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Transferring domains without losing emails

11:03 am on Jun 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I need something explained to me. Up until now i thought i knew how it worked, but it has been brought to my attention that i am wrong. Can anyone help please.
The story....

As far as i was aware, to have emails working through outlook express, both the POP3 (provided by the server host) and the SMTP (provided by your ISP) are needed.

This is how i have done emails before, and they have worked.

To my knowledge, the POP3 part is to do with where your website is hosted.

Because of this, i also beleived that if a domain name was to go down, then the email facility would no longer work.

Let me try and explain it a little better.

Say i had the domain name www.webboy.com, and my email was me@webboy.com. Also assume my ISP is BT.

My POP3 would be something like mail.webboy.com and my SMTP would be something like SMTP.bt.com.

This would allow me to send and receive emails at me@webboy.com through outlook.

To my knowledge, if i were then to transfer my domain to another server.....effectively the domain does not exist for a little while, and in turn the email would not work. i.e. if the domain does not exist, then the POP3- mail.webboy.com would not exist either.

does this make sense?

My problem is that i have a domain name i wish to transfer to another server. The company who own the domain name recieve and send a lot of emails per day and cannot afford there email not to work for a few days.

Is there anyway i can transfer there domain yet still keep there emails working?

please help


11:48 am on June 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I not sure if I completly understand your question but I will try to answer.

If you are talking about transferring a domain then I do this regually without any problems. This is how I do it.

Give the new host all the details of you email addresses and upload a copy of your site to their server (they can give you an ftp address that doesn't need you domain name). Ensure they have setup your DNS record.

Order the domain transfer (takes about a day to go through the internet)

On completion. Tell your old host to delete your accounts. Alter your local POP3 and SMTP local settings (in outlook).

This will ensure no emails are lost during the transfer because both ends are active until the transfer is complete.


5:03 am on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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In DNS there are a few types of records. Here are a few:

MX Record is the Mail Exchange record
A Record is a mapping between IP address and a domain name.

Your website uses an A Record.
Your email uses a MX Record.

So therefore you can have your email and webpage on two different servers.

4:35 pm on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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One note (i found out about this the hard way), do not delete the entries from the OLD until you have waited a couple of weeks. It can take quite a while for the new DNS entries to trickle everywhere across the internet. It is entirely dependent upon settings in each DNS server (there are many thousands of them). For example, my ISP takes about 5 days for their DNS server to get changes (that's one of the reasons I use my own).

RIchard Lowe


6:39 pm on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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The MX records will take about 24-72 hours before it is fully propagated. This means that some Name Servers will be holding the old records, whereas some Name Server will have the new records. This means that some mails will be going to the old mail server, some mails will be going to the new one.

You might need to check mails from both mail servers during this period. You can also ask your old ISP to set up a gateway to forward your mails from their mail server to the new mail server.

8:00 pm on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Ask the person incharge of your DNS to put tht TTL (Time To Live) down to 10 minutes. This will force people that are caching the old address to request the new location. They should only be able to hold the cached answer for 10 minutes.


4:04 pm on July 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

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There is a very simply way to guarantee no lost emails during a changing of hosting and one that I have practiced many times when transferring in new hosting clients.

Here is the chronology:

1/ You set up a new email account not on the domain being transfered, i.e. hotmail.

2/ You get the old host to put a catchall divert from your domain to your new hotmail account.

3/ You ask your new host to do the same.

4/ You then change the DNS on your domain and wait for propagation.

At no time during propagation will there be any ambiguity to which "version" of mail.yourdomain.com are you "seeing" or any possibility of some emails being stranded on the old mailserver after propagation has completed because before, during and after propagation the emails are never actually staying on either mailserver, they are going straight to your hotmail account.

It is always a good idea to leave the old hosting in place (complete with mail redirect) for a good week because of the dreaded "ISP cache". Although a DNS change almost completely propagates within 48 hours, some ISP's customers can see the "old" version of a site/mailserver up to a week later.

In the UK, British Telecom's ADSL service BTOpenWorld is famous for this. I had a recent client who moved to me and I had made a few changes to his site for him after propagation. He rung me up to say that he couldn't see the changes (on his BT connection) 8 days after the DNS change! He was still seeing the site hosted by his old ISP. It resolved a couple of days later but that was some propagation time!