Moving Domain, Hosting, and Email from two companies to two others?
April 9, 2009 7:37 AM   Subscribe

Please help me move my domain and hosting from two companies to two new companies without losing email service (and learn about DNS in the process)... details inside...


So I have a domain name registered through one company, with a website hosted by another company. For simplicity's sake, let's call them:

REGISTRAR: MyAwesomeRegistrar
HOSTING: HeyCoolHosting

My "" email addresses are hosted through "HeyCoolHosting." They have a webmail interface (, but I access them using IMAP (in Thunderbird and/or Gmail).

My site itself is a fairly simple HTML/CSS page that I maintain by FTP. I have a .htaccess set up if that complicates things. (I also have WordPress and Coppermine installed but I don't use them and have no need to retain their data).


My costs are not enormous but I'm paying for a lot of bandwidth and storage I don't need.

I have been thinking about moving my site and domain name to (that's the real name, not an alias), which makes more sense for the amount of bandwidth I use.

NFS doesn't really do email hosting and I don't want to lose/interrupt service my 3-4 adresses. I thought I would try pointing my email addresses to "Google Apps For Your Domain" so I can use these addresses with a Gmail interface. (But I can no longer find information about GAfyD-- does it exist anymore?)

I am fairly computer savvy but I don't know much about the behind-the-scenes workings of web/email traffic -- I can easily upload my data/html/css to a new FTP, but I know very little about DNS and how to get my domain name and email addresses to point to the right places. I'm also not sure what order to do things in (set up the new accounts first, then transfer? Cancel the old accounts first, then set up the new ones? Some other combination?)

Can someone walk me through, step-by-step, the process I should go through in order to make this transition without losing data, service, my mind, etc? A little "tutorial" information would be helpful so I know what I'm doing, but don't go out of your way (and no need to oversimplify, it's mainly just the DNS stuff that eludes me).

Thank you
posted by Alabaster to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure about the hosting stuff, but I have a Google Apps account and I just switched domain registrars last month so I'm familiar with that process. Here's what I would do if I were you:

1. Backup all of the mail you want to keep from your current webmail account.
2. Sign up for a Google Apps account.
3. Go through all of the setup for Google Apps and get it working with your current domain registrar. I won't go through the whole process here because Google will walk you through it. You'll end up setting the MX records for your domain to turn on mail, which will end up disabling your old webmail account.
4. Test Google Apps to make sure it works and you are sure it will fit your needs. Also, you can forward all of the mail you backed up to your new Google Apps email address at this point.
5. Sign up at your new registrar and ask them to transfer your domain there. During the process there might be some downtime.
6. As soon as your new domain registrar gets control of your domain, go into their settings and set the MX records the same way you did before with the old registrar. It might take a while for the settings to take effect.
7. Test Google Apps again to make sure everything is working again.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:06 AM on April 9, 2009

IIRC, google apps gives you a temporary MX record when you sign up, so that you can send/receive email from a temporary account before turning off your old MX records. This allows you to import your mail from your existing IMAP server, etc. before throwing the switch.

In terms of steps, i would:
1. get signed up for google apps,
2. import any mail you want,
3. then point your MX records (at your current host) to gmail.
4. Next, move your site (files and database) over to nearlyfreespeech (they probably give you a temporary sub-domain for previewing your site).
5. And set your MX records at nearlyfreespeech, so that when it does go live, your email will still be pointing to google.
6. The last step is to point your nameservers to your new host (nearlyfreespeech)

On preview, do these steps match up with burnmp3s'?
posted by misterbrandt at 8:27 AM on April 9, 2009

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