I've currently got a live website which is set up with it's SSL cert being provided by cPanels AutoSSL feature. I'm going to be moving my website to a VPS that is provisioned by Laravel Forge and set up to use Let's Encrypt for SSL certs.

On the new server, I cannot activate the Let's Encrypt certs because my domain is not pointing at those new servers. However, if I point my domain first, then I run the risk of users hitting my website without a valid SSL cert and seeing a warning about the site being insecure.

Is there some way I can avoid this situation - perhaps by transferring my existing cert to the new server or somehow setting up my Let's Encrypt cert despite the fact that my domain is not pointing at the new server yet?

I would like a seamless transition where I point the domain at my new server and it already has a valid SSL cert so my users aren't seeing security warnings.

Thank you!

  • 1
    "I cannot activate the Let's Encrypt certs because my domain is not pointing at those new servers. " You have multiple ways to validate the certificate for its issuance. You can use the DNS validation method (dns-01 instead of http-01) to do things without having to touch anything related to your website. Feb 15, 2021 at 18:39

1 Answer 1


When I migrated some clients from a cpanel install to my "raw apache" based servers I simply copied the cpanel certs to my Apache server and installed them as part if the migration.

I then used Letsencrypt to generate new certs after DNS had been migrated.

As others have mentioned it is possible to use a DNS challenge as an alternative way of authenticating the domain and getting certs, although that is more complex to plug in to infrastructure.

I comment that https certs bind to domain names (Subject Name and Subject Alt name fields) and don't have knowledge of the underlying IP address.

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