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  1. #1

    Moving sites without changing name servers

    Ideally when I move my sites to a new server, I'd like to be able to do it one at a time, which results in running some sites on the old server and some on the new server concurrently.

    All my sites are using my private nameservers: ns1/

    I guess it seems like an all or nothing deal set up this way. My nameservers either point to the old or new server.

    I'm thinking I'll have to create some new nameservers, ie: ns3/ which would point to the new server. Then for the accounts that I have registrar login info for, I could change their nameservers to the newly created ns3/4. Next when I want to move the final batch of sites still pointing to ns1/2, I just change my custom nameserver IPs for ns1/2.

    Is their any easier way though that doesn't require me to move all sites at once, or alter registrar nameserver records (other than for main domain of course)?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Personally I believe that changing the IP addresses of your custom nameservers is never a good way to move websites. It's simple, which is why people do it, but you're stuck with a 48 hour TTL that you can't change, during which time you don't know which server visitors (or incoming emails) are going to hit.

    For a more labour-intensive but better way, make the account moves and the nameserver moves completely separate.

    For the accounts, copy all the backups across and restore on the new server. On whichever nameserver is active, edit the DNS zone for each domain and reduce the TTL on the A records (the domain itself, www and mail typically) to a low value - around 600 or 10 minutes is good. After this, wait out the previous TTL to ensure your new value has propagated. Then when you're ready to move each website put it into maintenance mode, do a final sync of files and databases and change the IP addresses in those same A records. For nearly all visitors the switch will happen within minutes and once you've verified you're connecting to the new server you can bring the site back into normal mode.

    Then for the nameservers, edit the DNS zones so both servers have exactly the same information - each website pointing to one server or the other. (On a reseller account you'll need to do this manually). Then when you change your custom nameserver IPs you'll still have to wait for the 48 hour TTL but it won't matter - whichever nameserver your visitors use they'll get the same information. You can do the nameserver change before, after or (if you're brave) even during the websites move.

    "Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them." - Laurence J. Peter

  3. #3
    Thanks for the info.

    I haven't had to tinker with the DNS zones much in the past. But if I read you right, the gist is that I can edit the dns zone on an existing hosting account to point to the new server IP. No need to touch individual domain registrars.

    A bit of pain to edit dns zone for each domain, but overall sounds like a pretty safe strategy for smooth transition and optimal up time. Thanks!

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