How to Transfer Your Email Between Servers Using IMAP

Updated on Aug 14, 2020

When switching to a different hosting provider, it’s most likely that you would need to transfer your emails as well. If you are moving between cPanel-based hosting providers, such as FastComet, you should be able to take advantage of the full cPanel backup and migrate all of your settings.

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 transfer method takes an email from one IMAP account and then copies it to another IMAP account within the same email client. Using IMAP avoids formatting and permissions problems that may result from moving the raw mail files.

Why do I Need an Email Account Transfer?

There can be several reasons why you may want to switch email service providers:

Usually, email clients don't support similar file formats for saving mailbox data, so you will need to use IMAP to migrate mail from server to server. FastComet servers support IMAP. The other server/host you are pulling emails from, or taking emails to, also needs to support it.

If your previous host is not cPanel based, or in case the backup feature is not available, you will not be able to transfer your emails automatically. You will have to follow some steps in order to successfully transfer your email account(s) from a non-cPanel web host to FastComet.

The email accounts can be on the same server or on two different servers, and it makes no difference whether either or both of the accounts are hosted on your own server or through a web service such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc.

You may want to keep the content of your email accounts hosted with your previous hosting provider and to transfer your messages.

How to Copy Emails From one Server to Another Using IMAP


  • The source email account should be on the old hosting server (or another server). The destination email account should be on the new hosting server. The source will be your old hosted server or the email account where emails were forwarded. The destination will be your new hosting server location.
  • Both of your servers/hosting accounts must support the IMAP email protocol. All FastComet hosting packages can connect using IMAP.
  • You would need the password for the email account you are trying to migrate.
  • If you use only Webmail or a mobile device to access the email account to which you want to sync emails, or if you currently use POP3 for the account, you will need to set it up in a desktop email client using IMAP in order to sync the messages.
  • If you currently have the email account to which you want to sync emails from the previous account set up in your local mail client using POP3, you will need to set it up in a different email client to proceed. Most modern email clients will not allow you to change the account type and would require you to remove the POP3 account in order to set it up again as IMAP. You must not delete an existing POP3 account, because the emails are only stored locally — if you do, all those emails will be lost and will not be recoverable because they do not exist on the server.

Follow the steps below, and the process of manually transferring email accounts should be a success:

Add the Email IMAP Account Containing the Messages you Want to Sync to Another Account in Your Mail Client

  • Download and install an IMAP-capable email client such as Thunderbird (available for computers running Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X) or Outlook. For your convenience, we have a comprehensive set of guides to help you set up a new email account in any of the following mail clients: Thunderbird, Apple Mail, iPhone Mail, iPad Mail, and Outlook. (Linking-a го сложи тук) 
  • In the local mail client, add the email account containing the messages you wish to transfer.
  • Configure your email account(s) ([email protected]) to work with the settings of the previous hosting provider.
  • Use their IMAP and SMTP settings.

Add the Email IMAP Account to Which you Want to Move Emails in Your Mail Client

  • Login to your FastComet cPanel to create the same email account under your new hosting account. Use the same spelling and capitalization. Grant 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 preferred. If you need help, follow our tutorial on How to Manage Email Accounts in cPanel.
  • In the same mail client add and configure the same email account – ([email protected]) – but with FastComet IMAP settings this time.

Configure Your cPanel Email Account

When configuring your cPanel email account(s), use the following details:

  • SMTP server - your cPanel account hostname:
  • IMAP server - your cPanel account hostname;
  • Username - your email account full name ([email protected]);
  • Password - the password for your email account you set during the creation process in your cPanel;
  • SMTP port - 25;
  • IMAP port - 143;
  • TLS/SSL support - Disabled;

Move the Emails Between Accounts

Now you should have both your real email account and the new one configured on your email client. The easiest way to proceed with the migration is to select all of your messages from your current email account(s) and simply drag and drop them under your newly created email account(s). 

Thanks to the IMAP protocol, this method will serve in copying all messages. Repeat the same steps for each folder you wish to copy over (Sent, Drafts, or any custom folders that exist on the source account.) Using this method your email client will actually copy all messages from your current host to your FastComet cPanel email account.

That's it, the transfer is successful! Please note, that if you have a lot of emails, it could take some time to finish syncing up all the account’s emails from the server. Note that emails with large attachments may also require more time to complete the transfer.

Email Transfer Complete? The Next Step

Once they're done, your old emails will be in your mailbox on the new server/hosting account.

When you successfully complete the email transfer, allow some time to ensure the process has worked smoothly, and then you can safely remove the first [email protected] and continue using your mail accounts with FastComet.

To host your domain's email with FastComet, you will also have to update the domain's MX records. More information on the MX setup can be found here. 

How to Prevent the Loss of Emails During the Move of an Account to a New Server

If you want to prevent the loss of emails when moving your email account from an old hosting server (or another server) to another, it is a good idea to create a forwarder on the old hosting server so that emails are sent to a third-party email account. This lets you keep a copy of emails going to your old email account during the transfer period. The forwarder should send the email to a service that is active and able to take your email content and attachment sizes.

We hope you find this article useful. Discover more about FastCloud - the top-rated Hosting Solutions for personal and small business websites in four consecutive years by the HostAdvice Community!

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