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Email Switcheroo
April 29, 2009 3:57 PM   Subscribe

What do I need to be aware of when switching a client from ISp-provided email to Google-provided email?

I am in the process of re-doing a website for a client. They also want to change hosts, so I'm building the site on the new host, and when the time comes I'll just switch the domain over.

Rather than get email through the new host, we decided to go with Google Apps Standard Edition (http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/group/index.html).

I'm thinking it will go like this:
1) I'll ask everyone who has an account to make sure they have downloaded all messages onto their hard drives.
2) I'll set up the account on Google and give it access to the domain. I'll re-create all the user accounts, and tell them how to set up their clients to access their new email.

My questions are:
1) Will there be any "outage" or possibility of missed messages, during the time I will be making the switch? The old ISP account will still be active, but I assume once I give Google access to the domain, no mail will arrive to clients set up to download messages from the ISP? Is there any way to forward or anything?

2) Are any of my assumptions bad, or are there any other pitfalls I should watch out for in this process?

thanks!
posted by drjimmy11 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
 
1) "Will there be any "outage"" -- There may be a period of time where some emails are delivered to the old host instead of to Google. Generally, this should be 48 hours or less. You could set up everyone's GApps account to log into the old mail server and download mail, or you could just do a pass-through of the old mailboxes yourself once a day for 3-4 days (extra time just to be safe).

2) People who aren't already familiar with GMail may need an introduction to using labels instead of folders. It's also a good idea to go over how the contacts work.
posted by CrayDrygu at 4:44 PM on April 29, 2009


With google apps you can have google mail download mail from other isps as long as those isps allow pop or imap access.

also you can import their contacts from say out look if you needed too.
posted by majortom1981 at 4:44 PM on April 29, 2009


One thing to be aware of is a lot of ISPs filter SMTP traffic (both inbound and outbound), to cut down on spam. In my case, I have a gmail account, and if I follow their instructions to set up my email client, I can't send email because Cox filters the traffic (it never reaches Google's server). This sort of thing may affect your clients, also.

My only choice is to continue using my ISP's SMTP server for outbound email, while using Google's POP3 server for inbound. Fortunately, the SMTP protocol is so lax that I can send email through Cox's server but have my "From:" header still reflect my gmail account's address.
posted by knave at 4:44 PM on April 29, 2009


In theory there shouldn't be any missed messages as SMTP protocols say you should keep trying to redeliver mail if it can't be delivered, but a problem is more likely to arrive in the time it takes for the MX records to migrate across the DNS system. You can mitigate this ahead of time by setting short TTL records , however some larger ISP's ignore TTL records that are set to less than a certain time (eg. 12 hours) so there will always be some delay. This doesn't mean mail will go missing, just that some mail will continue to be delivered to the old server while mail has started coming into the new server. I've always dealt with this by setting up the new accounts alongside the old ones and getting people to check both for the first 48 hours or so. However Google has a number of tools to help with migration so you might be able to find a more elegant solution.
posted by tallus at 4:47 PM on April 29, 2009


thanks everyone! I think I understand now.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:53 PM on April 29, 2009


Does Cox really block both the ports that Gmail can use for secure SMTP - 465 and 587? I've only ever seen that kind of idiocy from workplace firewalls.
posted by flabdablet at 5:01 AM on April 30, 2009


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