Moving Emails to Your Dedicated Server

Steps to Transfer Email using IMAP

A common task when setting your new dedicated server for hosting is the transfer of email accounts from your old host. Transferring emails will vary based on if your old account was also using cPanel. If your old host did use cPanel, then you can simply use the same steps for transferring a website from a cPanel host . The transfer includes your emails, so you would not need to migrate them separately into your new server. The instructions provided in this tutorial explain the steps in transferring email from a non-cPanel host.

First steps in the mail transfer process

Your first step in the process is to create the email accounts on your new server that currently exist on your old server.

  1. Go to your old host and get a list of all of the email accounts that you want to transfer.
  2. Create the email account in the corresponding cPanel account on your server

If you want to keep your email running during the transfer, then you will want do two things:

  • Keep your old host running until you have completed your mail transfer
  • Create a mail forwarder on your old host so that any emails go to an active online email account that you own. For example, you may have a Gmail account where all mail is forwarded until the transfer is complete.

Transferring your email from a non-cPanel host

Moving your emails to a dedicated server account is no different than moving them to a regular shared hosting plan. You will need to know what protocol that you are using – IMAP or POP3. You can see the protocol you’re using by looking at your email settings.


If you used the POP3 protocol for checking email on your old host, then the emails were being downloaded to your local machine. You do not have to actually perform any steps to move emails since they are on your computer. Be sure to check the section below on not losing emails that after pointing your name servers.


If you check your mail using the IMAP protocol, you can use our tutorial on using the Thunderbird email client to transfer email from one server to another. The instructions in this article are made for the Thunderbird email client, but you can also use other email clients like Outlook or Apple Mail.

  1. Create an email account in your email client connecting to your old server. This is the “source” account where the emails will be copied from.
  2. Create an email account in your email client connecting to your new server. This is the “destination” account where the emails will be copied to.
  3. Copy emails from the email connected to your old email client
  4. Paste the emails to the email account connected to your new email client

Repeat these steps for each account that you want to copy over.

Third Party Email Hosting

Some people use a third party service for hosting. If this is the case, then you do not need to move any emails, but you will need to ensure that InMotion’s MX records are set to point to the third party service and that email for that account is set to remote.

Keeping your emails from being lost during a Nameserver Change

After you have completed transferring your mail to your new server, then one of your lasts steps in the transfer process is to change the name servers to point to us. Create an email forwarder to a service like Google mail, Outlook, or Yahoo mail in order to keep a copy of all emails going to your domain. If you have not already forwarded your email to a third party, then you can do so now in order to prevent any emails from not being accessible after the name server change has completed.

Arnel Custodio Content Writer I

As a writer for InMotion Hosting, Arnel has always aimed to share helpful information and provide knowledge that will help solve problems and aid in achieving goals. He's also been active with WordPress local community groups and events since 2004.

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