Upgrade Debian Jessie to Debian Buster

Webmin 1.962: REQUIRED
Virtualmin 6.14.pro: REQUIRED

We have a server running Debian Jessie (8). We would like to switch it to Debian Buster (10).
We would like to know if there is any particular procedure given that Virtualmin is installed on it with a number of virtual hosts.
We saw this topic https://forum.virtualmin.com/t/upgrade-debian-jessie-to-buster-10/109981 on the forum, but the person who wanted to update did not give the result of its update.
Do you have any advice, tutorial or help to perform this task.



You should upgrade from debian 8 to debian 9 and then to debian 10. Please be aware that configuration and apache versions are different between debian 8 (apache2.2) and debian 9 (apache2.4) and it can break some of your sites… mainly differences in htaccess… you should test your sites with current configuration first on apache 2.4. Once confirmed it works I would do distro upgrade but perhaps while you on it, you can just nuke the old server, install new one from scratch and then restore sites from backups.

Thank you for your reply.
We have already tried on a server to do a new installation but we have encountered problems with receiving emails. We manage to send them but impossible to receive them. They are redirected to the old server. It looks like a DNS problem but we have configured and checked them.
If you have any ideas on this problem we are interested


I researched the switch from Debian 8 to 9 and then 9 to 10.
Can tell me if the following prossedure is correct.

Update Debian 8 to Debian 10
The update will be done in 2 steps.
First step: switch from Debian 8 to Debian 9
Second step: switch from Debian 9 to Debian 10

1 - Debian 8 update
We update Debian 8
Command :
apt-get update apt-get upgrade apt-get dist-upgrade

2 - Modification of deposits
We modify the sources.list file and all the files contained in sources.list.d by modifying jessie by stretch.
As I am not comfortable with the sed command I will open each file with nano and edit them manually.
It’s longer but safer for me.
Command :
cd / etc / apt
nano soures.list

So before I have:
deb Index of /debian/ jessie main contrib non-free
deb-src Index of /debian/ jessie main contrib non-free

After I must have:
deb Index of /debian/ stretch main contrib non-free
deb-src Index of /debian/ stretch main contrib non-free

Do this on each line contained in the sources.list file.

How do I modify the sources of Virtualmin?
Currently the sources of Virtualmin are:
deb http: // XXXXXXX: XXXXXXX@software.virtualmin.com/debian/ virtualmin-jessie main
deb http: // XXXXXXX: XXXXXXX@software.virtualmin.com/debian/ virtualmin-universal main

Should I change them for:
deb Index of /vm/6/gpl/apt/dists/virtualmin-stretch main
deb Index of /vm/6/gpl/apt/dists/virtualmin-universal main

I saw this in this thread on the forum Upgrade Debian Jessie to Buster (10) - #6 by Joe

Command :
nano on_each_file

Change jessie to stretch and save the change.

3 - Update of deposits:
We update the repositories according to the changes we have just made.

Command :
apt-get update

4 - We move to Debian 9
We are updating the packages to Debian version 9.
apt-get upgrade apt-get dist-upgrade

5 - We restart the server
We restart the server and check that we have successfully switched to Debian 9

cat / etc / os-release

6 - We check that everything is working
We review the different services and we test everything we can …
When everything is OK we go to Debian 10.

7 - Update to Debian 10
For the update to Debian 10 we take points 1 to 6 except that on point 2 we no longer replace jessie by sretch but stretch by buster.

Thank you in advance for your return.

Hello @Erwan_Le_Seach :slight_smile: In addition to the valuable other suggested options above. Another option I suggest considering is in summary Import & Export only the appropriate Virtualmin & Webmin settings to any new server to your liking.

When appropriate, this is our favorite method at Ubertus. The main benefits are, often & in average, a significantly more stable & more secure new server.

Below is the same suggestion as above. But with details if you’re interested in those. Including links to summarized documentation & tutorials for Virtualmin.

Five Steps:

  1. Create New Server
    Using a fresh new server. Install Debian 10.

  2. Export Settings
    Using Virtualmin, easily and quickly export ALL your settings.

  3. Import Settings
    Using your new server, restore/import the appropriate, really essential, and needed, settings. Using Virtualmin, you’re able to easily pick & choose which setting you choose to import.

  4. Import Data
    Import only the data you really need. Such as database.

  5. Test
    Test your server. If it is not to your liking, try to adapt which settings you import. There is an initial learning curve to this. When you’re both happy with the result, and ready. Retire the previous services.

  6. Retire & Resume
    Then enjoy & resume with the new server.

Why is this likely a more stable & more secure new server?

  • More stable because obviously a freshly installed new servers benefit from a significant, large number of improvements installed from the start. Not installed from past updates & upgrade. Maintainers of packages do their best. But from time to time they are good faith mistakes. Which keeps slowly piling up. After a while, the pill gets bigger and bigger. In turn, large pile affect the stability of the server.

  • More secure for the same reason. As the stability. In addition to this. In my experience, and statistic of external security audits, we did. Upgraded server somehow have in average a weaker security. They score lowered in our tests. In comparison, newer server score higher. One of the main reason for this is that again, maintainer of package do their best during update and upgrade paths. But from time to time, during an upgrade, a new configuration file is not fully included after the latest upgrade. In turn, some new security features weaker. In comparison. A new server has from the start all the freshly new and install full configuration file.

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