOS Web Panel comes with a bundled cPanel migration tool which comes handy in migrating website data.  Unfortunately, the migration itself requires a series of steps.


Steps to migrate from cPanel to CWP

Here, the customer wanted to migrate the websites with out downtime.

However, replacing cPanel with CentOS Web Panel on the same server will not work here as it involves downtime. The websites will stop working while removing cPanel and installing CWP.

Let’s now check on how our Migration Engineers did the actual account transfer from cPanel to CWP.


1. Getting new server ready

We began by setting up a new server that matches the software versions on the cPanel server. We, then setup CentOS Web Panel on the server. Here, we choose the same Apache, PHP versions. This help to avoid typical problems with version mismatch. Similarly, we choose the new server with slightly larger disk space. As a result, it can easily hold the website data together with the backup of each account.


2. DNS changes

Another important aspect in website migration is DNS.  These DNS changes always involve 24 to 48 hours for completing propagation. This can be a major headache after migration. Therefore, our Migration Engineers always edit the DNS TTL value to a lower value prior to the migration. Thus, it helps to propagate new DNS within few minutes.


3. Create cPanel account backup

Now, it’s time to take the backup of the accounts. When planning to migrate all the domains on the server, it’s better to process them in batches. This helps us to get better tracking on the entire migration process.

We execute the following script from command-line to take the backup of cPanel account to the folder /bkptransfer.

/scripts/pkgacct username /bkptransfer

Again, we maintain a list of accounts and repeat this on every account using bash scripts. This would generate the backups of accounts available on the server.

For migrating single account with user cPanel login, we do it from the control panel. Here, we go to Files > Backups > Download a Full Website Backup option.


4. Copy backup to CWP server

Now, its time to copy the backups to the new CentOS Web Panel server.

Here, we use the scp command that copies the backup files on the new server. And, we always make sure to run the copying command in ‘screen‘. This way, the task will continue in the background. Or, the entire process fails when there is an power or network interruption to the computer from which you are trying the file copy.

The exact commands to copy the backup files to the folder /migration/backups on the CWP server will be :

cd /bkptransfer
scp backup.tar.gz remote_username@CWP_server_IP:/migration/backups

Here also, we process the backups in batches. This would avoid connection dropping problems in between.

When migrating a single account, we copy the account backup in the public_html directory. And, we make use of wget command to fetch the contents to the new server.


5. Restore backup from CWP panel

CentOS Web panel readily accepts the backup format of cPanel. To make it work, we select the cPanel Migration option in panel.

By, selecting the particular account, the migration module will restore the website content as well as database and its users.


6. Temporary link check

Further, we verify the contents on the new server. This include comparing the size of contents of new and old server, emails and databases. Then, we make use of the IP address of the new server and check the preview of the website. We correct the website permission errors if any.


7. Home directory and database sync

When things work properly from the new server, we switch over the DNS of the domain to point to new server. However, if the initial migration was done long before, there will be new content changes in the old server. To accommodate these changes, our Migration Engineers do final sync of the website document root and database sql file.

After that, we proceed with DNS cut over. And, the websites load from the CentOS web panel server.

We also make sure to remove the backups from the CWP server to save disk space.



Possible CWP migration errors

Although there are options to do the migration from CWP panel, the restore of cPanel backup may not be successful always. Let’s see the top problems that customer face while doing cPanel to CentOS Web Panel migration.


1. Already existing account

Recently, one of our customers got the following error while trying Cpanel migration from his CWP.

There is an error, please check that the account no longer exists

Here, as part of the migration process, customer created the user on the new server. Thus, creating the account beforehand caused the migration to fail. To fix the problem, our Migration Engineers had to delete the already created user account. We did this from the CWP panel, User Accounts > List Accounts and delete the account.

Afterwards, the migration worked perfectly.


2. Firewall restrictions

Similarly, firewall restrictions also create problems with migration. The cPanel to CWP migration works on port 2304. When, this port is not open on the firewall, the migration fails.

In such cases, our Migration Engineers always open port 2304 on the server firewall. Additionally, we confirm the port status using the script /scripts/check_api too. The successful status would show up as :

User API port 2302 check: OK
Oauth query check: OK
User API folder check: OK
External API port 2304 check: OK
External API files and htaccess : OK
CSF Firewall status check: ENABLED
TCP_IN for port 2304 set in /etc/csf/csf.conf: OK
TCP_OUT for port 2304 set in /etc/csf/csf.conf: OK


[Wish to do cPanel account migration without downtime? Our Migration Experts can help you.]



To be precise, CentOS Web Panel comes as a free alternative for cPanel. Today, we saw how our Migration Specialists helped one of our customers to do cPanel to CentOS Web Panel migration. Also we discussed on the typical errors with migration and their fixes.

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