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When you are switching hosting, you need a quick yet reliable way to transfer files between two servers.
Rsync is the best tool for the job. Here is how you do it.
First step to import website files. SSH keys
It is not required but you may want to have SSH connectivity between old and new servers to work without passwords first. Further, this will let you run import commands in the background easily.
Generate SSH key on the new server:
ssh-keygen -t rsa -P '' -f ~/.ssh/id_rsa
Next, make the old server trust this key:
ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub firstname.lastname@example.org
where 184.108.40.206 is the old server’s IP address.
If SSH runs on a non-standard port, refer to our previous tutorial on password-less SSH login.
Run import with Rsync
Make sure it is installed on the new server first:
yum -y install rsync
Create the directory where you want to have a copy of remote files first, i.e.
mkdir /var/www/html. Copying files with is easy now with a few lines:
REMOTE_PORT=22 REMOTE_USERHOSTemail@example.com' rsync -e "ssh -p $REMOTE_PORT" -avz $REMOTE_USERHOST:/var/www/html/ /var/www/html/
Run these commands one by one. You can change the default port from 22 to whatever SSH port is configured on the remote machine. The second line specifies the system user and IP address of the remote server. The last command will copy all the files from a remote location over to the local directory, including hidden files.
If you want to have the import running in the background, even after you close SSH session, run:
nohup rsync -e "ssh -p $REMOTE_PORT" -avz $REMOTE_USERHOST:/var/www/html /var/www/html > import.log 2>&1&
It is safe to close Terminal / Putty now. You will be able to check the log of running command by listing contents of created
tail -f import.log
The command above will display real-time updates of newly transferred files of our background import process.
Making import reliable
Now, I often find that the reason for changing host is reliability. Quite oftentimes the original server has an unreliable network and thus the import simply fails because the network went down on the old server.
How do we deal with that? Let’s expand our previous commands into a script, that will repeatedly check rsync returned status and restart transfer until it is successful.
#!/bin/bash REMOTE_PORT=22 REMOTE_USERHOSTfirstname.lastname@example.org' ssh-keyscan -t rsa -T 10 $REMOTE_HOST >> ~/.ssh/known_hosts ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub $REMOTE_USERHOST -p$REMOTE_PORT while ! rsync -e "ssh -p $REMOTE_PORT" -avz $REMOTE_USERHOST:/var/www/html /var/www/html do sleep 1 echo "Restarting program..." done
We also added two helpful lines:
ssh-keyscanwill accept remote host key for us. This is insecure but for our automation purpose we will sacrifice security over convenience
ssh-copy-idwill make sure there is trust between the two hosts and will allow skipping password prompt between subsequent tries
Save the script as, i.e.
import.sh and make it executable by giving +x permission:
chmod +x import.sh. Then run it using the background approach:
nohup import.sh > import.log 2>&1&
This will pick up only the remaining files after each failure and the script will take care of making a log of transferred files and failures. It will not have to download all the files every time – this is what makes it great. The script will work indefinitely until it’s done transferring all original files.
Back up the whole drive to a remote location
It can be useful to snapshot the entire drive and put that image in a remote location.
Suppose that you have a Hetzner Storage Box set up, and an OS X machine with an external 2 TB USB HDD.
In our case, the disk can be accessed with
/dev/rdisk2. Check your exact disk number by using the Disk Utility in your OS X.
First make sure that you can freely SSH into the storage box:
ssh -p23 uXXXXX@uXXXXX.your-storagebox.de.
To snapshot the HDD and upload the image remotely, you can run:
tmux new sudo -i dd if=/dev/rdisk2 | gzip -1 - | ssh -p23 uXXXXX@uXXXXX.your-storagebox.de dd of=usbhdd2tb.img.gz