How to transfer emails over IMAP between servers?

Switching hosting providers can be a bit of a hassle, especially if you’re doing it on your own. You not only need to transfer all the files and databases from the old server to the new one; you also have to ensure everything works. It’s not just the website, either.

Recreating every single email inbox and moving the old communication to the new server is often instrumental to ensuring a smooth transition between hosts.

Luckily, many modern email clients give you the option of moving emails between accounts, meaning transferring your messages to your new inbox shouldn’t be a problem. Here’s how you can do it.

Moving emails between servers with the help of IMAP

You first need to choose an email client. Bear in mind that not all clients are suitable for this particular task. For example, Windows 10’s built-in Mail app does support multiple accounts, but it won’t allow moving messages between them. However, many other popular clients like Microsoft Outlook and Thunderbird have this functionality built into them. Once you’ve picked your email client, you can follow the steps below.

  1. Set up your old email account in your client application

You’ll transfer the messages using your local email client, so it will need to access your old server. The previous hosting provider should tell you how to configure your email client to work with your old email account.

  1. Recreate your email inbox at your new provider

You need to create an inbox to transfer the messages to. If you want to continue using your old address, you can use it to create a new account. Depending on their plan, ScalaHosting customers create new inboxes via either cPanel or SPanel’s User Interface.

  1. Set up your new account in your client application

The two accounts need to be connected to the same email client if the transfer is to work. You also have to make sure your new account is connected via IMAP. If it’s not, the messages won’t be transferred to the new server.

ScalaHosting customers can find their account’s IMAP settings in the Welcome Email they receive upon signing up. It’s also available in the My Details > Email History section of their Client Area.

  1. Copy the messages from the old inbox to the new one

The exact mechanism differs from client to client. Some apps have a drag-and-drop functionality, while others let you copy-paste emails. Whatever the case, all you need to do to move the emails to your new account is to make sure they’re in its inbox. Thanks to IMAP, they will appear on the new server as well.

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Working in the web hosting industry for over 13 years, Rado has inevitably got some insight into the industry. A digital marketer by education, Rado is always putting himself in the client's shoes, trying to see what's best for THEM first. A man of the fine detail, you can often find him spending 10+ minutes wondering over a missing comma or slightly skewed design.