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We recently implemented a high-power dedicated server so we could bring together all of our various websites and projects, from the various shared hosting accounts where they lived, under our own roof (figuratively, at least -- server lives on a farm down the road along with many other happy, well-fed servers). We use an all-standard CentOS/Apache/MySQL/PHP stack and use Apache VirtualHosts for our sites. Of course we've installed all sorts of extensions, convenience modules, and other bits and pieces to customize the server to our liking.

Now, though, we're being told we need to offer more traditional web-hosting for our affiliates, for a number of internal content sites which are maintained remotely. I'm talking "CPanel-style", with a site-op control panel, site-specific FTP accounts and so forth.

Most Control Panel / Hosting environment solutions (like CPanel, ISPConfig, DirectAdmin, and so forth) require a completely fresh Linux installation. Is there any way (without spending days or weeks to manually integrate the components) to setup a relatively full-featured web hosting system on our existing server, without having to rebuild our whole server from scratch?

My best idea so far is setting up a VM for web hosting, but that's a lot of extra overhead for something that's (under normal circumstances) pretty straightforward.

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Not posting as an answer because it doesn't speak to what you want to hear, but it really sounds like you should bite the bullet now and rebuild while integrating legacy configurations rather than run the risk of having to rebuild a broken production server (and other peoples' hosting) without the luxury of time later. –  danlefree Nov 17 '10 at 23:24
It's not that I disagree; it's that I don't make the final call. I have a boss/owner to convince and a layer of intra-company politics to work through. Sometimes the gentle whisperings of "the right way to do it" fall on ears deafened by the bellowing of the bottom line! –  Brian Lacy Nov 18 '10 at 17:06
@Brian Lacy - "Sometimes the gentle whisperings of 'the right way to do it' fall on ears deafened by the bellowing of the bottom line!" - A sad truth for many implementations, but if you can couch the cost of doing it the right way in terms of $$$ saved over unknown problems, downtime, and lost $$$ in the future, perhaps (one can only hope) the right way will start making fiscal sense... –  danlefree Nov 21 '10 at 2:58

1 Answer 1

We're just now getting around to solving this problem. What we're probably going to end up doing is:

  1. Migrate our entire production server to a locally-hosted box
  2. Install a virtualization platform (like Xen or ESX) on our powerful Co-located server, so we can manage our multiple server needs a little more effectively
  3. Reinstall Linux as a Xen or ESX VM and install DirectAdmin on the fresh install
  4. Setup the Sites and Features we need using DirectAdmin & copy the relevant data back to the new production VM
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