Separating a domain from a webspace in Plesk

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  • Applies to: VPS Hosting
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Time Needed: 30 min
    • Tools Required: Plesk administrator access, FTP program, Email handling program


The Plesk Control Panel (versions 11.0 and up) uses webspaces and subscriptions to manage access to your domains and various control panel features. Plesk groups many features and functions of domains based upon these, such as email account creation. You may find that you need to move a domain attached to an active webspace or subscription into it's own.

One process for doing this is to create a temporary webspace or subscription with a temporary name, migrate the site files on your server to the new service, and remove the old domain entry from the server. After this point, you can update the fake name to match your domain once more. The instructions provided here will outline the process in Power User view, using webspaces. Check here for more information on switching service provider views.


In order to create a new webspace or subscription, you will need to either have your IP address set up as shared on the server, or you will need an additional, unused IP address. You can find more info on setting your IP address to shared here.


Create a New Subscription

1. Log into the Plesk Control Panel.
2.Click on Subscriptions. Then Add Subscriptions.

3. Fill out each section to add your subscription/domain.

  • Domain name: Fill in your sample domain name.
  • IP address: Select your IP address.
  • Username: Choose an administrative username for this webspace.
  • Password: Please choose a strong password, or use the Generate button for a random one.
  • Repeat password: Please enter your password again. If the password was generated, both fields will populate automatically.

4. Click the OK button.

Migrate your site files

Method 1 - Website Copying

1. Navigate to your domain's control panel.
2. Click on Website Copying.


3. Check the Site name and select whether you'd like to keep the existing files or delete all existing files at your new subscription/domain.


4. Select the OK button.

Method 2 - FTP

Now you'll want to move the files from your existing domain to the new webspace; this is most easily done via FTP. For more information on how to move files via FTP, see here. Your site files can be found by default in this directory (make sure to replace with your site):

If you have trouble finding a site's root directory, it's possible you may have it configured to be something other than httpdocs. Double-check in the Websites & Domains area for the document root of your site, as in this example:


Migrate databases

  1. Re-create your site's databases on the new webspace. For more information on how to create a database, see here.
  2. Export the information from your current database, and migrate it to the new one. If your database is over 10 MB in size, it is recommended that you use a manual migration; phpMyAdmin will not handle larger databases. You can find guidance in both methods of import and export here.
  3. Double-check your site file configurations, to make sure they match up with the new database you've created.

Re-create email addresses

If mail is hosted on your DV Managed for that domain, you'll need to create identical email accounts to the ones on your old webspace before removing the domain entry. This will keep mail from going offline during the move.

No DNS changes need to be made, unless you chose to add the new webspace to a different IP address. If so, this KnowledgeBase article can guide you in updating DNS with (mt) Media Temple.

    1. Enter the Mail area for your new webspace and re-create the email accounts on it. For guidance in setting up an email account, see this article.
    2. If you want to retain old email messages, I recommend using IMAP transfer with an email program to move the mail messages on the server.

You can use an email program to log into both your old and new email accounts at once. Using the IP address of your DV for the incoming and outgoing server in your mail program will allow you to log into both. We recommend logging in with SSL turned off, using password as the authentication method.

For example, in the email program Thunderbird your settings should look similar to this, but with your IP address as the Server Name:

From that point, you can drag and drop the email messages from the inbox of one email account to the other. Using the IP address of your DV for the incoming and outgoing server in your mail program will allow you to log in to both accounts at once. We recommend searching for a tutorial on IMAP transfer for your email program of choice. For more info on IMAP transfer, see this article.

Remove your original domain entry

We recommend waiting until a lower-traffic time on your website for this step, as your site may be down for a few moments while you are updating your server's configuration.

      1. Navigate to your older webspace in Plesk, and find the domain entry you are moving.
      2. Select the older webspace. Then select Remove.

Make sure all of your data is transferred or backed up, and your site and email is configured before this step! For notes on previewing the site before making DNS changes, see here.


Rename your new Webspace

  1. Navigate to the Plesk control panel for the new webspace. Then click on Hosting Settings.


  2. Update the Domain name.  Then click Ok.