Manually migrate a domain to a VPS


This article explains how to move a domain from a shared server to a VPS by manually copying the domain data from Shared Hosting to the VPS and configuring the new user.

These same instructions can also move a domain to a Dedicated Server.


Step 1 — Copying your files

You can manually migrate your web files from your shared server to your VPS using one of two tools:

Manually migrating files via SFTP

If you have less than 1GB of files to move, it may be easier to use SFTP:

  1. Connect to your shared web server using instructions from the FTP article.
  2. Download all content from your website to your local computer.
  3. Create a new user on the VPS. Visit the Enabling Shell Access article for details.
  4. Connect to your new server.
    • The hostname for a VPS is
    • The hostname for a Dedicated Server is
  5. Use the new username and password created for the user on the VPS.
  6. Upload the website files for your domain to the VPS into the domain’s directory.

Manually migrating files via rsync

In the following examples, shareduser and vpsuser would be your Shell users, and would be your website.

  1. Create a new user on the VPS. Visit the Creating a user with Shell (SSH) access article for details on creating this user.
  2. Find the full path to your new VPS and its new user.
    • For example, if your VPS is named ps9123456 and the new user you created is named vpsuser, the path to the VPS is:
    With this information, you are ready to run the following rsync command.
  3. Log into your shared server via SSH.
  4. Run the following command to copy your data from your shared user to your new VPS user. Be sure to change / to your actual domain’s web directory:
    [server]$ rsync -e ssh -av /home/shareduser/
    After you run the command, you are prompted for the VPS user's password.
  5. Click Enter to continue with the rsync. Once complete, your shared domain's folder and its contents are copied to your VPS user.

There are three parts to this command:

  • rsync -e ssh -av
  • /path to shared domain folder
  • /path to VPS user

DO NOT put a trailing slash after the path to the shared domain folder. Doing so only copies the contents inside this folder, not the folder itself.

Step 2 — Pointing your domain's hosting to the VPS

The final step is to adjust which username is assigned to the domain in your panel. View the Moving a single domain from shared hosting to a VPS article for instructions. There are two differences this time, however:

  • There is no need to create a user, as it already exists. Select the VPS user from the dropdown menu you’ve already created.
  • Leave the checkbox Move files to a new user? disabled.

DNS propagation after you migrate from a shared server to a VPS

When you move your domain from a shared server to a VPS, your site's IP (and thus its A record) changes. This means that after any DNS change, the records must propagate online.

  • If your domain uses DreamHost’s nameservers, then the domain’s IP is updated automatically. In your panel, you can see all the DNS records set up for any site you host at DreamHost.
  • If your domain does not use DreamHost’s nameservers, you must manually update your DNS records at the company where your nameservers are hosted.

Visit the following articles for more information:

See also

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