FREE TRIAL DIRECTADMIN ACCOUNT
Get a free trial account first in the DirectAdmin environment. (You can do this by logging into the new billing system and then following the "Order" link to place an order for a free trial account of a suitable type. We recommend an "e" series account.) This free trial account will not in any way intefere with your existing Cpanel account.
In the free trial account, get familiar with how to create and delete mailboxes and mail forwarders. Send some test email, both via the trial account server to an outside address, and from an outside mail acount to your trial account mailbox(es). Make sure you can figure out how to send and receive mail reliably in the trial account. Use the temporary domain provided with the trial account.
Your trial account will not become permanent. Do not store any valuable data in it.
In the trial account, create one or two simple web pages and get familiar with how this is done.
Do an ssh login into the trial acccount, and explore the directory structure via an ssh window. Refer to this web page to get an understanding of the directory layout:
Notice that there is a subdirectory called "domains" inside your home directory, and that subdirectory contains another subdirectory named after your temporary domain.
REGULAR DIRECTADMIN ACCOUNT
Now ask for a regular (paid) account by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Your free trial account will be replaced by a regular account.
In this account, you will again be given a default domain name, usually of the form USER.onthisnet.com. You can use this default domain so long as your account remains valid.
Now get ready for the switch-over. You will do the following steps fairly quickly, within 2-4 days.
Add your domain EXAMPLE.COM to your DirectAdmin account. At this point, EXAMPLE.COM is officially still connected with your existing Cpanel account. But it's also known to your DirectAdmin server. Mail and web access from the outside world to EXAMPLE.COM or WWW.EXAMPLE.COM will continue to reach your old Cpanel account.
However, any mail sent by other customers on the same DirectAdmin server will now go to your DirectAdmin account. For this reason, quickly create mailboxes in your DirectAdmin account that have the same names as your mailboxes in your Cpanel account. Now if anybody on the DirectAdmin server sends mail to any of your addresses, the email will go into the correct mailbox on the DirectAdmin server.
Now upload your web site to your DirectAdmin account. Access your uploaded web pages via a URL that points to the server name (e.g., http://sunshine.rahul.net/~USER/...) and make sure they are valid.
Now you are ready for the final switch. Go to your domain registrar, and change the name servers to be the name servers whose names you received when your DirectAdmin account was created. Allow a few hours, and the name server change should begin to become visible to the outside world. Now every one or two hours, keep sending test email from some outside location, and also keep accessing your web pages using your EXAMPLE.COM domain name. Some of your email messages or web accesses will go to the old Cpanel server, and some will go to the new server. Keep looking for any errors, and take any action needed to fix them.
The most significant errors, if any, are likely to involve any cgi-bin programs in your web site. For cgi-bin debugging hits see: Cgi-bin Debugging in DirectAdmin.
Your new web site might need minor adjustments. Make them as needed, every 1-2 hours.
Web browsers often cache old web pages. To make sure you always see a current view of your web pages, it will help if you occasionally clear your web browser's cache. You may have to explore all the menus on your browser to find the right menu item to let you do this.
About 2-3 days after you did the name server change, essentially all traffic, both email and web accesses, should be reaching your new DirectAdmin account. If you have been carefully checking for problems all along, there should be minimal or no disruption of your email and web site.
For a few days, keep checking email on both the old and new servers. When you notice that no more email is reaching the old server, the switch-over is complete.
Now you may delete your Cpanel account.
This document is: http://faq.rahul.net/cgi-bin/fom.cgi?file=76
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