Back to Blog

ELevate your way into the post-CentOS era

/ Technical
If your server is running CentOS (any version) or CloudLinux 6/7, it’s time to plot an upgrade path away from these doomed distros. Here’s how to upgrade with the ELevate tool.

Back in 2021, the end of CentOS Linux was announced. There have been a number of twists and turns in the road since then, but the important facts are:

  • All versions of CentOS Linux will be out of support in a few short months, and 

  • Viable RHEL-based replacements exist, including AlmaLinux and CloudLinux 8. Both of these are stable, and both are supported by cPanel, WHM and Plesk. (These are the ones that we’re most familiar with but there are others, for example Rocky Linux.)

Especially if you are running cPanel or Plesk on Linux, you want to be off CentOS before support runs out at the end of June. CloudLinux 7 will also be caught up in the demise of CentOS, but CloudLinux 8 represents a new start.

This article will delve into two ways to stay in support. Both of them rely on a project known as ELevate.

  • For anyone already running CloudLinux 7, upgrade to CloudLinux 8 with ELevate, or

  • To move away from CentOS Linux, provision a new server with AlmaLinux 8, and then migrate across.

Why ELevate?

The ELevate project is distribution-agnostic, designed for migrations between multiple RHEL derivatives. Whichever route you choose, there’s likely to be an ELevate path that you can take. Just be aware that you’ll need the right variant of the ELevate tool to match your upgrade or migration.

The ELevate tool is designed to handle upgrades and migrations without compromising the compatibility of existing applications. It gives you a low-risk way to manage your move by streamlining the process and preserving your existing server configurations. This makes for an easy transition without the need to recreate settings and migrate websites manually.

Already on CloudLinux 7? Upgrade to CloudLinux 8

Built on the foundations of CentOS 7, CloudLinux is an advanced operating system that’s tailored for shared hosting environments. It offers features like Lightweight Virtualized Environment (LVE) for resource isolation, enhancing stability, and security. CloudLinux is well-suited to control panels like cPanel and Plesk, streamlines management tasks, and supports multiple PHP versions. 

So if you’re already familiar with CloudLinux, you’ve made a good choice and would be wise to stick with it. Version 8 will be in support until 2029 and version 9 until 2032.

ELevate links for CLoudLinux upgrades

The CloudLinux ELevate Project is a variant made specifically for CloudLinux upgrades.

Before you get started, read CloudLinux’s documentation. This takes you through different scenarios depending on whether or not you are running cPanel.

Still on CentOS? Provision a New AlmaLinux 8 server and then migrate

Moving off CentOS is non-negotiable, although you have a choice of distro to move onto. We have thoroughly tested AlmaLinux and adopted it as our CentOS replacement. We recommend that you do the same.

That said, if you want to go in another direction, have a look at how the ELevate tool maintained by AlmaLinux can work for migrations to Rocky Linux and others.

Why AlmaLinux? Why a new server?

As a 1:1 binary-compatible fork of CentOS, AlmaLinux ensures RHEL compatibility, which guarantees stability and reliability. It’s a robust alternative to CentOS, especially for hosting providers. Support from cPanel and Plesk makes the transition even smoother, offering a familiar and efficient management experience. 

Starting with a new AlmaLinux 8 server provides a clean slate where you can optimise configurations based on the latest best practices and avoid potential issues from the previous system. If you have a CentOS 7 server hosted elsewhere, now is a good time to provision a new High Performance Virtual Server and select AlmaLinux 8 as its OS (when we say "high performance", incidentally, we mean it). Plesk and cPanel both provide migration tools that you can utilise to easily migrate your data across.

We have already had customers take the initiative and successfully migrate from a CentOS server to AlmaLinux.

It's technically possible to perform an in-place upgrade, i.e. directly upgrading a CentOS server to AlmaLinux, but the process is not simple. Based on our own experience in getting this to work, we don’t recommend it.

AlmaLinux ELevate documentation

The project’s documentation includes:

Need more guidance or help? Just ask

Soon we’ll be contacting everyone who owns a managed server that is coming up to EOL. This contact will initially be to ensure that you have a plan for the near future. All our customers are also welcome to get in touch and ask about post-CentOS options, migrating to AlmaLinux, or the High Performance Virtual Server platform. 

We’re happy to help you make plans, and if you would rather not DIY our team is also available to help with OS upgrades on request. Just be aware that there might be an extra cost involved.

Whichever way you go, and however you get there, the end of CentOS is now something to look forward to. There are solid distros to move to, and clear paths to follow.