How do I import my old host's email to my DreamHost mail server?

You must have your email messages backed up before proceeding with this article. View the following article for instructions:

This article provides instructions on how you can import the backup of your old emails to DreamHost's mail servers.

This process can only be done one way with DreamHost. This method also requires the use of a third-party mail program.

The Webmail interface is a read-only interface for mail, so you cannot download mail this way. You’d need a client such as Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, or Thunderbird.

If you’d like to import your backed up emails to a new host, the details below provide you with instructions.

Importing your email to DreamHost

The process for importing emails to your DreamHost mail server is done through an IMAP connection instead of a POP connection. You must use a third-party mail program for this process as well. The process is as simple as dragging-and-dropping the mail files from your home computer folder to the inbox for the email address connected via IMAP.

The following steps explain how to upload the messages to your mail server:

  1. Add your email address (or addresses) to the DreamHost panel.
  2. Set up your mail program with the email address you wish to upload the backups to.

    Thunderbird is a free mail program you can download to use for this process.

  3. Set up your email account as an IMAP user. You can refer to the following article for the mail program configurations and port settings for this setup:
  4. Now that the user is set up as an IMAP user, open up the folder you moved the backed up messages to (on your home computer) and drag-and-drop the contents into the user’s inbox (in your mail client). This uploads the messages to your mail server.

    It is a good idea to open up the Webmail interface for your email address to ensure that the messages you moved to the inbox through your mail program show up in Webmail as well. This will confirm that the messages were properly uploaded to your server.

Once you’ve completed this process, all of your backed up mail will be stored on DreamHost's mail servers. You won’t need the backed up messages now that you’ve completed this. You can keep it for personal backups on your local computer if you wish in case there are important emails you may want to save offline.

Importing your email to another host

As with the backing up of mail, the importing of mail to another host may vary from host to host. But, the IMAP process outlined above should work for other mail hosts. You can try contacting the new mail host to see if they have an alternate way of uploading your backed up mail to their servers.

Importing from a DreamHost backup

When you use the one-click backup in your DreamHost panel, all data is stored as separate .tar.gz files.

If you unpack one of your email files, you'll see all messages appear in the following format:


If you drag and drop this file into your mail client, it will not work. You must rename the file first.

Add .eml to the end of any mail file. Using the example above, it would appear like this:


When you drag and drop this file into your mail client, it now appears.

Importing contacts

View the following article for instructions on how to import contacts:

See also

Did this article answer your questions?

Article last updated PST.