Switching Over to our Hosted Email

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If you have email hosted elsewhere and you are switching over to our hosted email there are a number of steps in the process. Depending on what you are switching over from you might be able to skip some of these steps. Let's assume for now that you have an existing email system and you want to switch over to our system.

Contents

Your current email system

If you are not hosted with us or using our spam filtering system the easiest way to start is to have us do front end filtering for your domain first, let the MX records propagate, and then switch over to our hosted system. First - your email reaches your current server as follows:

+-----------+         +-------------------+
| Internet  |---->----| Your email server |
+-----------+         +-------------------+

The Internet knows to sent email for your domain because your domain has MX records (Mail eXchange) set. MX records are DNS records (Domain Name Services) that is like a directory for the Internet. These MX records tell the world to send email from your domain to your server.

If you change your MX records you can direct your email to a different location. However the switchover doesn't happen immediately because servers that recently emailed you "remember" your old MX records for often up to a day. During this time some of your email might go to the old location and some to the new location and this can make the transition difficult. But we have a solution.

Using our Front End Spam Filter

What we recommend is that you use our front end filtering first. That way your email comes to us first, we clean it, and send it on to you. The important point of this is that it gives us direct control of your email stream and we can switch it over instantly. When your email is routed through us the flow is as follows:


+-----------+         +-----------------+         +-------------------+
| Internet  |---->----| Our Spam Filter |---->----| Your email server |
+-----------+         +-----------------+         +-------------------+

Preparing to use our email server

While the MX records are updating and your email is migrating to our spam filter our server need to be able to receive your email. To do that we need to create user accounts and aliases. User accounts are real email boxes where your user's email is received and stored until they get online and read it. Aliases are fake names for real email accounts so that when the fake name is used email is sent to the real email account.

Real email accounts need user names and passwords. Our system can create multiple accounts at once if the data is in this format.

joe joes-password
mary marys-password
jane janes-password

If the password is missing the account will be created with a default password. The default password needs to be changed before it can be used. The [Management Interface] can be used to set passwords.

Aliases don't require passwords because they are not real email accounts. Aliases can be local accounts or other domains. An alias file looks like this:

info: mary
sales: mary, jane
merry: mary
dan: dan@yahoo.com
janitor: joe
all: mary, jane, dan, joe

These real accounts and aliases need to be created in order to receive email on our servers. If this isn't done then email that is not defined will be rejected as an unknown user.

Switching Over

Once the MX records have propagated and email is flowing through our servers, and your users and aliases are ready, it is time to make the switch. This is something that we control. One you tell us to switch over we stop forwarding email to your old server and forward you email to our server. Then you would reconfigure your email clients to read email from our server instead of your old server.

VERY IMPORTANT! - Once we switch over we can no longer email you at your old server. So unless you start reading your email from us, we can not communicate with you by email. If there is a problem then email us from an external email account like Yahoo or Gmail so that we can work out any confusion.

Once we switch you over your email flows as follows:

+-----------+         +-----------------+         +------------------+
| Internet  |---->----| Our Spam Filter |---->----| Our email server |
+-----------+         +-----------------+         +------------------+

Once the switch occurs then you have to change your user's email setting to read your email from us. You can find the settings in our Email Users Guide.

Outbound SPF settings

If you are using our outbound filtering service and you feel you need an SPF record you will need to use this setting.

v=spf1 include:junkemailfilter.com ~all

That tells the world that Junk Email Filter is the legitimate source for your outbound email.

Migrating your old Email

If you are using IMAP and all your folders are on your old server and you want to move them over - it's fairly easy. All you have to do is use an IMAP email client that can log into two servers at once. Thunderbird will do that. Then you create new folders on the new account and then drag and drop the messages from your old account to the new account. If you have thousands of emails and/or large attachments it will take a long time to move everything. It has to download to your computer and then upload to ours. But it will move.

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