I transferred a domain (www.mydomain.com) from one hosting provider (OLD-CO) to a new host (NEW-CO). How can I download email that is still sitting at OLD-CO, to my desktop?

Some email accounts have 10,000 or more emails, so using the Web email client is not an option. I still have an account at OLD-CO, and I have access to the DNS records at OLD-CO.

AFAIK my desktop email client requires that I specify the POP address (pop.mydomain.com). This points to NEW-CO, not OLD-CO. Are there any desktop email clients that can use an IP address instead of a domain name?

I could change the MX record at OLD-CO. How would I configure the desktop client to access it?

I prefer using an email client that stores email as plain text, like Eudora. I have written code to extract email addresses and other information from the desktop copy of the emails.


Chances are you can access the OLD-CO's mail-servers directly. It won't be 'pop.mydomain.com', but 'pop.most-other-domains-at-old-co.com' will probably point to the same actual servers serving mail. Your login should be the same and is probably username@yourdomain.com. That should still work even if your domain is being hosted elsewhere.

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  • You, sir, are a genius! I did in fact have a second domain. I was able to do: getmail -s pop.abc.com -u me@xyz.com Fantastic. Thank you profusely. – sprezzatura Feb 3 '11 at 0:02
  • Glad to hear! Sometimes it isn't obvious that COs do that kind of thing. – sysadmin1138 Feb 3 '11 at 0:04

For a situation like this, if the hosting companies do not provide a tool for this, I'd suggest something like "getmail" (to retrieve from POP/IMAP). It will drop the mail into mbox format local files, which are plaintext, or maildir format, which is also plaintext but one file per message. I used this to clean out mailboxes on a server, and then I could zip up the mbox files periodically for archiving.

You'll find getmail's source as the first match on google for "getmail" and there's also a Wikipedia page for it early in the results.

There are probably similar apps to post your mail to another mailserver, but it sounds like you don't need that.

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  • Thank you, great suggestion. Getmail for Windows made downloading a breeze. – sprezzatura Feb 3 '11 at 0:08

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