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Migrate email between servers using IMAP

This article presents an easy method of transferring email from one server to another, using matching IMAP email accounts in your favorite local email software. This is important because when you migrate to a new server, your old emails will not be available unless you migrate them.

You will transfer emails from a single mail account on one server to another. Using IMAP avoids formatting and permissions problems that may result from moving the raw mail files.


  • Both of your servers must support IMAP email. 
  • The password for the email account you are trying to migrate.
  • An IMAP-capable local email client. Most email clients like Outlook, Apple Mail, and Thunderbird support IMAP mail accounts.
    • If you don't have a favorite email client, download Thunderbird for free.


  1. Create the same email account on your new server that you had on your old server. Use the same spelling and capitalization.
  2. Give the new email account the same password that you used on your old server. You can change the password after the migration process is done, if desired.
  3. In your local email client, create two new email accounts.
    1. They will both be for the same email address.
    2. They will both use the same password.
    3. They must both use IMAP.
    4. The incoming server (or IMAP server) will be different for each account.
  4. With both accounts online, open up the inbox for the account that connects to your old server. Drag and drop messages from this inbox to the inbox on your new server.
Choose files or drag and drop files
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  1. Senior Engineer Jessie

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