Recently I started migrating an old server, which had skip-networking within my.cnf, which is not a dynamic option and requires you to restart the mysql server.

I typically rsync the source code and static data to a new machine. Configure the webserver with the relevant vhosts and change the database connection details to point to the old server. After the site has been tested on the new server and dns has fully resolved move the database server across.

However, with skip-networking enabled you would have to restart MySQL and is not feasible during working hours. After a little searching I came across socat, which allows you to bind a socket to tcp.

socat -v tcp-l:6666,reuseaddr,fork unix:/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock

socat is very flexible and the man pages for socat are pretty extensive .