A few times a year, we’ll get contacted by a new client who needs help migrating existing email accounts from their current provider due to numerous reasons. This could be anything from the provider going out of business, or the client discontinuing their existing contract, etc. Luckily, when you are working with Thrive, we go far beyond the basic “web design company” and are able to assist clients with a wide range of services, including email migration and setup.
Below we outline the process, teach you about email migration, different email setups and some recommended providers.
What is Email Migration?
In simple terms, when a client has email accounts already, often times in the life cycle of the business, they will need to move their email accounts to a different provider for numerous reasons. These could include that current provider going out of business, the client needing more email storage, maybe an easier to use interface, etc.
Email migration refers to the action of moving all existing emails in all of your existing accounts over to another provider. We’ve done MANY email migrations over the past 10 years, so we know how the process goes from beginning to end, and we also know that every email provider has a slightly different setup process.
Getting Started – Determining if your current emails are setup as POP or IMAP accounts
There are 2 methods of email setup that exist, and knowing which method your current email is setup as will be very important in deciding how (and even if it’s necessary) to perform an email migration. The 2 types of email methods include: IMAP and POP.
IMAP – Under this setup, IMAP simple means that when the email was initially setup, it was setup to “live” on the server. In other words, if you were to access your email from your phone, computer, tablet or any other device, and you wanted to delete a message, it would delete from the server itself, which means that all devices would be updated to show the same inbox. IMAP is the most widely preferred method of email setup because it is the easiest to manage over multiple devices. The only downfall of IMAP compared to POP, is that once you delete the email from the server, it’s hard to recover, sometimes impossible.
POP – POP accounts aren’t as widely used as IMAP accounts, however in some scenarios are more secure/redundant. A POP account means that although the email account is created and lives on the server, the actual emails aren’t stored directly on the server, but instead on the computer of where that email is setup.
The downfall of using a POP account is that if your emails are being saved to your computer’s hard drive, so if your drive fails, you could potentially lose your emails.
Can you run both IMAP and POP at once?
Technically no, however many of the top email providers, such as MS Outlook, offer a setting that allows you to run POP, but also keep a copy of the email on the server, which is definitely worth using.
Which type of email is the easiest for migration?
If you are looking for email migration help and your existing email accounts are setup using POP, this process is a breeze. In fact, this method doesn’t normally even require a migration, but instead just re-setting up the new email accounts with the new email host, then configuring all of the appropriate settings with the domain, client’s email readers, etc.
Email migration is usually used to help migrate emails from server to server, I.E.. IMAP accounts.
There are numerous email providers and services on the market to help the migration process and create an easy, automated system. A few of our favorites include:
Rackspace offers a great email hosted platform for clients, as well as some of the best support and email security available on the market. Based in Austin, Texas, Rackspace has a team dedicated to customer support. You can actually call and chat with them, without long wait times, etc.
Rackspace uses an internal migration tool that we’ve used many times that allows the user to define existing emails, passwords and settings, as well as where to migrate those emails to all within a few clicks. Once the migration is complete, it’s a matter of making the appropriate changes to the domain, and you’re up and running.
G Suite, or Gmail for Business also has an easy to use migration tool. This follows similar steps as Rackspace, with a few clicks to get the migration process in motion. The downfall with Google, is that getting a hold of customer support seems to be a bit trickier.
All in all, if you are a business owner needing to migrate existing emails from one platform to another, there are some nice tools to help the process along, and with Thrive, we can make the entire email migration process a breeze!