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Hello,
in a few weeks I will have to move a website to webfaction from an old host. This will include a domain transfer. How can I make sure that no emails will be lost during the necessary DNS propagation time?

This is my idea, based on what I've read on various sites so far:

  1. create a new temporary domain domain.mjsarfatti.webfactional.com
  2. create a mailbox for each one of their current email addresses
  3. create both a johndoe@domain.mjsarfatti.webfactional.com and johndoe@domain.com address, for each of their accounts, that point to the mailbox above
  4. have the old host set up a mail forward to johndoe@domain.mjsarfatti.webfactional.com
  5. at one point during propagation they won't be able to download emails any more in their mail client. at this point instruct them to disable (not delete) the old account and create a new one with webFaction's settings.
  6. (they can now drag&drop their old email to the new account if they want to keep it)
  7. 7/10 days after the transfer started, delete johndoe@domain.mjsarfatti.webfactional.com addresses (the new servers should have propagated all over the world at this time)

In alternative, I've found this other solution:

  1. create a mailbox and mail address on webFaction for each of their current accounts
  2. instruct them to change their current pop/imap mail server as set in the mail client settings (eg. mail.domain.com) to the corresponding IP address (how can I find this out?)
  3. instruct them to create a second account in their client using webFaction's mail server IP
  4. (drag&drop their old email to the new account if they want to keep it)
  5. 7/10 days after the transfer started instruct them that thay can delete the old account and set the new one to use mail.webfaction.com

Now that I think about it, since the mail server will not be mail.domain.com, but mail.webfaction.com, maybe this second option can be simplified even more:

  1. create a mailbox and mail address on webFaction for each of their current accounts
  2. instruct them to create a second account using mail.webfaction.com
  3. (drag&drop their old email to the new account if they want to keep it)
  4. 7/10 days after the transfer started instruct them that thay can delete the old account

Any thoughts? Things I might have missed? Which method is the preferable one?
(of course all of these methods take for granted that they use a mail client, and not the webmail)

This might even become a guide for transferring stuff to WebFaction.

This question is marked "community wiki".

asked 13 Jul '12, 06:59

mjsarfatti
5325
accept rate: 0%


By far the simplest way is the last option proposed.

  1. create a mailbox and mail address on webFaction for each of their current accounts
  2. instruct them to create a second account using mail.webfaction.com
  3. (drag&drop their old email to the new account if they want to keep it)
  4. 7/10 days after the transfer started instruct them that thay can delete the old account

The mx records for a domain will be changed and sent to the new server. There is a potential DNS Propagation time for the new MX Records to be totally implemented. As long as you have a record there will be no emails lost. It is a matter of what email server receives the email.

By following the four steps above you would ensure that both active mail servers are checked for new email until all propagation time has passed.

permanent link

answered 13 Jul '12, 08:28

aaront ♦♦
7664
accept rate: 27%

edited 13 Jul '12, 08:32

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question asked: 13 Jul '12, 06:59

question was seen: 6,779 times

last updated: 13 Jul '12, 08:32

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