Liquidweb server migration experience

Liquidweb advertises a migration service. I never had to use it before. I had a machine running Cloudlinux 6 ELS with cPanel (WHM 110) that was going to be totally EOL at the end of June.

I had read some documentation on Liquidweb’s support site about their process for doing migrations. I had a lot of questions and engaged them conversations over the phone and via the ticket system. My biggest concern was that I wanted an IPSWAP – meaning that I wanted the new server to use all of the same IP addresses that were on the old server. I have some friends who have been through similar migrations at Liquidweb who had mostly good experiences but always had to do some significant DNS editing afterwards, with an IPSWAP. I made it clear many times that I wanted an IPSWAP. Without the IPSWAP, the IP addresses of all sites would have changed post-migration and would definitely require updating DNS for hundreds of domains. By default they do copy a lot of settings from WHM on the old server to the new server, likely figuring that many people do not thoroughly configure the new server the way they like it before migration. I had fully configured my server. So I explained to them that I would prefer not to migrate most/all WHM settings.

I ordered a new server to replace the old one, running Cloudlinux 8, cPanel (WHM 120) and configured it to my liking.

I then engaged the migration team to schedule a migration. They did. As part of the migration process they do an initial sync of data, wait a number of days, and then do the final migration followed with an IPSWAP immediately after.

After the initial sync, it was up to me to do some testing by using my Windows HOSTS file to direct particular domain requests to a temporary IP on the new server for testing. All went well.

The initiated the final sync / IPSWAP precisely on time as per the schedule that we made. 10 minutes before that, I backed up all of the DNS zones on the old server and copied the archive over to the new server just in case.

The final sync / IPSWAP took very little time in the grand scheme of things. I think less than an hour. After the final sync / IPSWAP was done, the migrations team notified me that it was done and to test. I found a few small issues and dialoged with them about the issues. Their migrations team were available and responded extremely quickly to any issues I had immediately post-migration. Those issues were taken care of.

The final issue I had was that the final sync and IPSWAP process ended up modifying the SPF and MX records for all domains whose mail is handled externally, so that ultimately SPF / MX were no longer referencing the external mail services (like Outlook365, Google for Domains) but were directing mail TO the new server instead. I panicked. But I had a backup of the DNS zones from just before final migrations (and it turns out Liquidweb did too).

We restored the DNS zones from immediately before the final sync / IPSWAP to the new server. Everything has been running wonderfully ever since. And actual downtime, in my case was a matter of minutes.

Despite the Liquidweb migration team not being able to migrate with 100% success right out of the box, I would say it was a 97% success and that in the end, because their migration team remained responsive and available, it was 100% success in short order.

Your mileage may vary. I was extremely impressed. Sure, their migrations team specialize in migrating data, and I’m sure that they have done thousands of migrations over the years. But every server has different settings, different data to be transferred. There is just no way that anyone migrating could achieve instant 100% success rate. But they came as close as I think was humanly possible. Their migrations team are an amazing group of people.

I’ve been using Liquidweb for server since 2015. There have been times that i was less impressed with support requests and times that I’ve been amazed at how quickly they figured out what an issue was and corrected it. If you are looking for a server, whether it’s dedicated, cloud, VPS, whatever, I’d highly recommend Liquidweb!

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