Migration to DirectAdmin

cPanel to DA considerations

Known issues

  • Mailman mailing lists do not get converted to majordomo mailing lists
  • Please make sure it's you who created cpmove-user.tar.gz backup for security purposes, because at this moment we fully trust the content inside, thus available on admin level only. This might change later.
  • DirectAdmin format for mysql usernames/databases is always username_database and username_user. cPanel has the same format, but due to max username/database lengthopen in new window, is sometime shortens the username part in from of it. cPanel allows myusername_ to have a DB username with myuserna_. DA DB names/usernames always start with myusername_, changing this would create a mess, for example, you could have myuserna user owning myuserna_db1 and myusername user owning myserna_db2. The script converts username to be username in such cases, so, for some accounts you might need to change database username/name in wp-config.php or other files CMS uses. This should be rare though. Script output in such cases:
WARNING! us_wordpress cannot be owned by user, renaming database user to user_wordpress

Other things to take into consideration:

  • It's recommended to leave all the cpmove-user.tar.gz files on the system after restore. If there are bugs, or something goes wrong, it'd still be possible to recover that data.
  • Like any software - there might be bugs there, if you notice any - please let us know, and we'll try fixing them as soon as possible.
  • DirectAdmin supports a different feature set than cPanel. For example, DirectAdmin supports nginx/openlitespeed, MySQL8, rspamd etc., but it has no support for PostgreSQL or Ruby. So, if you have any sites using them - they'd need to be transferred manually.
  • Max username length is 16 characters for MySQL users by default, and 10 for system user. Max username length can be increased in /usr/local/directadmin/conf/directadmin.conf. You can find max length of your username in cPanel easily:
ls /var/cpanel/users | awk '{print length, $0}' | sort -nr | head -n1

To increase it in DA to 16, for example, you can simply run:

/usr/local/directadmin/directadmin set max_username_length 16
service directadmin restart
  • To make sure your MySQL username/database name is fine, we recommend upgrading MySQL/MariaDB on the server (https://www.directadmin.com/features.php?id=2294) to MySQL 5.7+ or MariaDB 10.x.
  • We suggest trying it with 1 account first, most preferably - the one with the longest database name/username (guide for this in 2nd post) to make sure you have the nameservers you need and that you don't hit any limitations 😃
  • If you have user.tar.gz instead of cpmove-user.tar.gz, it will not work! pkgacct forms cpmove-users.tar.gz. If you have a list of user.tar.gz files, and want to rename them all in current directory:
for i in `ls *.tar.gz | grep '^[A-Za-z0-9]*.tar.gz'`; do { mv -vf ${i} cpmove-${i}; }; done
  • If you have backup-...._user.tar.gz instead of cpmove-user.tar.gz, it will not work! pkgacct forms cpmove-users.tar.gz. If you have a list of backup-...._user.tar.gz files, and want to rename them all in current directory:
for i in `ls backup-[0-9]*.*.tar.gz`; do { USERNAME=`echo $i | cut -d_ -f3 | cut -d'.' -f1`; mv -v $i cpmove-${USERNAME}.tar.gz; }; done
  • If you don't see the user in Move users between resellers list, please rebuild all resellers' users.list files.
  • If you did not restore resellers first, all users were assigned to "admin". If you want to re-assign them to correct resellers after restore:
cd /home/admin/all_backups
for i in `ls user*.tar.gz`; do { RESELLER=`echo $i | cut -d. -f2`; USER=`echo $i | cut -d'.' -f3`; /usr/local/directadmin/scripts/move_user_to_reseller.sh $USER admin $RESELLER; }; done
echo "action=cache&value=showallusers" >> /usr/local/directadmin/data/task.queue
/usr/local/directadmin/dataskq d

cPanel to DA transfer ALL accounts

cPanel server:

  1. Create a backup of all cPanel accounts on cPanel server and place them to /home/all_backups (make sure you have enough of space for them, if not, please read the suggestions at the end of the article):
mkdir -p /home/all_backups
for user in `ls /var/cpanel/users/`; do { /scripts/pkgacct ${user} /home/all_backups; }; done
  1. Transfer /home/all_backups to DirectAdmin server:
rsync -avt --delete /home/all_backups/ root@[B]your_directadmin_server.com[/B]:/home/admin/all_backups/

We're done with cPanel server now. Let's connect to DirectAdmin server now.

DirectAdmin server:

  1. Make sure your backups at /home/admin/all_backups are owned by "admin".
chown -R admin. /home/admin/all_backups
  1. We finally have DirectAdmin backups in /home/admin/all_backups 😃 Now we can simply go to DirectAdmin "Admin Backup/Transfer" section, check "Backup/Restore Settings" (defaults should be fine) in Admin level and restore all backups from /home/admin/all_backups directory.

That's it!

If you have enough of space, I'd suggest leaving /home/admin/all_backups still there on DA server for a couple of weeks/months, if there is something missing in DA - you'd always have it in that backup.

If your cPanel server doesn't have enough of space - it's easy transfer accounts one-by one directly to the home folder on a new server. The most convenient way to do this is to generate SSH keys on cPanel server using:


Then you'll have your public key placed in /root/.ssh/id_rsa.pub. Just copy the content of it to your DirectAdmin server, file /root/.ssh/authorized_keys (if /root/.ssh directory does not exist, create it). This will make it possible to connect to DA server without any password (from your cPanel server). Now instead of steps 1) and 2) on cPanel server, just do this:

for user in `ls /var/cpanel/users/`; do { /scripts/pkgacct ${user} /home/all_backups; rsync -avt /home/all_backups/cpmove-${user}.tar.gz root@your_directadmin_server.com:/home/admin/all_backups/cpmove-${user}.tar.gz; rm -f /home/all_backups/cpmove-${user}.tar.gz ; }; done

cPanel to DA single account move

Steps on cPanel server

  1. Backup the user to /home/user_backups, replace "username" with a real username:
/scripts/pkgacct username /home/user_backups;
  1. Transfer whole /home/user_backups/ to DirectAdmin server:
rsync -avt /home/user_backups/ root@your_directadmin_server.com:/home/admin/converted_user_backup/

Done. Now we need to connect to the DirectAdmin server.

Steps on DirectAdmin server

  1. Make sure your backup is owned by admin user:
chown -R admin. /home/admin/converted_user_backup
  1. Restore it in Admin Backup/Transfer section on DA admin level (don't forget to set the path to /home/admin/converted_user_backup, otherwise you won't see the backup).

That's it!

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