Switching to a new remote server. How to do it without interrupting emails?

Posted on 2006-05-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-03-18

I have a corporate server at www.mycorp.com    (  www.myserver/~mycorp )  IP Address: xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

Switching over to www.mycorp.com   (www.newserver/~mycorp) IP Address: yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy

Before I change the nameservers for www.mycorp.com to point to the new IP address, I want to set it up so that there is no interruption to the live site and no email is lost or interrupted.

As far as the live site, can I set up the mycorp.com homepage at the old  server to redirect to www.newserver/~mycorp, then change the nameservers to point to the new IP address? Does that avoid the propagation time lag?

As for emails, how do I set up un-interrupted service. Both the old and new accounts will have the same domain name. Isn't there a way to use the IP address when setting up an account in Outlook Express, so I could have each user checking email at both accounts until the propagation time has run out?

Any help appreciated because I have to get this done in the next 24 hours and there are 11 cranky salespeople addicted to email that cannot survive any interruption.

Question by:alcibiades
LVL 24

Accepted Solution

slyong earned 600 total points
ID: 16787822
For the site, it is fine by first doing redirection and then change the DNS record.  For email, you will have not lost mail.  As long as your new mail server is up, you can switch the MX record to point to your new server.  While the propagation occurs, it takes a while for the world to know your new mail server.  At the mean time, some mail might still be delivered to the old server.

There are two ways to handle this:

1) Leave the old server running and setup your Outlook (Express) with IP to get the mail from the old server.  So what you do is that you check both new server and old server for mail.

2) Turn of the old server immediately.  There is a very slight posibility of losing mail because normal mail sending protocol will retry with a certain period of time (24 - 36 hrs), by the time the sender mail server retry, the MX records should have been propagated properly.
LVL 19

Assisted Solution

alextoft earned 400 total points
ID: 16788090
As long as possible before you make the change, adjust the dns TTL in your zone to something very low, like 5 minutes. This means that when you change the MX records etc that the rest of the world will comply with the change almost immediately. A low TTL means there won't be stale results hanging round on DNS servers around the world attempting to send mail to an old mail server.


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