Plan how to move your email without interrupting work

how to move your email

Managers’ email Moving email is a fear, causing businesses to use outdated email. mail programs. Why is that you may ask? Errors in the migration process can cut a company off email. mail and paralyze her work for a couple of days. How to deal with it? Carry out the migration precisely according to an action plan that guarantees smooth migration without downtime. Emails such as ‘free domain and hosting for 1 year’ can sound controversial or considered spam and you may perhaps think that you need to avoid such emails. But in reality, sometimes you need to dig deeper.


You have found a much better email. mail service to your business. More convenient e-mail email application on the phone, more functional teamwork calendar, video chats between colleagues, 100% server availability, etc. In a word, a bright tomorrow awaits after the move. After moving…

Business leaders have the idea to move e-mail. mail is more fearful than moving to another office. Every time I sell Google Apps to a larger company, the # 1 fear is migration. In the minds of the director and IT manager, images emerge of Moses ’people fleeing Egypt: hundreds of walking workers are carrying their emails somewhere. emails, every second one loses something, customers can no longer contact, and so on. In a word, work is replaced by chaos, which is experienced only by the strongest.

Specialists who have faced migration are determined to paralyze the company’s operations. Therefore, they coordinate in advance whether we can make the transfer at night from Saturday to Sunday. Yes, we can. But it is much more convenient to migrate during work. After reading to the end, you will do it virtuosically yourself.

I’ll show you how to change your email. mail server during downtime without losing a second and without losing any e-mail. letter. Each employee drinking morning coffee will only need 5 minutes to change the email. mail server address on your computer. And TADAM – hundreds of employees e-mail. mailboxes are already working in a modern e-mail. mail platform.

El. mail transfer stages

To make things so simple and fast, you just need to do everything in the right order. I offer my own plan, which I perfected with medium-sized and large companies.

  • Prepare the DNS zone for your domain by email. mail migration mode.
  • Configure a new email. mail server.
  • Reconfigure the DNS zone for your domain.
  • Delete old emails mailbox.

1. DNS settings e-mail mail migration mode

This is a minute-long change. But if you do it too late or incorrectly, the previous nightmare will come true and you will dream that it would indeed be Saturday night now.

DNS settings are a complex area, and there is no Migration Mode check box there. Still, it is very easy to achieve. All you have to do is shorten the validity of DNS records to 1 – 5 minutes.

If you don’t have a green idea of ​​what DNS is, start with What is a DNS Server and How to Choose It? In short, it is the server that hosts the domain settings. It is usually provided by the company that registered your domain. In the third step, we will need to change the email on that DNS server. The mail server that accepts e-mail. letters, address.

El. The most important feature of the DNS server for mail migration is now the ability to change the TTL values ​​of individual DNS records. TTL (Time-to-Live) indicates how long your DNS settings are valid. The default TTL value is 6 to 24 hours. This means that those servers that just sent you an email will remember your email for the next 24 hours. The mail server address and will not ask for it again when sending other mail.

If you change the e-mail mail server address from A to B without first changing the TTL, you will see complete chaos for the next 24 hours. Some servers will continue to send mail to server A because they will remember it. Others who have not sent you anything before will see the address of the new server and send emails to server B. This will require your employees to use 2 boxes on both servers, but neither will work normally.

To keep this chaos going for 5 minutes instead of 24 hours, change the TTL value for all MX records for your domain to 5 minutes. I don’t recommend shorter ones because a very short TTL causes its own problems.

Remember that we will not only accept mail to the new server but also send it from it. Therefore, also shorten the validity period of all TXT and SPF records. Even better, you can add a new email to your SPF record. mail server address. I will write more about SPF records in the future, ask your service provider for help in the meantime.

But do not change the TTL values ​​of any other types of DNS records. an email will not happen, but all other systems and your company website will slow down. How DNS settings affect website speed will also be described in the future.

For everything I have described to connect correctly, a DNS server is required, which allows full control over the TTL settings for each record. All professional DNS servers allow this, but legacy DNS servers on hosting servers often do not have this feature. If your current DNS server does not allow you to control TTL, start by changing the DNS server, and only then change the e-mail. mail servers.

With this step, virtually nothing will change. The letters continue will travel to the old server. However, you will be ready for a smooth migration. Now you just have to wait as long as the old TTL setting was. It is usually no more than 24 hours.

2. New e-mail mail server configuration

For small businesses, it takes tens of minutes to connect new boxes. For large ones – sometimes for weeks. The goal of everyone is the same – to connect all users, to configure the programs running on the server correctly, and so on.

After this step, nothing changes, the emails continue to go to the old email. mail server. But right now, while the new server isn’t in use, it’s the best time to give new credentials to all employees.

Each user must log in to the email. in the mailbox browser, check the settings, configure the e-mail. mailbox on your phone and Outlook, and so on. If employee Outlook settings are managed by the IT department, now create a second email for everyone. mailbox in outlook.

At this point, consumers will have the most questions. As long as this is still an unused pilot platform, the IT department has enough time to explain everything to everyone and teach them how to work smoothly. For those who won’t resolve their issues before the old email. shutting down the mail server, switching on the day will sweat the palms, and sleeping at night will be clouded by issues spinning in my head.

With modern cloud computing email. email platforms allow users to go one step further. They can set up to download mail to this new inbox from the old one using the POP3 protocol. All modern e-mails have this feature. email platforms as well as Gmail.

The individual employees will then move to the new e-mail on their own. a mail server that will already receive and send (if you modified the SPF entry in the first step) all mail. Those who don’t go will continue to use the old email. mail server. If everyone manages to move to the new inboxes before you do it at the domain level, the migration will basically be done now.

At this step, nothing has changed at the domain level – emails are moving to the old email. mail server. But some employees are already using new tools and are practically already migrating. When you get confirmations from the last employees that they are going to join the new inboxes, it’s time to complete the big email. switching mail servers. True, he is no longer that big.

3. El. change email DNS settings

Now create the new MX records that your new server administrator specified, and then delete the old ones. If you do this in reverse order, you will lose the emails sent to you at that moment.

Leave the TTL setting for 5 minutes. If you find that you have made a mistake, you can correct it within 5 minutes.

In the next 5 minutes, all mail will stop going to the old server and start going to the new server. Those employees who have connected forwarding mail from old inboxes to new ones via POP3 will not notice anything. Others will see that the letters no longer come to the old box but to the new box.

The migration is almost complete. All you have to do is change the DNS settings for sending mail from the new server. Create a new DKIM record and delete the old server address from the SPF record. If you do this incorrectly, the messages you send will go to your spam folder in your inbox. Therefore, consult your service provider on how to create the correct SPF and DKIM records.

If you did everything right, you have already fully migrated to the new email. mail server. If you do something wrong, you will stop receiving emails, the messages you send in your inbox will go to spam, and so on. Therefore, it is better to double-check that you have really done everything right.

4. Old email delete mailboxes

Repairs complete, time to clean. We first reset the TTL values ​​to the standard ones. I recommend setting 24 hours for MX records and 6 hours for TXT.

Old email left mail server. It is no longer used, but is it really no longer needed? It still contains emails from those users who in the second step did not connect the old inboxes to the new ones via POP3.

After 24 hours from the transition to the new email mail server, you can move old emails from those users. emails in new inboxes. I do not recommend doing this earlier, as they may still have new emails and the data transfer will need to be repeated. Depending on the amount of data, sometimes it can even take several days.

Also, don’t forget the calendars, contacts, files in the datastore on the old server, and so on. Even ancient webmail programs have such features and there are always at least a few employees who have used them. You may also have forgotten that you sync your contacts through the server on your phone and check your mail in IMAP format, and all of this will disappear from your applications after you shut down the old server.

Clearly tell employees the date the old server was shut down and remind them what they may have forgotten to pick up. If the service provider deletes the old service, everything you do not move to the new server will be lost.

Now it’s time to delete the old boxes on the employee side. Those who were while connected to email. downloading mail from the old inbox to the new one, you must turn it off, otherwise, you will see error messages. Outlook needs to turn off checking for old POP3 inboxes and archive them. If those boxes were IMAP, you can simply delete them.

Mission completed. Everything is running on the new server, and there is no sign left on the old server.


I recommend e-mail. to change the change of mail servers not in a hurry at night, but to lay out the whole process within 3 working days. You will avoid technical problems and all employees will have enough time to move to a new platform without stress. For the IT department, those 3 days are more waiting than work, so there will be no disruption to daily work and no need for overtime.

In summary, I propose the following action plan:

  • We shorten the TTL values ​​of DNS zone MX, TXT, and SPF records to 5 min.
  • We are adding a new email. the mail server address in the SPF record.
  • We are connecting the new email. mail server, we configure its applications (calendar, data storage, etc.).
  • We connect all users and give employees login details.
  • We configure the Outlook and phones of all employees and solve their technical issues.
  • We encourage employees to configure email. downloading mail from old box to new box.
  • We are adjusting the MX, TXT (DKIM), and SPF records for the DNS zone.
  • 24 hours we monitor that we have not made mistakes and that everything is working properly.
  • We extend the TTL values ​​of DNS records to 6 – 24 hours.
  • We are transferring the remaining data from the old server to the new one.
  • Deleting old emails mailboxes on employees ’computers.
  • Disabling old email mail server.
  • Taken in isolation, all of these steps are technically easy and can be performed by a specialist in charge of your IT farm. All you need to do is understand the DNS settings I have described here and in my other articles.

The most difficult part is the self-assessment of your situation. It is then important not only to anticipate potential problems but also to make the most of the new platform. For example, several employees use e-mail. mailboxes like info @ can be connected in several different ways, the convenience of which varies greatly. Therefore, before migration, I advise you to consult a specialist who knows the new platform. It will help you get more benefits from the same service.

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