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Migrating Your Website to A New Host? Don’t Forget About Email

Migrating Websites and Email

Migrating Your Website to A New Host? Don’t Forget About Email

Moving a website to a new hosting company is a bit unnerving for everyone but a seasoned developer. And if you’re migrating your domain-based email along with it, you’ll want to take extra special care that everything goes smoothly.

The Prep

First, you’ll want to make sure that you have a spreadsheet list of all employee’s email usernames (the part that comes before @). If they want to keep their current email passwords, it’s more secure to store that info in a local or cloud password manager.

Next, for safekeeping, you’ll also want to create a cloud-based backup of all the emails currently in everyone’s mailboxes.

The Process

Once you have the site’s back-end structure set up at the new host, but BEFORE you point the domain to that host, go ahead and set up everyone’s email accounts, from the list you had previously compiled.

For security’s sake, it’s not a bad idea to create new email passwords for everyone, and of course save them in the spreadsheet. But if necessary, and if you’ve collected them, you can use employees’ previous email passwords.

If you know what to look for, it’s also smart to make sure that the MX (mail exchange) records at the new hosting company are in order. They’re a kind of internet road map that directs the flow of email. They’re also part of the DNS records that should automatically be established at the new host when the back-end is set up.

Once you go to the domain register and point the domain to the new host’s nameservers, the new email should start flowing in.

At that point, you can download all the saved previous emails from your cloud backup back into the system.

Next Steps

Since it may take time for the site and email to propagate throughout the internet, employees can temporarily use a webmail service to check and send email. The delay is typically about 6 hours, but it can be much less, or it can take up to a day.

Then provide all employees with new Incoming and Outgoing Mail Server information, for them to enter in the email client settings on all their devices. If you’ve created new passwords, people will need to receive and enter those as well.

Once that’s done, and if the Gods of the Internet are feeling kind that day, everyone’s email should be back to normal.

Hosted Exchanges

If your company is on a hosted exchange, such as Microsoft Office 365 or Rackspace, things are a bit simpler.

You don’t have to back up anything. You just need to change the MX records to point to the hosted exchange environment.

If you’re not currently on a hosted exchange, consider the benefits of moving to one. Not only do they actively sync email across all your devices, but calendars and contacts as well. You’ll have the ability to do things like automatic forwarding, and investigation of suspicious emails.

Your company’s email will become more ‘independent,’ not as tied to your website, and that’s a good thing. Plus you don’t have to be a Microsoft Office subscriber to use 365 for your email.

Simple, right?

Maybe not for everyone. If you’d feel more comfortable having an experienced professional handle the migration of your website and email to a new hosting company, consider calling the experts at Harmony Group IT.

They can recommend the best host for your needs, and also handle any unforeseen alerts or technical glitches that may come up during the migration. It’s no fun having dozens of frantic employees calling you at the same time, wondering why their email is no longer working.

The Harmony team can also explain more about the benefits and capabilities of Microsoft Office 365 if you’re not already using it, and get you set up to start enjoying those new perks.

Get in touch, and let’s talk about it. You’ll quickly know you’re in good hands.

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