Upgrading OS and PHP version

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#1 Wed, 03/01/2017 - 04:57

Upgrading OS and PHP version

Hi, I am using Webmin 1.831 and Virtualmin 5.06 on top of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. I would like to upgrade PHP 5.3 to 5.6 (at least). Is it possible? In case, what is the "cleanest" way to do this? Thank you

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 06:05
Diabolico's picture

Upgrading OS is not advisable because regardless on how you do it there are so many problems what could arise. Best would be to make a backup of your virtualservers and make fresh install with new OS. Other solution would be to buy another server, install last version of Ubuntu with Virtualmin and then move your virtualservers. In this way downtime will be minimal, e.g. just the time for DNS to propagate. If you want to stay with Ubuntu then you should go with 16.04LTS what is shipped with PHP 7.

Right now you have one big problem and that is Ubuntu 12.04 will reach EOL in less than 2 months so upgrading PHP will not help you at all as your system will be left without (security) updates.

- I often come to the conclusion that my brain has too many tabs open. -
Failing at desktop publishing & graphic design since 1994.

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 12:05
Welshman's picture

Diabolico, stop scaring him.

I would make good backups, then install Ubuntu 14.04, VM etc and then just restore the backup. Should be fine as long as your software is good with the new php -v etc etc.

I would even do a trial before on a separate server, just need to change dns for a short time.

Ubuntu 14.04 is good till 2019, plenty of chill time.

Be happy to help you through it.

Chaos Reigns Within, Reflect, Repent and Reboot, Order Shall Return.

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 13:18

Hi, thank you all for your replies. I understand that upgrading is not a chance (too risky?). Is there a way to upgrade ONLY php to 5.6? For the other problem, is there a "migration tool" to move websites (with databases, mailboxes, and so on) to new server?

Thank you again!

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 14:04

Hi, I founded that URL:


..so it seems possible (and supported?) to upgrade to 14.04!

What do you think about? Thank you very much

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 22:27
Diabolico's picture

@Welshman: If he is scared because of major OS upgrade he should be as this could easily end in server crash to the point nothing else will help but complete wipe out and fresh install of everything. Even Vmin devs will suggest to make fresh install over any major upgrade when is possible. Your logic fails, if he already have second server to test then it would bet better to install fresh OS with Virtualmin there and just move all virtualservers.

@fkville: To begin you should have multiple backups of your virtualservers, preferably to be separate backups. Once done see what direction to take, moving to another server or updating/replacing OS on existing one.

  1. The easiest and safest way would be to have simultaneously 2 servers:

- Old server: lower your TTL to 5-10 minutes and wait for old TTL expire, e.g. if old TTL was 24 hours you must wait 24 hours and 5 minutes for new TTL to kick in.
- New server: Install last Ubuntu version 16.04 as no point to go for 14.04 plus with 16.04 you will immediately enjoy the benefits of having PHP 7.0.
- Old server: make separate backups for each virtualserver and as last resort if everything else fails you can manually backup your files and MySQL.
- Move the backups to the new server and test them.
- If everything is ok change IP's of your nameservers to point to the new server and as you previously lover the TTL the downtime should be less than 3-4 hours, but more likely will be 30min up to 1 hour.

  1. Same server:

- Do the same with backups as i mentioned before.
- Wipe out entire server or go with the upgrade. Just so you know, in case the upgrade fails there is big chance nothing will save your server and you will need to delete everything and start fresh.
- If the upgrade was successful you are lucky nothing more to do, but if the upgrade fails you will lose more time than if you chose to go with clean (fresh) installation.

To lower the cost you can contact your provider and explain what you want to do, pay little extra for the new server to cover 24-48 hours and once done cancel the old server and keep the new one. If you are renting on monthly basis then just rent another server and once done cancel the old one. In both situations you will end with paying max one extra month what is nothing knowing that your websites were down for short amount of time. If you are using 3rd party DNS management (e.g. from your registrar) you will have no downtime at all. But all this is possible only with two servers.

- I often come to the conclusion that my brain has too many tabs open. -
Failing at desktop publishing & graphic design since 1994.

Thu, 03/02/2017 - 13:30

Hi Diabolico, thank you very much for your very detailed answer. I agree with you, best option is move to another (and newer) server. I am not a Vmin expert, so I kindly ask you what chance I have in order to:

  • backup single domains ("virtual server"), ready to be imported in new server
  • backup as much as possible of "global settings" of my present server.

Is there any native tool to backup settings and/or domains?

I really appreciate your help and courtesy.


Thu, 03/02/2017 - 22:56
Diabolico's picture

Depends on how many virtualservers you have and important emails you want to move (if any at all).

Not much to think here as you basically have two main ways to move your virtualservers:
1. If the number of virtualservers are low and no important emails to save/move you can just backup your MySQL over phpMyAdmin and move your files manually but pay attention to upload them as virtualserver owner/admin not as root.
2. Go to Virtualmin - Backup and restore - Backup virtual servers and make separate backup for each virtualserver. Once done move to the new server, restore one by one and start with default/main virtualserver.

For the global settings depends how much changes you did with the old server. If you kept the defaults probably not much to change on the new server, still it would be advisable to check services like iptables, Postfix, Bind, Apache and MySQL. There are more but this few are most likely to produce some errors if not set right, e.g. blocked ports, problem with emails, domains not working, slow/unresponsive CMS... Either way you want to do this before you move any virtualserver.

Now if all this is overwhelming you then maybe the best option would be to pay Vmin devs 50$ to do it for you. With the new separate server everything could be done in short amount of time and you dont need to worry if something will go wrong. Because i'm not using Ubuntu i cant say how the transfer would go but back in the days (1+ year) when i had Virtualmin on Centos 6 there was some problems with backup and restore. Now, did this changed i dont know, either way server migration was never without some sort of stress so keep this in mind. I'm not trying to scare you but this are the fact you must count on them and the problems can (and will) occasionally happen.

- I often come to the conclusion that my brain has too many tabs open. -
Failing at desktop publishing & graphic design since 1994.

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 07:11

Hi Diabolico, so Vmin offers migration service support? I have about 60 virtual server. Is 50$ the price for all accounts? Thank you very much!

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 08:42
Diabolico's picture

By my understanding 50$ is per server/incident so it should cover your needs, but to be sure contact them and see what they have to say.

- I often come to the conclusion that my brain has too many tabs open. -
Failing at desktop publishing & graphic design since 1994.

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