In this article we’ll go over how to move emails from a previous host to InMotion Hosting. If your previous hosting provider uses cPanel, this article will not apply as your emails will be moved over with your full cPanel backup. For more information on performing a website move from a host that also uses cPanel, please see our article: How to migrate your website FROM another host that uses cPanel TO InMotion Hosting.
How to Move Your Emails from One Server to Another
The steps involved will depend on whether or not you use POP3 or IMAP to check emails at your previous host. If you’re not sure which connection you use, you can check your email settings in your email client to determine which type of connection you use. Please see our Tools for using email video for more inforamtion on the difference between the two.
Before anything else, you will want to setup your email accounts on your new server at InMotion hosting. Please see our Creating an Email Account article for a walk through on creating email accounts.
If you use a POP3 connection when checking emails on your previous host, your emails are downloaded to your local computer. You will not have to follow any steps to move emails as they are already on your computer. You will want to take a look at the section below on how not to lose emails when you point your domain to our Nameservers.
If you use IMAP when checking emails, you will want to follow the steps outlined in our Using Thunderbird to transfer Emails between servers article for step-by-step instructions. As noted in that article, while we use Thunderbird as an example, what we are really explaining is the process which can be used in other email clients as well.
There are more steps involved when you use IMAP because emails are stored on the server and aren’t actually downloaded to your local computer; so the emails will actually need to be moved over from that server to your new server. If you have a lot of email addresses, this will be a tedious process you will need to go through for each email account.
How Not to Lose Emails During Propagation Time After a Nameserver Change
When you have completed your website migration, the last step is to update your domain’s Nameservers. After propagation, emails will be routed to the new server, but during the 4-24 hours it can take for DNS propagation some emails will go to the new servers and some email will go to your old server. Fortunately, we have two recommendations to keep you from missing emails during that time:
- Before you point your domain to our Nameservers, create a forwarder at your previous host that forwards emails to an email that’s not on the same domain you are moving to InMotion Hosting (e.g. gmail, yahoo, hotmail or another domain at which you receive emails).
- Check email at your old host using their webmail interface. You will want to make sure you use a temp url or similar url that specifies the server name in the url instead of example.com/webmail or webmail.example.com.
Modifying your MX Records
Some people use third party companies for their email and thus will not be pointing to our nameservers for email services. If this is your case, you will want to make sure that your MX records are properly pointing before pointing your domain name to our nameservers.