Migrate from Jira Server to Jira Cloud

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description Step by step instructions for how to move your data from Jira Server to Jira Cloud.

This guide shows you how to use Jira's native site backup and restore functionality to move from Jira Server to Jira Cloud. The process described in this article can be used to migrate Jira Software, Jira Core, and Jira Service Desk from server or Data Center to cloud.

Migrating only specific projects to cloud or merging with an existing cloud site aren't currently supported. However, we're working on new tools to support this. If either of these scenarios apply to your migration, we recommend watching the feature request to stay updated or signing up for the Early Access Program (EAP) for the new Jira Cloud Migration Assistant.

If the EAP isn't an option for you, there are a couple of workarounds you may want to consider, outlined here.

Before you start

Before migrating, there are a few prerequisites and best practices to be aware of. We recommend taking the time to consider each of the items below before continuing with your migration.

Have you reviewed our migration planning resources?

Learn more about our planning resources

Start by reviewing our Jira migration planning guide and FAQs. These provide detailed step-by-step guidance from start to finish and will help you plan your migration approach. You can also find information about cloud and server comparisons, case studies, Atlassian Access and more in our Cloud Migration Center.

Do you need to upgrade Jira Server before migrating?

Learn more about supported versions

Depending on your current server version, you may need to upgrade before migrating. If your current server version is:

  • Version 7.13.1 or higher: You don't need to upgrade before migrating.
  • Between 7.6.0 and 7.13.0: You may want to upgrade before migrating. For server versions prior to 7.13.1 all timestamps (including created date on issues and history dates) will be interpreted as UTC. If these dates are important, we recommend upgrading to version 7.13.1 or above unless your server system is already in UTC. View the bug report to learn more.
  • Between 7.0.0 and 7.6.0: We advise upgrading to 7.13.1 or higher before migrating. Migrating versions between 7.0.0 and 7.6.0 may work, but these versions are no longer guaranteed to work without requiring an upgrade.
  • Below 7.0.0: You need to upgrade to 7.13.1 or higher before migrating.

Have you signed up for a cloud site?

Learn more about signing up for your cloud site

If you don't already have a cloud site, sign up for a free trial before you begin. Cloud trials start at 7 days, and can be extended to 37 days upon request if more time is needed for testing.

Do you have existing data or users in your cloud site?

Learn about considerations for moving to an existing cloud site

Using Jira site backup and restore to migrate will overwrite all site data (except for users and groups), including projects, issues, and Jira configuration. 

You can choose to also overwrite all users, or to merge users from the import file with existing cloud users.

  • Choosing to overwrite users will delete all existing users in your cloud site, including users with access to Confluence only.

  • Choosing to merge users might escalate the permissions of server users when they are imported, so be sure to check what groups they will be merged into on the cloud site. 

This article is intended to help your migration to a new Jira Cloud site. If you need to merge with an existing Jira Cloud site that has data, you'll need to first merge your cloud and server sites in Jira Server before migrating to Jira Cloud to prevent your cloud data from being overwritten during the migration.

Do you have the permissions you need?

Learn more about required permissions

To complete the migration, you'll need the right permissions and access on both the server and the cloud side:

  1. In Jira Server: Check that you're a user in a group with the Jira System Administrators permission.
  2. In Jira Cloud: Check that you have permissions to administer your cloud site. Users in the site-admins group have this permission. If you've just created your new cloud site, you're the site administrator and will have the permissions you need.

If you don't have the required permissions, work with your Jira administrator to grant them before you begin your migration.

Have you checked your server security setup?

Learn more about security checks

Often, security in Jira Server is partially provided by running Jira inside of your corporate network. Before migrating to cloud, we recommend reviewing and updating your security settings as needed. 

  1. If you don't want to allow anonymous users to access data in Jira Cloud without logging in, review the permission schemes used in your Jira Server projects before you migrate. You may want to check:
    1. That none of the projects allow anonymous access.
    2. That you haven't added the Anyone group to the Browse Project permission.
  2. Check your Browse Users Global Permission to ensure this is set up the way you want it in cloud.
  3. Make sure that you aren't leaking data through public dashboards, filters, or agile boards before exporting your data. This query will require that people at least authenticate before seeing these assets: 

    update sharepermissions set sharetype = 'loggedin' where sharetype ='global';

How much storage are you using?

Learn more about storage limits in cloud

Atlassian's cloud products have different storage limits. Before migrating, take a few minutes to check how much disk space you're currently using and review our cloud storage policy.

How to migrate

If you've answered the questions above and completed your pre-migration checks, you're ready to go.

Here's an overview of the basic steps you'll take to migrate from Jira Server to Jira Cloud:

  1. (Optional) Export users and groups to CSV
  2. Back up your Jira Server database
  3. Back up your Jira Server attachments, project avatars, and logos
  4. Import your server database backup into Jira Cloud
  5. Import your Jira Server attachments, project avatars, and logos into Jira Cloud
  6. Review and grant access to groups imported from server
  7. Re-add yourself to groups imported from server
  8. Complete post-migration checks

(Optional) Step 1: Export users and groups to CSV

If you're using the internal Jira user directory to manage your users, they'll be included in your Jira Server database backup and you can move straight to step 2.

If you're using an external user directory, like LDAP, AD, or Crowd, you have three options to migrate your users to cloud:

  1. You can move users to the internal Jira directory before migrating. We recommend this option if you've connected Jira to an LDAP directory for delegated authentication.

  2. If you have a small number of users and groups, you can manually create them in cloud after importing your server database backup.

  3. If you have a large number of users (50 or more), Atlassian's support team can help you migrate your users and groups.

Show me how

First, run the following SQL queries from your Jira Server database to create CSV files of your users and groups:


SELECT email_address AS mail,user_name AS username, display_name FROM cwd_user;


SELECT DISTINCT parent_name AS group, child_name AS username FROM cwd_membership;

Then, provide Atlassian's Support team with the two CSV files created in the previous step to have the users and groups imported into Jira Cloud. 

Step 2: Back up your Jira Server database

This step will back up your Jira Server database in a portable XML format. If you have multiple Jira applications on the same site, for example Jira Software, Jira Core and Jira Service Desk, this backup will contain all project types (Software, Business and Service Desk) by default. 

  1. Log in as a user with the Jira System Administrators permission.
  2. Choose  > System.
  3. Select Import & Export > Backup System to open the Jira backup page. 
  4. In the File name field, type a name for your backup file.
  5. Click the Backup button and wait while your Jira data is backed up. Jira will save your backup as a zipped XML archive file within the export subdirectory of the Jira application home directory (jira-home for short). Check that Jira has the necessary file system permissions to write to this location.
  6. When the backup is complete, you'll see a confirmation message. You can now retrieve the file from your server.

Step 3: Back up your Jira Server attachments, project avatars, and logos

If you want to migrate attachments, project avatars, or logos, you'll need to back them up as well. These are stored in your Jira application’s data directory, which is a sub-directory of the Jira application home directory

To complete this step, you'll need to create a ZIP archive of the /data/attachments, /data/avatars/, and /logos/ directories. Make sure it uses the following structure:

└─── data
		├── attachments
		│ 		├── ProjectKey1
		│ 				│ └── 10000
		│					│ ├── IssueKey-1
		│ 					│ ├── IssueKey-2
		│ 					│ └── IssueKey-3
		│ 		├── ProjectKey2
		│		└── ProjectKey3
		└── avatars
└── logos
Show me how

There’s no one specific way to back up the data directory, but Backing up data outlines a few methods to consider.

An example command that can be run from a *nix server:

cd <Jira Home Dir> 
zip -r data.zip logos/ data/avatars/ data/attachments/

Once the ZIP file is created, you’ll need to transfer the file from your server to the local workstation you’re using. Some common methods of doing this include using SFTP, rsync, wget, and curl.

Step 4: Import your server database backup into Jira Cloud

  1. Log in to your new Jira Cloud site with site-admin permissions.

  2. Click Jira Settings > System.

  3. In the Import and Export section, click Restore system.

  4. Select Import data and select the ZIP file you downloaded in Step 2: Back up your Jira Server database. 
  5. We'll check your file for errors, and ask you to choose settings for how you want your data imported.
    1. First, select your outgoing mail setting. Whichever option you choose, you can manually change after you migrate in the outgoing mail settings.
      1. You can choose to Enable outgoing mail, which allows Jira to send automated emails for interactions – for example, new comments on issues or issue transitions.

      2. If you choose to Disable outgoing mail, Jira won't send automated emails for interactions.

    2. Next, select whether you want to overwrite or merge users from your server site with the users on your cloud site.

      1. Choosing to overwrite will completely replace all users from Confluence and Jira with the users in your backup file.

      2. Choosing to merge users will also merge groups. This means that if we find a group on your server instance with the same name as a group on your cloud site (in either Jira or Confluence), we will merge the users from the server group into the cloud group. The server group users will receive the permissions of the cloud group. Make sure you check for possible permission escalation before choosing this option.

  6. Click Run import. This will take you to a page where you can track your import progress. It may take a while for your import to finish, depending on the size of your backup.
  7. When the import is complete, you'll be taken to a confirmation screen.
  8. From here, if you still need to import your media (attachments, logos, and project avatars) choose Import media. You'll need to return to the Import and Export page before managing application access. If you've already completed this step, or aren't planning to import your media, you can skip to step 6 by clicking the link to Grant application access.

Troubleshooting this step

Formatting your backup file

Before you import, unzip the backup file and make sure it has a file structure similar to:

├── activeobjects.xml
├── entities.xml

If you see this error:

Import error

There was an error importing file JIRA-backup-20161021.zip: Validation failed. The following issues were reported:

The import archive doesn't contain entities.xml file.

Then you may have zipped a folder containing the .xml files, instead of zipping the XML files directly.

If there are invalid characters in your XML

You may have to clean up invalid characters in your backup before importing into Jira Cloud. Take a moment to look over the documentation and integrate it into your migration plan.

If your import is stalled

During the import process, you may see it stall on the following percentages/steps: 

  1. 50% - Upgrading database
  2. 90% - Importing users and groups

This is going to be normal and you just need to wait for them to complete.

If there are errors with usernames or emails

You may find you need to audit usernames or email addresses to check for errors before you can complete the import to cloud. The primary things to review are:

  1. All emails must end in a top-level domain. For example: john_doe@company isn't valid because it's missing the .com, and would block the import.

  2. All emails must use a valid domain. For example: john_doe@example.com is not allowed because example.com is not recognized as a valid domain. 

  3. All users must have unique email addresses. You can identify users with duplicate addresses using: 

    select email_address, count(*) from cwd_user group by email_address having count(*) > 1
  4. Usernames starting with with addon_ will need to be renamed or deleted. This prefix is reserved for Atlassian Marketplace apps. If you haven't moved from Atlassian's cloud products in the past, you're not likely to hit this issue.

If there are links that need to be mapped in cloud

At this step, you may see a list of URLs for Atlassian server sites. To make sure links point to the new Jira Cloud site instead of the old server site after you migrate:

  1. Select the URL of the Jira server instance you're importing to cloud from the list.
  2. Then click Run import to continue with your migration.

Step 5: Import your Jira Server media into Jira Cloud

  1. (If not already) log in to your new Jira Cloud site with site-admin permissions.

  2. Click Jira Settings > System.

  3. In the Import and Export section, click Restore system.

  4. Choose Import media and then find and select the media ZIP you created and downloaded in Step 3: Back up your Jira Server attachments, project avatars, and logos.
  5. This will take you to a page where you can track your import progress. It may take a while for your import to finish, depending on the size of your file.
  6. When the import is complete, you'll be taken to a confirmation screen.
  7. From here, if you still need to import more media, repeat this step until all media files are imported. Note that you may want to test that all media was imported successfully in a new tab before importing the next batch of media.

Troubleshooting this step

If your large file import fails

Large attachment files may not import properly and can take a long time to complete.

If your file is larger than 10 GB, you may need to split up the backup into 2-5 GB chunks instead and then import each one separately. The file structure should be:

└─── data 
		├── attachments 
		│ 		├── ProjectKey1 
		│ 				│ └── 10000 
		│ 					│ ├── IssueKey-1 
		│ 					│ ├── IssueKey-2 
		│					│ └── IssueKey-3 
		│ 		├── ProjectKey2 
		│ 		└── ProjectKey3 
		└── avatars 
└── logos
└─── data 
		└── attachments 
				├── ProjectKey4 
				├── ProjectKey5 
				└── ProjectKey6 
└─── data 
		└── attachments 
				└── ProjectKey#

See How to import only part of a Jira export into Jira Cloud for more instructions.

If the attachment import stalls out

During the attachment import step, there are a few distinct phases, including uploading, processing, and the actual import. Large attachment files may be interrupted during the processing phase. You can identify this if the page reloads suddenly and there's no further progress or message shown.

If everything is okay, after the processing step you should see a message like:


This will import non-database content (such as attachments and avatars) into your Jira instance. You should only do this after a full database import because the full import will remove any existing data that you import using this page.

This operation could take anywhere from several minutes to several hours depending on the size and number of attachments.

Note that this operation cannot be undone.

This indicates the processing is completed. From here, click the Proceed button to finish importing your attachments.

If you notice that the import failed during the processing step, the solution is to divide the attachments into smaller ZIP files and import each file separately.

Step 6: Review and grant access to groups imported from server

Once you've imported everything into your cloud site, you'll need to review the groups imported from server and decide which to grant access to. 

As a security measure, the import process won't automatically apply the default application access settings or grant access to new users. You'll need to grant the application access to these users before they can log in.

  1. Log in to your new Jira Cloud site and click  Jira Settings > User management.
  2. In the Site settings section, choose Product access.
  3. Choose Review imported groups to review and confirm the default groups' access.

Note that during the import, the name of the default Jira Server group Jira-administrators changes to administrators in Jira Cloud.

Step 7: Re-add yourself to groups imported from server

As a security measure, the group settings for the person performing the migration are not imported. This means the user who executed the migration will need to be added back to their previous groups. You can do this two ways, either from the Groups section or the Users section at https://admin.atlassian.com.

From the Users section

  1. Go to https://admin.atlassian.com
  2. If you have multiple cloud sites, you'll need to select the cloud site you've just migrated to.
  3. In the User management section, first choose Users.
  4. Find your profile.
  5. Click the ... icon
  6. Choose Add user to group.
  7. Select the group(s) you need to be added to.
  8. Click Add to Groups.

From the Groups section

  1. Go to https://admin.atlassian.com.
  2. If you have multiple cloud sites, you'll need to select the cloud site you've just migrated to.
  3. In the User management section, first choose Groups.
  4. Then, select the group you need to be added to.
  5. Choose Add members, and add yourself to the group. 
  6. Repeat as needed for the rest of your groups.

Step 8: Compete post-migration checks

Depending on the type of migration, there may be some things you need to do once your migration is finished. For a full list of post-migration recommendations, refer to the Jira migration planning guide.

Troubleshooting this step

If your content is linked to "Admin" after importing to cloud

There's a known bug affecting admins on the cloud site. After importing your data to cloud, the content associated with your account in server may be associated to "Admin". If you run into this bug, just contact our support team for help resolving the issue.

Additional troubleshooting

If you've run into a problem during your migration, we're here to help. You can start by searching for known issues in our public issue tracker. There, you can find information about common issues we see with Jira migrations, including their status and suggested workarounds.

Some known issues include the following:

More information and support

We have a number of channels available to help you with your migration.

Last modified on Sep 6, 2019

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