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I've searched about a bit and haven't found a good answer to this question, so I've decided to ask my first one on serverfault:

We are in the process of migrating our clients from a MediaTemple dv server to a rackspace Cloud Sites server, and I have a question regarding emails and DNS.

We plan to keep our old MediaTemple server running until our credit on the account runs out, and during that time I would like to have the old webmail accessible in case any clients did not heed my warning and backup their emails from the old server when we switch their Name Servers to the new rackspace ones.

If I set up a new A record that points oldmail.domain.com to the IP address of our old MediaTemple server, will clients be able to log in to their old webmail and access any important emails they may not have backed up?

I'm not 100% sure about simply pointing it to the IP address, which is what the MediaTemple server currently does, because it just seems like it would pull up the hosting for that IP and not necessarily the webmail interface.

Thanks for any information/assistance you can provide.

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1 Answer

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if you are transferring plesk accounts from an old plesk server to a new plesk server then it should move all the email data as well in that account, so you may hopefully avoid the issue altogether if you set the TTL's low enough in advance and transfer at the time of lowest use

if you setup an A record for oldmail - then yes people will be able to access old webmail provided the oldmail.domain.com webmail access point is setup correctly and provided, you may however want to shutoff webmail and leave it only available for pop download so that users dont try sending emails from old server and carrying on with the old server which could cause further issues

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We're not migrating Plesk accounts because rackspace has it's own control panel system for CloudSites that doesn't use Plesk. By "setup correctly and provided" do you mean that I set up something like oldmail.domain.com to point to 12.34.56.78 (where 12.34.56.78 is the IP that the MediaTemple server used for it's webmail.domain.com rercord?) or do I also need to adjust something on the old server to point to this properly? I apologize for the ignorance, DNS stuff is still very new to me. –  Eric Allen May 16 '11 at 19:09
    
i would recommend setting up oldmail.domain.com as an account in your old plesk server so that the relevant webmail catchers get setup on webmail.oldmail.domain.com and make sure that both oldmail.domain.com and webmail.oldmail.domain.com get setup in dns pointing to the IP 12.34.56.78 as A records and then yes it should work at either webmail.oldmail.domain.com or oldmail.domain.com/webmail –  anthonysomerset May 16 '11 at 20:16
    
@Eric: a webmail interface is not just about DNS. A DNS A record is just a mapping of the name "oldmail.domain.com" to the address 12.34.56.78. What you will additionally need is the web server to know that anyone requesting oldmail.domain.com is actually asking for your specific instance of the old webmail interface - something called a "vhost" in webserver configuration. Anthony's concerns about users messing everything up because they are trying to send mail would still apply - you would need to address this somehow. –  the-wabbit May 16 '11 at 21:31
    
Ideally I wouldn't give this url to the client unless there was some sort of desperate need for the emails because they didn't listen to me and back up what they needed. So it would come only upon request and with a set of instructions. My main concern is being able to access them in a pinch, but if it comes with a lot of complication we'll just have to emphasize how important it is that the emails be backed up if they may be needed. I'll look into vhosts, as I tested the A record w/ a client we had already moved over who had no important emails on the old server, and it didn't work out. –  Eric Allen May 16 '11 at 22:30
    
@syneticon-dj Well, from what I can gather this should work. We haven't gotten to the clients who we were going to set it up for, so I'll let you know if it does at that point. It all seems to point towards working though. –  Eric Allen Jun 3 '11 at 15:17
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