Migrating emails can be a daunting and tedious task: Lots of things can go wrong, leaving you with a data chaos absolutely nobody aspires. Email migration tools support you when migrating email data from your current mailbox to another email account or email provider. But no two tools are alike and choosing a reliable service is not an easy task.
- What is an email migration tool?
- When do I need an email migration tool?
- How does an email migration tool work?
- Advantages of email migration tools
- Disadvantages when using an email migration software
- How can I check if an email migration tool is legit?
- What to look for when choosing an email migration tool
What is an email migration tool?
An email migration tool is a software that migrates email data between two mailboxes. The software usually takes the data contained in the existing mailbox and copies it to the new destination. An advanced email migration tool does not only copy the email data, but also replicates the complete folder structure, sent objects and drafts in the destination mailbox.
When using an email migration tool, it is not relevant if the source and destination mailboxes are on the same or different servers. For example, you might want to migrate your email data to a new server when switching service providers. Or simply create a copy of your data on the same server for backup reasons or when transferring emails to a new mailbox within the same domain.
When do I need an email migration tool?
There are various scenarios when utilising an email migration tool is helpful. Here are a few examples:
Changing services providers:
Using a new email service provider or switching to another hosting company is one of the most frequent cases an email migration tool is used. For example, you might want to migrate email data from free email services like GMail, Hotmail or Yahoo! to other free or paid email providers like Microsoft 365, Office 365 or Exchange.
Switching or upgrading the email server:
When switching or upgrading the existing mail server, it is sometimes necessary to migrate email accounts as well. This applies especially when you’re running out of mail storage and are not using a cloud email service where storage capacity can be increased indefinitely. But also when upgrading the mail system or switching to another type of mail system (e.g. switching to Exchange), an email migration might be necessary.
You might wish to backup your email data, for example to ensure legal compliance. Another scenario we encounter quite often is that user of our email migration tool wish to backup the current mailbox data to another account so that the data in the main mailbox can be deleted. This is particularly helpful when utilising a free email provider where storage limitations apply.
Changing the domain name:
When the name of your domain (e.g. example.com) is changed, you need to create new mailboxes with the new domain name and migrate your existing emails to the new mailboxes.
Tipp: After the migration, we recommend to activate the mailbox sync feature that is available for some email migration tools, as all data received in your old email address will be automatically forwarded to your new email account.
Change in the company structure:
An email migration is typically required after significant changes in the company structure: For example, data needs to be migrated following a company acquisition or merger. Or when an employee leaves the company or the personnel structure within the company is changed, multiple email accounts might need to be consolidated.
How does an email migration tool work?
The exact procedure of an email migration varies depending on the utilised tool and the reason why an email migration is performed. However, the core process is always the same:
Step 1: The email migration tool establishes a connection to your existing mailbox. In order to do so, you need to provide the access data for your email address. The access data usually consists of your username, the password for your account and the name of your mail server.
Tipp: Before providing your credentials, make sure that the tool is legit.
Step 2: Establish a connection to the destination mailbox. As in step 1, you need to provide the access data for the destination mailbox.
Step 3: Good email migration tools perform a mailbox check before the migration is started. This helps to ensure that enough storage capacity is available in the new email account and your email accounts are configured correctly in order to migrate your data.
Step 4: The migration is performed. Depending on the amount of data and the utilised email service provider, it might take some time until all data is moved to the new email address. There are several email providers that slow down the connection rate to their servers after a specific amount of data has been transferred. This applies mostly for free email providers like GMail. So don’t worry if your email migration takes a long time. Reliant email migration tools can perform migrations that last several hours or even days without a problem.
The order of these steps might vary depending on the email migration tool of your choice. However, the core concept is the same for all email migration services.
After the email migration:
After your data migration is completed, additional steps might be necessary depending on the reason you chose to migrate your email data in the first place: For example, you might need to change the DNS or MX records for your domain when switching to a new provider or server. In this case, it comes handy when the email migration software offers the possibility to sync accounts after the migration. An email sync ensures that data still received in your old account is automatically transferred to your new mailbox.
Advantages of email migration tools:
Utilising an email migration tool has many advantages. However, the most important argument is summed up in three words: No data chaos.
This argument might seem obvious, but let’s take a look at two typical scenario that end in data chaos when migrating emails without an email migration software:
Scenario one: DIY Email Migration
David DIY wants to switch from Hotmail to Gmail. As both services do not provide support for this task, David installs both email addresses in his email client of choice (let’s say Outlook or Apple Mail). Next, David selects all emails in his Hotmail account and moves them to the Gmail account within the email client.
At first, the email client copies the data slowly but reliably. David is content and goes off to have dinner. After his return, he discovers that something went terribly wrong: The connection to one of the email providers was closed or there was a failure in the internet connection. For whatever reason, the email client crashed and Davids email data is scattered between two accounts. Now David has to clean up the mess manually. All of this could have been prevented by using an email migration tool.
Scenario two: IT Support
Becky Business has used Gmail for all her business communication but now wants to switch to another email provider. All of Beckys IT related tasks are handled by Adam Administrator, so Becky calls Adam and commissions him with the task.
Adam starts his remote client (let’s say TeamViewer), connects with Beckys computer and starts the email migration in the email client. Adam is aware that an email migration is a sensitive tasks and instructs Becky not to touch the computer as long as the email migration is running. Becky agrees and goes off working on her business.
Unfortunately, when checking back several hours later, Adam discovers that Becky had „just a short glance“ at one of her emails she needed in order to reply to a customer during the migration. Through doing so, Becky accidentally stopped the email migration and the email data is now distributed between two email accounts. Adam spends several hours to clean up the mess. Hours, he can’t bill because Becky does not understand why Adam performed the email migration so unprofessionally.
Believe us, we’ve encountered both scenarios in the past, which is the main reason we developed our email migration tool MailJerry.
Five Main Advantages of an Email Migration Tool:
To sum it up, these are the five main advantages for using an email migration tool:
- No data loss or data chaos
- No service interruption during the transfer
- Emails that are received after the migration can be synced to the new account
- The complete folder structure is maintained
- No email data is lost or forgotten, especially when it comes to drafts and sent objects
Disadvantages of using an email migration software
So what are the disadvantages when using an email migration tool? Actually, the disadvantages depend on which tool you use. These are some disadvantages we observed when testing various types of software:
Email migration can be extremely expensive, so make sure to compare the prices of different tools or look for a tool that allows a free email migration. For example, you might want to download and use MailJerry, our free mail migration client!
We’ve encountered many tools that are incredibly difficult to use for non-professionals. That’s why we recommend to use an email migration software that is easy to use.
Annoying sales representatives:
To our astonishment, many email migration tools can’t simply be downloaded and tested for free, but require you to send an enquiry or contact sales first. After your enquiry, you are usually contacted by a sales representative trying to sell expensive packages or software licenses.
It’s our deep conviction that email migration should be easy, reliable and available for a reasonable price. So before contacting a sales representative and enduring a sales presentation or demo, we’d be happy if you download MailJerry, use it our service for free and simply get the job done :).
Tools that perform the task only partially:
There are many tools that only perform parts of the email migration. For example, an email migration tool might allow you to download your current data as a data package but does not support you with the installation of the package on the new email server.
This problem applies for many tools that are supplied by hosting and email service providers. They naturally have an interest in keeping customers and reducing customer support. That’s why many providers allow you to download your data in the admin panel (= reduce support enquiries) but don’t assist you with the data transfer itself, which makes it hard for non-professionals (and sometimes even professionals) to migrate the data to a new provider.
For an email migration to work, you have to provide your email credentials. And as always when giving your access data to third parties, make sure that the email migration provider is legit, does not utilise your data in any other way than for the migration itself and handles your data responsibly. So check if the email migration tool is legit before entering your credentials!
How can I check if an email migration tool is legit?
We’ve tested many email migration tools before developing our own email migration software, so we can happily reassure you that most email migration tools handle your data responsibly. Here’s our checklist on how you can identify if the email migration software of your choice is legit:
- Check if the email migration tool uses a secure connection like SSL during the transfer.
- Check if the service is GDPR compliant as this ensures a high level of security.
- Make sure that your emails are migrated in encrypted batches, so nobody can read your emails during the transfer.
- Ensure that the email migration tool does not store your emails and deletes your access data as soon as the transfer is completed.
- Have a look at the website of the email migration software: Does it look professional? Is an FAQ section provided? Can you contact the support and talk to a real human if you have any questions?
Besides safety reasons, there are several other factors you should consider when choosing an email migration tool.
What to look for when choosing an email migration tool:
Before developing our own email migration tool, we’ve used various types of email migration software. When choosing a tool, we’ve evaluated the following criteria:
Ease of use:
The email migration tool should be easy to use, so you don’t need a Ph.D. in computer science.
Ease of access:
You should be able to download and use the migration tool for free and without having to deal with a sales representative.
Availability for your service provider:
The email migration tool should work with your existing and new email provider so you don’t have to deal with multiple tools at once.
Reliability & safety:
The email migration tool should provide a high level of security (see „How can I check if an email migration tool is legit?“), ideally perform a health check of your mailboxes before the migration is started and provide you with easy to understand information and error messages in case you encounter a problem.
The price model should be fair, both for the customer and the software developer. That’s why the price to use our software depends on the amount of data you wish to transfer: Migrate small mailboxes for free with MailJerry or purchase a single or monthly license for unlimited transfers.
After the initial migration, you should be able to perform a resync so that data received in your old account can be moved to your account without having to start the migration all over again.
Availability of support:
In some cases, you might have questions concerning your transfer. That’s when a FAQ section that provides you with an answer quickly comes in handy. Nevertheless, you should also be able to contact the support in order for a „real human“ to answer your questions or resolve your issue.
When in the need to migrate email data from one provider or mailbox to another (e.g. when switching email service providers or domains, changing the company structure or for backup reasons), use an email migration tool. Email migration tools allow for a smooth email migration and prevent data chaos.
Check if the email migration tool of choice is available for a reasonable price and can be downloaded and tested for free, without having to deal with a sales representative or requesting a demo first.
Make sure that the software of your choice performs the whole task (retrieving the data from your current mailbox and moving it to your new mailbox).
Check if the software is secure and legit before entering your credentials!
Make sure that the email migration software of your choice provides all features necessary for your task.
Ensure that the software is easy to use, an FAQ section is provided and a possibility to contact support is given.
Make sure, that you can try (or even better: use) the software for free before purchasing a license.
And as you’r reading this, we assume that you’re currently looking for a reliable email migration tool. That’s why we’d be very happy if you considered our service, download MailJerry and use our email migration tool for free!