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Making the switch

This is part of the Symbiosis migration guide. Read that first if you haven’t already!

Once you’ve finished testing the waters, it’s time to make the switch to the new server.

Do I need to resynchronize the two servers?

Your databases, websites and mailboxes are still hosted on your old server and may have changed by the time you get here. For example, mailboxes on your server may have received new emails, or your websites may have new or changed files.

Some of you may therefore want to resynchronize everything over to the new server just before going live. In many cases it doesn’t matter, for example if your sites and databases rarely have any changes. If you’re not sure, ask your web developers.

If you don’t need to resynchronize, just skip to Change DNS records at the bottom of this page. It’s much easier without resynchronizing, because both of your servers can host your sites while you change DNS records at your own leisure. You’ll have no downtime at all!


This part involves three steps, including some downtime.

Important: If your DNS records are hosted with us then you’ll need to ask us to transfer authority over to your new server. Before you carry on with this guide, email us with a couple of working days notice and we can perform the change at the time you require (Monday to Friday, 08:30 to 17:30 UK time).

  1. Stop services on your old server
  2. Repeat some steps from the testing phase
  3. Change DNS records

Stop services on your old server

This will cause a period of downtime where your sites and mailboxes are inaccessible. The downtime lasts until you’ve made changes to your DNS records.

Login to your old server using an SSH-client. Paste and run these four commands, one at a time:

sudo touch /etc/symbiosis/monit.d/disabled
sudo service apache2 stop
sudo service dovecot stop
sudo service exim4 stop

Repeat some steps from the testing phase

Warning: This will overwrite any database or website changes you’ve made on the new server. Don’t do these steps if you’ve made changes you want to keep!

  1. Repeat Export your databases.
  2. Repeat Transfer /srv.
  3. Repeat Import your databases.

Change DNS records

To point your domains at the IP address of your new server, you’ll need to make some DNS changes.

If you’re not sure whether the DNS for your domain is hosted with us, browse here and enter your domain (without the www). If it lists our nameservers (eg, then the DNS is hosted with us.

  • If the DNS for your domain isn’t hosted with us, go to the dashboard for your domain registrar (eg, or GoDaddy) and amend your DNS records there.
  • If the DNS for your domain is hosted with us, follow How do I manage a domain from another server?.

Give it a few days and, once you’re happy, you can delete your old server. Get in touch and we’ll let you know how to retire it.

You are currently viewing Symbiosis user documentation. Symbiosis also has a comprehensive technical reference manual.

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