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Migrating emails from one hosting server to another.

Posted on 2010-08-12
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Last Modified: 2013-11-30
Here's my situation.

I have a client who has their email hosted privately.

They have had problems with their website & want to leave their hosting company.
The project has fallen onto my shoulders.

I need to move their website & mysql db to another hosting company & point their dns respectfully.... Not a problem.

What should I do about their email ??
They have about 40 accounts now & rely heavily on email for communication.

What's the best method for migrating this to another company?
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Question by:Imaginx
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The_Systech earned 250 total points
ID: 33421969
The key is all going to be with the DNS timing...

It's been my experience that if you can control the TTL on the DNS records, and get it set down to 60 seconds or so, so that your changes propagate as soon as you make them it helps.

I'm assuming these are all pop3 acccounts.  In which case you setup the email accounts on the new service, go ahead and go ahead and change the DNS records.  Then you go into each of their email clients and configure two POP3 accounts,  One using the hostname and credentials of your "new" email host, and  the other is actually their "old" email host account that is currently setup, but instead of using hostnames for the pop3 server change it to the IP address of their old POP3 host.  

Leave that in place for a day or so, then contact the old mail host and have them remove the email domain from their servers.  Once they do that, your users will start getting errors trying to check the old account via IP address, and you can then remove that account from their client.  That way you don't lose any of their email at any time.
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Assisted Solution

by:Barry Gill
Barry Gill earned 250 total points
ID: 33422504
make sure to change the TTL's at least 24 hours in advance.
Just a warning on the 60 sec TTL, I would not drop it that low, I would drop it to a MINIMUM of 10 minutes because there are many dns caches out there that will ignore a 60 second TTL (one of the biggest problems for companies like DynDNS...) as they think it adds too much network and server load onto their cache servers.

10 minutes is universally accepted.

Depends also where your users are and who they communicate with as to whether or not this will make a difference as countries with lower bandwidth and higher costs tend to do this more...

I agree with The_Systech thoguh, he is right, this can be as painless as you want (provided the POP3 assumption is correct)
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Expert Comment

by:The_Systech
ID: 33445790
Good point on the 60 second TTL.... I have never run into that myself, but then I usually keep it around 600 seconds anyway..
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Author Comment

by:Imaginx
ID: 33445919
Systech, The client has held off with the project for a few weeks. Although, I spoke with their in-house IT guy ... They're all pop3 ...

And looking at what you wrote, I'm sure that will work - so I'm going to through the points your way ...
However, I originally thought that they were IMAP (which I should have noted in my statement above) - which was where my concern came from..

Is there even a process for that, other than going into each mailbox & getting the mail manually ??

Thanks,
-Steve
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:Imaginx
ID: 33445927
Misread it, I will split the points between the two of you. -Steve
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