Plesk migration and transfer guide

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  • Plesk


2016-11-16 12:47:28 UTC


2017-02-24 17:50:07 UTC


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Plesk migration and transfer guide


Upgrade by transfer is the process of switching to the latest Plesk version by moving all the hosting data and settings from the current Plesk server to a server with the latest version installed.

This approach is preferred when upgrading servers with an operating system (OS) that either falls under the end-of-life policy or is approaching its support termination date.

Upgrade by transfer also allows you to minimize the downtime of services on the production server, as websites stay online while the transfer is in progress.

This article provides some recommendations on performing a smooth Plesk transfer to the newer version.

Preliminary operations

Before starting the transfer, use this checklist to verify the transfer is possible and make sure the server has enough resources and satisfies all prerequisites:

  1. Choose the appropriate destination Plesk environment

    See Plesk Knowledgebase article #213397329 to find out which Plesk version is compatible to transfer from your source Plesk server.

  2. Compare Plesk licenses between your source and destination servers

    If you deploy a brand new Plesk server, you must order a license with at least the same features and capabilities to host all the data from your source server. Alternatively, you may request a temporary license that doesn't have any limitations except the expiration date. You may need to contact your sales representative to get this license.

  3. Make sure you have enough server resources to perform the data transfer

    Check the available diskspace. The source server should contain at least the same amount of free disk space as needed to transfer. The destination server must contain free disk space at least twice the size of the data being migrated. This extra space is required to store the dump on the destination server and extract data from it. Note: for migrating to Plesk version 12.5 and higher, the disk space requirements are different .

  4. Equalize the number of IP addresses between source and destination server

    During the transfer, shared and dedicated IP addresses are mapped respectively. As a result, you need to make sure your destination Plesk server has the same amount and type of IP addresses as the source server.

  5. Increase Plesk PHP limits to handle heavy and long-running operations

    If the source Plesk implementation contains a lot of objects (domains, mailboxes, aliases, DNS records, etc), the default Plesk PHP limits may need to be increased:

    • On Linux /usr/local/psa/admin/conf/php.ini
    • On Windows %plesk_dir%\\admin\\conf\\php.ini

    Pay particular attention to the memory_limit and max_execution_time values.

  6. Make sure your source and destination server can communicate to each other

    Since version 12.5.30 for migration purposes the following ports are required to be opened:

  7. 135, 139, 445 (TCP) ports for migration - Windows Only

  8. 137, 138 (UPD) ports for migration - Windows Only
  9. 10155 (TCP) for a custom Plesk Migrator service performing miscellaneous tasks - Windows Only
  10. 10156 (TCP) for rsync server(migration) - Windows Only
  11. 1434 (TCP) and all (or manually selected) TCP ports for MS SQL, if it is used as a named instance

  12. When migrating from Linux, allow TCP connections to port 22 (SSH).

  13. Install Migration & Transfer Manager component on destination Plesk server

    Open the Plesk control panel and go to Tools & Settings > Updates and Upgrades. The Installer web interface will be opened in a new window or tab. In the Installer window, click Add Components, select the checkbox corresponding to the Migration & Transfer Manager component, and click Continue.

  14. Choose an appropriate timeframe for final transfer

    It is advised to perform the transfer during a period of minimal load on the servers. The fewer requests coming to the source server during the transfer, the more consistent the data will be between source and destination once the transfer is finished. In addition, the transfer procedure may consume system resources such as CPU, memory and network bandwidth. Running the transfer during non-business hours may reduce your risk of service outage.

    Notify your customers about your pre-scheduled migration date. For instance, the nameserver IP address may need to be switched to the new destination server for some domains. This step may require customer involvement, so plan ahead.


To make sure your data will be transferred correctly and consistent on destination server, use the following steps:

  1. Decrease the TTL for DNS zones to 1 hour or less

    A low TTL allows you to refresh DNS changes more quickly and display migrated content.

    You can use the Plesk DNS CLI utility to decrease the TTL:- On Linux

        $ for domain in $(MYSQL_PWD=`cat /etc/psa/.psa.shadow` mysql -u admin psa -Ns -e"select name from dns_zone where name not in (select val from misc where param = 'FullHostName')") ; do /usr/local/psa/bin/dns --update-soa $domain -soa-ttl 1h; done
    • On Windows in cmd.exe
      "%plesk_bin%"\\dbclient.exe --direct-sql --sql="select name from dns_zone" > C:\\domains.txt

      FOR /F %D IN (C:\\domains.txt) DO IF NOT '%D' == 'name' "%plesk_dir%\\bin\\dns.exe" --update-soa %D -soa-ttl 1h
  2. Perform the initial migration

    Open the destination Plesk and go to Tools & Settings -> Migration & Transfer Manager -> Start New Migration. Follow the wizard to initiate the migration process.

    Note : If you are transferring Plesk for Windows Server With Custom Hosting, you need to use the following guide .

    Note : If your Plesk servers are members of an Active Directory domain, you need to use a local account with privileges of the local administrators group, while specifying credentials for the source host in the migration wizard.

  3. Check the migration results. Investigate warnings or errors if any.

    You can use Knowledgebase articles #213372409 for Linux and #213930805 for Windows to see common troubleshooting approaches.

  4. Suspend domains for 100% consistency (optional)

    If your source Plesk server hosts domains with content that is updated frequently (such as a forum, blog, ecommerce applications, and so on), it may be a good idea to suspend those domains to avoid possible data loss or routine duplicates.

  5. Run final migration

    This is also an optional step if the initial migration was completed successfully. However, in case of critical errors and partial data transfer, another migration session may be required to completely transfer all source server content.

  6. Verify that services are up-and-running on the destination server

    Spot-check several webspaces and their related websites, emails, and databases to make sure they function properly on the destination server.

  7. Make the necessary changes to DNS at the Registrar or managed system

    Update your nameserver IP address with the Registrar if required and update the DNS zones on external nameservers to reflect the recreated DNS records for transferred services.

Post-migration content synchronization

The synchronization helps to update already migrated data with the data from the source server when DNS is not yet switched. Information about this procedure is described in article How to sync content between source and destination servers after migration.

Additional information

See also

Migration Guide

Plesk for Linux: Migration Best Practices and Usecases

Plesk for Windows: Migration Best Practices and Usecases

Plesk tutorials page

Cloud TV: Plesk Migration series

Professional Services options

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