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[How-To] Migrate POP mail to GMail While changing Servers!

September 23rd, 2008 · 10 Comments


I have a domain hosted with XYZ Hosting company for donkey years now. I have one active pop account [] there which has close to 3000 mails!


I want to move my site from XYZ Hosting company to Dreamhost where i hold an account. Now thats simple download all files from XYZ Hosting company and upload it on Dreamhost. But What about my mails! I am planning to use the GMail hosted mail for my domain.


My first task was to find a good IMAP client. Asked around a bit and settled on Thunderbird. Why IMAP Client? Well it will allow you to drag and drop mails from one account to another and GMail supports IMAP!

I created an account to connect to my POP account [] and downloaded all mails. To be on the safer side i left a copy of all mails on the server.

I went to my control Panel in Dreamhost and added my domain there and also choose for the GMail hosted domain for the same.

I already have another domain on Dreamhost where i am using GMail. I created a temporary account there. Activated my IMAP for that account. []

I went back to Thunderbird and configured this new IMAP account []. Now i had two accounts in Thunderbird 1) POP account [kunal-old@247ithubcom] where i had downloaded my 3000 mails and another empty temporary IMAP account [].

I Copied all my mails from my POP account [kunal-old@247ithubcom] to this new IMAP account []. Its simple Select all mails Right click->Copy to (or Move to) Target folder which will show you your new IMAP folders. Or you can Drag and Drop the mails also.

I went to Indialinks and changed my DNS to point to Dreamhost. Once it got changed I went and created my new email accounts on GMail [kunal-new@247ithubcom].

Now all i had to do was Create one more IMAP account [kunal-new@247ithubcom] in Thunderbird and Copy all the mails from my IMAP temporary account [] to this new one [kunal-new@247ithubcom] and viola i was good to go!

Now i know that if you dont have any where to create a temporary account you can directly copy the mails [kunal-old@247ithubcom] in Thunderbird to this new IMAP [kunal-new@247ithubcom]


  • Get Thunderbird [click to download]
  • Configure and download POP mail from current server
  • Change Name servers to point to New server
  • Activate GMail hosted Domains [Clich to Activate GMail for your domain]
  • Create your Email and Enable IMAP [settings-Forwarding and POP/IMAP]
  • Configure Thunderbird for this new Email account
  • Drag and Drop Mails from the POP Account in Thunderbird to the New IMAP account.
  • Its Done. Login to Gmail and all your mails are there.

I hope you find this helpful. Took me a while to figure out.


Tags: General · How To's · Tech · Website

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Reeteshinator // Sep 23, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Very goo info you got there! Should come in handy when I shift my college servers from the uber nonsense domain we have now.

  • 2 Nishit Shah // Sep 23, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    Good stuff. Pretty comprehensive explanation of migration. Good work !!

  • 3 Nirav // Sep 24, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Kunal, Gmail allows you to call mails from any POP mail account. In this case, you could have done just that and avoided the entire procedure. Go to your Gmail > Settings > Forwarding and POP > Add your POP mail account settings and it’s done! You can infact club all your POP accounts into a single gmail account.

    Hope this helps. 🙂

  • 4 Kunal // Sep 24, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Nirav, I am well aware about that… but i didnt want to mess around with 4500 mails which already exist there… I also know that we can keep adding accounts and have one master Gmail account…

    This is when u want to migrate Mails of ur personal Domain name to google hosted mailing system.

    Once you change your MX records your pop account wont be accessible thats where my solution comes into Play.

  • 5 Nirav // Sep 24, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Can I delete my comment? 😉

  • 6 Kunal // Sep 24, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    lol @ Nirav… nah u cant… but its a Nice point which i will leave it… might be helpful for someone i am sure 🙂

  • 7 Mohandas Alle // Sep 25, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Very helpful tip to the users who wants to migrate their pop mails to imap.

    i was searching yesterday night… for the same solution.

    i recommend whoever want to do migration their pop to imap please use the above steps guided by kunal sheth.

  • 8 Dhawal // Nov 12, 2008 at 7:43 am

    Dear Kunal,
    I have a Google Apps account for, however it is not recognising me as an Administrator, it says that please ask your IT department to add more users. Is there any way I can retrieve it, I am able to access my info account, but not beyond that.

    Any help will be appreciated, since you are an expert in this domain.


    Dhawal Shah

  • 9 Dhawal // Nov 12, 2008 at 8:13 am

    I got thru this problem, pl ignore my previous post

  • 10 ooopinionsss // Dec 3, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    How you think when the economic crisis will end? I wish to make statistics of independent opinions!

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