Moving email archives from one webhost to another
March 30, 2020 1:45 PM   Subscribe

How can I move email archives from one host to another?

A group I help run has been using Network Solutions for a long time for domain registration, webhosting and email hosting through that domain. We'd like to completely move away from Network Solutions for everything. We know how to handle this migration for everything but email. Everything at the new host will use the same domain as the old host.

Is it possible to move all of the email archives for the 6 or 7 email addresses we use to the new host? How would you do it?
posted by msbrauer to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you (or someone you know) is technically minded and comfortable with the command line, imapsync works well. (This assumes both your old and new mailboxes are accessible via IMAP.) It has lots of useful features including incremental and recursive copying.
posted by buxtonbluecat at 2:04 PM on March 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

I have done this in the past with BitTitan MigrationWiz, although mostly in situations that are slightly more complicated (more users, HIPAA concerns, calendar/contacts, etc). It is cost effective for small groups (should probably work out to be around $15-$20 per user) and it is pretty user-friendly and hands-off if you have someone who is slightly tech-y who can manage and oversee the task.

Generally speaking you will do a sort of "delta" pass that copies the lion's share of older mail (stuff that is in folders and isn't fiddled with by users too much) over a period of a week or so (depending on how huge the mailboxes are). Then you tell it to migrate the most recent stuff & cut over your domain information to the new host during a period when there is lower activity (like on a weekend night). There is very good, human-readable documentation included on the recommended workflow.

It is all non-destructive (copy only, no deletions on either side of the migration) which provides peace of mind.
posted by bcwinters at 2:25 PM on March 30, 2020

If you set up both accounts in Thunderbird, you can do this with drag and drop. Might take a while if you've got a lot of mail, so make sure your machine is set to to not screensaver or powersave itself to sleep in the middle of it, and be sure to copy, not move.
posted by mhoye at 2:33 PM on March 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

(Having said that, if you've been using NetSol for "a long time", then somebody on your team definitely knows how to run imapsync behind screen on an always-on host.)
posted by mhoye at 2:47 PM on March 30, 2020

Response by poster: I've settled on using imapsync's online interface and a dummy gmail account as the go between since the domains and email addresses are the same on both sides. So I go OldServer -> Gmail to backup all the emails and then I will go Gmail -> NewServer once I get the domain and hosting set up on the new server.
posted by msbrauer at 4:49 PM on March 31, 2020

Uh... is that just “type your email password into some random website”!?

I strongly recommend you not do that, that’s the keys to the kingdom you’re giving away. How do you know it’s not syncing all of both accounts to somewhere else?
posted by mhoye at 12:56 AM on April 1, 2020

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