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My webhosting company says that my server is running an old version of Redhat and that I should upgrade the entire OS. I really don't want to go through that, because that means I have to reconfigure and reupload all the websites that are on this server.
All I want to do is to upgrade MySQL to version 4.0 or higher so I can install Wordpress. Is this a big deal? Will it crap out my server? Is upgrading MySQL easy? I guess I am running MySQL 3.something or other.
Any feedback would be much appreciated!
But, given that you don't even have MySQL 4.0, I'd guess that you have a REALLY old OS! There may be other good reasons to upgrade. If you do, you might want to consider Centos. It's identical to Red Hat Enterprise but is free.
As far as upgrading MySQL - the safe way to do it is DON'T.
That is - don't upgrade - do a parallel install.
The place to put it is in /opt. And it's standard to install stuff in /opt in versioned directories.
On my home development machine, I run Fedora 8. Even so, there are sometimes things that I want that are newer or different from the OS distribution. For example, I run a 64-bit OS, but 64-bit Eclipse is practically unworkable. So, I installed 32-bit Eclipse in /opt. (Though I have to admit that I installed Eclipse 3.3 in /opt/eclipse. My Java run-times are in jre1.6.0_05-32 and jre1.6.0_05-64, though.
And I'm about to install PostgreSQL 8.3 in /opt, as Fedora distributed 8.2.something currently, and there are lots of goodies I want in 8.3.
I'm guessing you will need to dump your databases and re-load them for this big of a version change. (I think you might as well go to 5.0.x). All the more reason to do a parallel install.
You might want to configure them to run on different ports, and run them side-by-side, as well. This would ease any conversion process and the transition period. If you have software that has problems with the newer version, you can just continue to run it with the old one.
so needless to say I am not on top of all the possible upgrades.
Redhat has a good policy about supporting older versions of their OS, so if no updates are coming out for it, there is a need to upgrade the OS; you then have something really old on your server. Besides the webserver there may be several other servers running (SSH, FTP) that have vulnerabilities that were discovered after Redhat stopped updating.
Installing a new version of MySQL from the packages offered at mysql.org is not really difficult. The only problem you will run in in my experience is the different password encryption algorithm MySQL started using in version 4.1. After you have uploaded the old 3.xx database, You will have to regenerate all passwords for mysql users, otherwise your applications can't connect to the server.
I should upgrade the entire OS. I really don't want to go through that, because that means I have to reconfigure and reupload all the websites that are on this server.
I do not know Red Hat, but a good many Linux distros allow you to do an OS upgrade non-destructively. I suggest searching the RH website and asking on a Red Hat specific forum.
If you do have to do a re-format and re-install, it is a good example of why your data should be on a separate partition to the OS. Your log files should ideally have a partition to themselves as well.