Bluehost Web Hosting Help

CentOS 7 and cPanel Upgrades


VPS and Dedicated customers with servers running the CentOS 6 operating system will not be able to upgrade cPanel past version 86. The cPanel team will still support CentOS 6 with cPanel 86 until March 31st, 2021.

VPS and Dedicated customers still running CentOS 6 currently receive the following notice in their WHM panel:
On November 30, 2020, CentOS will stop supporting CentOS 6 on all systems, including your server. At the time CentOS will no longer provide bug, security, or feature updates. We encourage you to migrate to a server using CentOS 7 before November 30, 2020. Information about cPanel deprecation plan is available in our documentation.

In order to qualify for the upgrade past cPanel 86, the server must first be re-imaged to a CentOS 7 server. This is due to VPS and Dedicated servers running cPanel not having the ability to upgrade from one major version of CentOS to the next.

The re-image process requires the current server to be deleted entirely and replaced with a new, clean CentOS 7 server. This includes the deletion of all server content as well as configuration changes that have been made to the server since the purchase of the VPS or Dedicated account. The re-image request can take 24 hours to be addressed, and approximately 3 - 5 hours to be completed once the process has been started.

Creating and Downloading cPanel Backups

Unless disabled or altered in some way, cPanel generated backups are automatically created daily and weekly, allowing you to download these full cPanel backups from your server using SFTP. Please refer to our helpdesk article How to Manage VPS & Dedicated Hosting Backups with SFTP.

Note: Full cPanel backups do not include any changes made at the root level. Any root level applications and files will have to be backed up and downloaded manually.

If backups are not enabled on your server, you can create a new cPanel backup from within your control panel:

  1. Login to your Bluehost Control Panel.
  2.  Click the Hosting tab towards the top of your screen.
  3. Under the Files section, click the Backups icon. 
  4. Click on the Download a Full Account Backup button.

On this page, you can generate a backup of your entire cPanel account in your home directory. In the event that you need more space on your drive for the backup, you can also use the SCP option to save the backup to another server. This will securely copy a backup to another Linux server.

Once you have secured your backup, either locally or at another location, you can then request the re-image of your server.

TIP: We strongly recommend checking the backup contents prior to the re-image process to make sure all necessary data is present.

Restoring cPanel Backups

After the re-image has completed, you will be notified by an escalated support representative to inform you that you can begin the upload of your downloaded cPanel backup. You can also use SFTP to upload the backup to your server’s /home directory.
Note: We recommend removing this backup to free up space from your server once the restoration has completed to free up space on your drive.

There is an intuitive tool in your WHM panel that will restore the full cPanel backup for you. To begin, you will need to log in to your WHM panel.

Once logged into your WHM panel, you can use the search bar to get to the restore tool:

When in the restore tool utility, take the following steps:
  1. Uncheck the Restricted Restore.
  2. Select the Restore with Username (Only backups uploaded to /home will display)
  3. Select the Replace all instances of the original server’s IP address option.
  4. Check the option to Overwrite the existing user and click the Restore button.
Important Note: You only have to select Overwrite the existing user when restoring your primary cPanel account. Any sub-cPanel accounts restored do not need this selected

Important Note: You will need enough storage capacity on your drive to contain the backup(s) as well as the restored cPanel account(s) simultaneously. Otherwise, WHM will show an error and not start the restoration.

Once the restoration has completed, your sites and email accounts should start functioning once again. Please contact support if you require any further assistance after this has completed. If any issues occur during the restore process, please feel free to request the escalated support team to perform the restore for your primary cPanel account on your behalf. Please understand that we can make no guarantee of the restoration's success, as it relies on the backup uploaded to the server.

Upgrading cPanel Software

To ensure you upgrade past cPanel 86 after the CentOS 7 re-image, you may need to modify your cPanel update preferences.

Once these settings are saved, your server can upgrade automatically past cPanel 86. If you would like to upgrade immediately, this can be done within the WHM panel.

It can take up to an hour (sometimes slightly longer) for the upgrade to complete after running the manual upgrade. Once the upgrade has completed, you can check your new cPanel version in the upper right-hand corner of the WHM panel. You will need to refresh the WHM panel first.

If v88 or higher shows in the WHM panel, it means you have successfully upgraded your cPanel software!


  • What happens if I do not participate in the re-image and upgrade process? 
On March 31st, 2021, the cPanel developers stop providing updates to cPanel 86. This presents security problems as well as missing out on feature updates that come with newer versions. The server should continue to function normally for sometime after that date, however, it is not guaranteed nor recommended.
  • Does Bluehost offer a paid service that would migrate my account to a CentOS 7 server, or make the backup and perform the restore for me after a re-image?
bluehost does not offer a migration service to a CentOS 7 server at this time. The complications of migrating to a new server with a new cPanel username, domain, and IP address make it is far easier to proceed with the re-image and restore. We can assist with the restore of your primary cPanel account, however, we do not create, download, or guarantee the backup that you upload to the server once the re-image has been completed.
  • What features does cPanel 88 have that cPanel 86 lacks?
Webmail: cPanel 88 ships with RoundCube 1.4, which includes the new responsive Elastic theme.
Anti-Virus: ImunifyAV, a leading malware scanning solution, is available for free in cPanel 88.
MySQL: Support has been added for MySQL 8 in cPanel 88, with many performance enhancements.
Much More: You can get the latest cPanel release information in the here.​​

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