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Currently the old web hosting (plesk) hosts the domain, website and email service for my employer. To use the email service, some of the employees use outlook (use POP to download email), some of them simply setup redirect (to their personal mail box), nobody use the horde webmail web interface.

There is a new website which is built on a new web hosting (directadmin). To switch to this new web hosting, if I re-create all the email accounts in directadmin, then ask the old webhosting to change the NS record pointing to the nameserver of the new web hosting.

During the DNS propagation, for those who use outlook, there may still be some incoming emails sent to their inbox on the POP server of the old web hosting.

After the propagation is completed, can they still click the send/receive button in the outlook as usual to download these emails from the POP server of old web hosting, before they change to the email server setting of the new web hosting in the outlook?

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2 Answers 2

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There's no reason the users can't continue to POP to the old provider until you're sure that all new email is flowing to the new provider. The users should be able to login to their old mailboxes for as long as you need them to as long as you don't cancel the accounts\service. Changing the MX record should have no bearing on their mailboxes at the old provider. Once you are sure that all email is flowing to the new provider, reconfigure their email clients to connect to the new server and then you can look into cancelling the old accounts. Hopefully the TTL on the MX is short (3600 seconds is pretty standard) and you can make the POP client transition from the old to the new in short order.

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"Changing the MX record should have no bearing on their mailboxes at the old provider." This is exactly the information I need. Thank you very much for your help. –  bobo Dec 1 '09 at 22:54
    
Glad to help. :) –  joeqwerty Dec 2 '09 at 0:08

During the transition (just after you change your MX record over to the new location) mail may go to either location. There is no way to have outlook look in two places for email.

One possibility would be to give the old host a domain name like "pop-old" or something and set up a second email account on the outlook laden users's machines. They should be able to drag and drop mail from the old one into the new one through the client, until the old one stops getting new mail.

Check the DNS TTL on the MX/A records associated with this transition, and that should be a good idea on how long mail will take.

When I change MX hosts for my domains, I simply cheat: I turn off the old server entirely, and let remote SMTP hosts retry once the name changes. Never lost mail that way, that I know of. I have 1-hour TTLs.

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Nice idea about switching off the old SMTP service, the robustness of the email should let you do this fine. –  Coops Dec 1 '09 at 21:22
    
Your cheat should be a very useful one. –  bobo Dec 1 '09 at 22:55

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