RT Cunningham

Upgrading an Ubuntu Server can be a Royal Pain in the Neck

I’ve only upgraded my Ubuntu server once with my current hosting provider, Media Temple. Since they can’t do real upgrades on their end, merely replacing the operating system (and sticking the current one in an “/old” directory), I had to do it the hard way. I provisioned another server and set it all up before pointing the domain name to the new IP address. I made mistakes the last time and I don’t want to repeat them.

The Next Ubuntu Server Version

My current server operating system is Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, Precise Pangolin. It’s supported until April of 2017 but I’ll have to upgrade to the latest operating system, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Xenial Xerus, a year early.

The PPA maintainer I use for PHP won’t support 12.04 after 16.04 is released in April of 2016. I can’t even install PHP7 on 12.04. I don’t blame him. It would be crazy to try to support more than two Ubuntu server versions.

I made a mistake when I was switching servers the last time. Because of my billing cycle, I was going to be charged for a partial month and a full month for the new server while paying for a full month for the old server. It took me a while to work it out with customer service because I didn’t have enough money in the bank to pay it that way. I only needed an overlap of a few days, not a month, and I knew I’d have a credit eventually anyway.

This time, I’ll be provisioning the new server on the first day of the billing cycle, which means I’ll pay for two servers for a full month. I’m sure I’ll get a credit when I “close” the old server. I’ll be ready for the Ubuntu server upgrade this time, unlike last time.

Why is it a Pain in the Neck?

I mean it literally. I’ll spend so much time in one sitting that my whole head will hurt, from the neck up, until I’m finished.

I’ll have to copy the Nginx, PHP, MySQL and other configuration files (that I can’t think of at the moment) to the new server, making sure to make necessary changes while I’m doing it.

While the article, “How to upgrade to PHP 7 on Ubuntu“, mentions upgrading, it doesn’t mention it only works on an Ubuntu server newer than 12.04. Nevertheless, it’s a good starting point (although it doesn’t mention ALL the packages I’ll have to install).

I don’t really have to upgrade my Ubuntu server until it’s no longer supported after April of 2017. If I want to take advantage of the latest version of PHP, however, I really have no choice. I’ll still have to wait until Media Temple offers 16.04 as an “upgrade”. It might end up being May or June before I can get it all done.

January 14, 2016

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