Move Everything Except Mail to New Server... Temporarily

OS type and version CentOS 7 / Almalinux 8
Webmin version Current
Virtualmin version Current
Related packages Usual

So I have a server which we’ll call server1. It has nameservers NS1 and NS2. It also has an excellent mail reputation.

I plan to set up a new server that we’ll call server2 on the same domain. It will have nameservers NS3 and NS4. Based on past experience, the IP addresses I inherit will have shitty reputations.

If I move everything except mail from server1 to server2 to give me time to clean up the IP addresses (which I will do by hosting one unimportant site’s mail to server2 to use for reputation testing), how would I eventually move the mail service for the domains on server 1 to the new virtual servers providing everything except mail service on server2?



The other option, of course, would be to move one site whose mail is unimportant to the new server, clean up the IP addresses, and then move the rest.


Imapsync would do that for you, provided you know the passwords of all the mailboxes on server 1.

If the passwords are not known then you will have to use Virtualmin backup to create a backup of each virtual server on server 1 and (effectively and selectively) restore only the users and mailbox on server 2.

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Not sure what you are trying todo. ( which settings / configs for domains and virtualmin box hostname…)

But mail for domains, could be on the realmailserver ip / hostname via the MX records in nameservices.
So independent from where the domain url for website domain is.
If using the domainname itself for mail hmm, i don’t do that kind of thing myself, is kind of tricking the real basis mailserver with some settings and configs , i don’t know then.

So example: hostname.box1.tld and hostname.box2.tld you can have mail for domainexample.tld on via mx records on hostname.box1.tld and all other parts for domainexample.tld on hostname.box2.tld

Sync copy via imapsync if moving…

So then you can keep mail reputation if needed and switch back if ready or temp move and then back and so on.

I do it that way for new boxes uses old one temp for important mail, and after some domains are going wel for mail on new box i move mail to.

More important thing if you are doing it this way you don’t have to change the mailclienst if using mailserver itself for mx record, and yes if moving domain total and mail on domainname you don’t need to change clients to, so both have some pro’s and contra’s

If doing real mail (pro) you do mail on mailserver(s) for that domain itself (only) , probably separate mailserver ( subdomain mail or so…)

Thanks. On the first migration planned, I know all the passwords because that server hosts only sites that I personally own.

The next one… I’ll deal with that one when the time comes. That one is currently on cPanel. My tentative plan is to set it up as server2 on the same hostname domain and with the same nameservers as the losing server, plant some site on it until it’s cleaned up, shorten the TTL’s on the losing server, move all the sites over, and change the IP’s on the nameservers to the gaining server once they’re all moved. That way the clients don’t have to change the nameservers with their registrars.

Another possibility… Once the sites are all moved from the old server hosting my own accounts, rename it, upgrade the OS (fresh install), install Virtualmin, move the clients’ sites over, and change the nameserver IP’s. That server already has clean IP’s, so I can reuse it immediately.



I use each domain’s name for mail ( For my own sites it’s just out of habit. For client sites it’s a habit I got into many years ago to eliminate the need for them to change anything when I migrate a site. Typically they don’t even know I moved them. Everything just keeps working.

All I’m doing is anticipating that the IP addresses will have horrid reputations, and giving myself time to clean them up. But I’m starting to lean toward my second plan of just setting it up and moving one site whose mail is unimportant, then moving the rest over later after I’ve gotten the new IP addresses off the bazillion RBL’s.

Then I can use the old server for my own sites as the new server for my clients’ sites because the IP addresses are already clean.


Is it a VPS? If so who are you using?

The losing servers will all be VPS’s with Turnkey Internet, with two dedicated IP4 addresses each. So once I inherit them, I can clean them up.

Every IP4 that I’ve ever inherited from any provider for the past 20 years has had a bad reputation, however; so I don’t want to make it sound like a complaint against Turnkey. I’ve also never experienced any near-neighbor problems. They’re pretty aggressive about dealing with spam and restrict or terminate accounts before they pollute the netblock.

The problem is that by necessity their response is reactive; so once they terminate an account, the IP’s reputation has already been harmed. And some RBL’s (like Microsoft or Verizon / Bell South / AT&T / Yahoo!) are a real bitch to get removed from.

Microsoft is the worst. I basically have to block their entire IP range in retaliation to get their attention.That gets my ticket escalated past the level one morons who can’t do anything. It always works, but it’s a pain in the ass. Ironically, Microsoft IP’s account for between 40 and 50 percent of my incoming spam.

Verizon is tough, too; but I’ve found that filing a request through AT&T usually works to get off that one, since they all share the same RBL. But finding someone at AT&T willing to delete the IP can take some doing. Going through their support forum usually works, but it can take a few days.

I haven’t decided on the gaining server yet. I may go dedicated and create my own VPS’s on it, or I may just do new VPS’s. I’ve never had downtime of more than three minutes on a Turnkey Internet VPS, so the reliability is there.

I’m also pondering colo since the DC is only an hour and a half away, and it would be rare that I’d have to go anyway after the initial setup.

Whatever I do, it with still be with Turnkey Internet, whose service and support are the best I’ve ever experienced. I’m just working out the numbers.


I had the same issue with Vultr with ip getting blocked mainly by one mob that alot of businesses seem to use. I found a way to get a IP that wasn’t getting blocked by using Reserve IP Vultr Reserved IPs - I added and removed Reserved IP until I found one that wasn’t on the Block lists anywhere. Now I have a IP that is portable if I want to upgrade the OS or move to a new OS. Hopefully Turnkey might have something similar.


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That’s not a bad idea. Thanks.

Turnkey Internet has swapped out IP’s that were hopeless for me a few times in the past (at no charge). I probably should just just ask them to check the IP’s before they assign them. I’ve asked them to do weirder things than that over the years.

The back story behind my fondness for Turnkey Internet began a few years ago on Christmas Eve, when the company I was with at the time majorly botched a migration after being bought by a private equity firm.

It wasn’t my first rodeo, and I had good backups in multiple places; so I decided I needed a new provider. I called Turnkey Internet, late in the evening on Christmas Eve, and an honest-to-goodness human in Latham, New York answered the phone.

I explained my situation; and to make a long story short, the usual new-customer rituals were waived in favor of scans of my driver’s license, my DBA from the county, and a company credit card. A new VPS was provisioned to my specifications within minutes, and rDNS set up even though there were no sites hosted on it yet (which was another policy waiver).

On Christmas Eve.

Basically, Turnkey Internet vets new customers to try to weed out the scammers and spammers. Because the rep knew what was going on with the other company, all of that was waived save for my providing documents to prove I was an established, legit business. I moved all the sites over before most of the clients even knew anything was going on.

That was on December 24 of 2017. I’ve been with Turnkey Internet ever since. The reliability of service and the quality of support are the best I’ve ever experienced in this business. If there has been any unplanned downtime, it was so short that none of my monitors picked up on it; and any question or request I ever made was responded to in minutes.

In summary, I’m still banging ideas around in my head about exactly how to do the upgrade / migration. But I know what hosting company I’ll be using.

And no, Adam didn’t pay me to post this.


Thats excellent you have some human contact with them, not usual these days. I like vultr because I can add and destroy instances with very little cost (like a few cents) so great for testing.


Yeah, I’m happy.

Today I took out another VPS, but there was a problem with the AlmaLinux image. The tech in the DC installed it for me manually, presumably from a fresh ISO using a thumb drive.

Unfortunately, the Virtualmin installation hasn’t gone too well. Fortunately, I am in no rush.


yeah, still bugs with the AlmaLinux install with the RC, webmin need to be updated apparently.
Rocky works fine.


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@Jamie and I are working on making a new Webmin 1.995 that will fix issues with AlmaLinux and various of other ongoing issues.

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