Transferring email services with no downtime

Much like transferring (migrating) a website, it is possible to transfer live email accounts from one provider to another without experiencing downtime. In this article, we'll explain how this is achieved for Netregistry Email hosting service customers. First of all, ensure that you have purchased a hosting plan suitable for your website and email needs. If you only use email on your domain name, a Business Email plan will do the job. This process will cover 4 steps - creation of email accounts on our end, configuration of those accounts on your computers, POP download of mail from current providers mail servers, and modification of the domain DNS to point to our servers and activate the Netregistry configuration.

Step 1 - Prepare the space for receipt of email on Netregistry servers

Create the email addresses. It is usually best to copy all of the email accounts as configured on the current provider, to ensure no possible loss of mail over time. We recommend:

  • POP email accounts for individuals associated with your domain, and
  • Alias email accounts for any variations of names, and those email accounts which might go to multiple users, e.g. [email protected] or [email protected]

It's also possible to create email Aliases for those email accounts which you want to deprecate, but notify senders of impending closure (using Auto responders). Review the Create Email Accounts article for full details on creating POP and Alias email accounts.

Step 2 - Configure your email software to download or view email

Once created, email accounts can be configured in your email software (such as Outlook) to download (POP) or view (IMAP) mail on the servers. At this stage, please create a new email account in your email software, and do not replace the existing details of your current provider. This will prevent loss of email during the migration while you are modifying DNS. Please review the article for your software program as per Email Application Configuration steps area. Alternatively, you may wish to only use Webmail for your email access with us. To access Webmail, simply go to Review Webmail Support for frequently asked questions.

Step 3 - Download (backup) all mail from the current provider

To backup your email messages, ensure that your email software has downloaded all messages via POP. To check how your email account is configured on your email software, please access the Account settings area of the program. Ensure the type of your old account in your email software is POP.

IMPORTANT: If your current account is set as IMAP, you will lose access to this mail once you modify the domain DNS and cancel the service at the old provider. Refer to your old email provider for details on how to download your email via POP. Most email providers will offer a similar support article as ours in Step 2 of this process. Do not proceed until you have verified that mail has been downloaded.

Step 4 - Modify the domain name DNS to point to our servers

Delegate the domain DNS to us as provided in the hosting setup notification. Review the article on Modifying DNS records for details on how to delegate your domain name to us, and for our Nameserver information. If you wish to retain the DNS Nameserver information as is, and only point the email at us, then merely replace the current MX record information at your DNS hosting provider to reflect our MX details:

  1. Primary (preference 10):
  2. Secondary (preference 20):

Please note, standard DNS propagation time applies.

Final comments

Once you are satisfied that services are operating correctly, please submit a cancellation of service request at the old provider to avoid being billed again for the email service. After the service is cancelled, you can delete or disable the old email account in your email software and keep the newly created Netregistry account. For details on migrating a website to our servers without downtime, please refer to the Transferring a website to our servers without downtime article.