In-place CentOS 7 upgrades

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CentOS 7 will move to EOL (end-of-life) status on June 30, 2024. Here’s what you need to know about our in-place operating system upgrade from CentOS 7 to AlmaLinux 8.

Please do not attempt to perform this upgrade on your own. Our systems include unique resources and adjustments that the generic script from cPanel does not address. Performing this upgrade without our tested and validated processes will likely cause catastrophic failure of your server.

No immediate action is required

Please understand that although no immediate action is required, you should plan for the appropriate future response based on these facts:

  • CentOS 7 will continue to function.
  • CentOS 7 will no longer receive updates.
  • Updated software is important for the long-term health of the server.
  • An upgrade will be needed at some point in the future.

While it is true that CentOS 7 will be reaching EOL status at the end of June 2024, that only means that the operating system will no longer be updated. It does not mean that the system will cease functioning on that date. Over time, EOL software will become less stable, less secure, and less feature-rich than updated software. Using caution to plan the migration route will result in a much better experience. While migrating to a new server is the traditional path for an operating system upgrade, Liquid Web has developed an alternative method to safely upgrade your operating system "in place," saving much of the time and struggle of a traditional migration.

Why consider an in-place Linux upgrade?

Migrations are a trusted method of moving from one operating system to another. They do, however, bring a set of well-known drawbacks: increased costs, compatibility issues, extensive testing, and possible DNS issues when moving to the final system. An in-place upgrade avoids many of these issues by keeping the system on the same server and keeping most of the information the same, only changing the underlying software of the server.

Does my web server qualify for an in-place upgrade?

Because this process involves updating both the operating system and the control panel, we can only offer this upgrade for certain servers:

  • Must be on cPanel
  • Must use PHP 7.2 or higher
  • Must use MariaDB 10.3 or higher or MySQL 8.0 or higher
  • Must have managed backups (Acronis or Cloud)
  • Must not use CloudLinux

At this time, we are focusing our efforts on systems that are fully managed with the cPanel control panel. We are working on processes for upgrading Plesk and InterWorx servers, but have not completed testing those workflows at this time. If you want to look into upgrading your operating system from one of those systems, our migration process may be right for you.

Preparation Step #1. Update all software on the server to the most current version

Successful upgrades or migrations to a new operating system start with a source server that is as up-to-date as possible on the current platform. Many issues can arise from out-of-date versions of PHP, Python, the CMS software, plugins, themes, etc.

Older end-of-life versions of PHP (before version 7.2) are not supported on AlmaLinux. AlmaLinux 8 supports PHP 7.2, 7.4 (default), and 8.0 versions.

AlmaLinux 8 — Table of PHP support by version

Preparation Step #2. Identify the best time slots for your business

Because the upgrade will make your server unavailable while files are updated, you should identify the best time windows for your business. Identify when your customers are least active so the disruption to your business will be minimized. We cannot always guarantee work completion within the desired timeframe, but we will do our absolute best to accommodate your business needs. Please allow for a four-hour window of downtime during the upgrade process.

Preparation Step #3. Reach out to our Support Team to begin the process

Once you’ve prepared the server, reach out to our Support Team by opening a ticket to begin the in-place upgrade process for moving from CentOS 7 to AlmaLinux 8. The process includes testing and verification phases. Please allow time to schedule and prepare for the upgrade — as well as the time to complete the actual upgrade work with the confirmation of its success.

Working with a trusted web development partner to satisfy Liquid Web's minimum technology stack requirements

Liquid Web has the following technology stack requirements before we can perform an in-place CentOS 7 upgrade for you:

  • Must use PHP 7.2 or higher
  • Must use MariaDB 10.3 or higher or MySQL 8.0 or higher

If you do not qualify for our in-place CentOS 7 server upgrade offering because your web server does not meet the requirements above, you can take action to meet them. To upgrade your web server’s technology stack to use PHP 7.2 or higher and MariaDB 10.3 or higher or MySQL 8.0 or higher, customers can seek a qualified web developer to update their website, CSM, or web application to be compatible with the newer PHP or MySQL versions listed above.

This category of web development project is outside the scope of our Support Team. However, our Partner Directory page lists our trusted development agencies and partners that customers can engage with regard to these kinds of efforts.

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About the Author: David Richards

David Richards has been an educator, a Technology Director, and now a Technical Writer for 20+ years. He’s an English major with a love for technology and helping others find ways to use technology more effectively. In his free time, Dave loves to read, play games, and spend time with his family.

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