Copying your old host's email to your DreamHost email account

This article uses Thunderbird to copy email from your old host to DreamHost for a single address. This involves the following steps:

  1. Add your email address to Thunderbird using the old hosting providers email server names
  2. Add your email address to Thunderbird again using DreamHost's email server names.
  3. Drag and drop folders and email from the old account into the new DreamHost account

This article uses the address 'user@dreamhostexample.com'. Change this to the address you're migrating to DreamHost.

Step 1 — Add your address to Thunderbird using your old host's mail server names

First, add your address to Thunderbird using your old hosting providers server names. You must contact your old hosting provider for this information.

Step 2 — Add your address to Thunderbird using your DreamHost mail server names

Add your same address again to Thunderbird, but this time using DreamHost's email server names. View the following article for instructions:

At this point, your email address is added twice to Thunderbird, but each account is linked to a different mail server.

Step 3 — Drag and drop folders and files

Your accounts in Thunderbird should appear like this:

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Drag all emails in your old Inbox to your DreamHost Inbox

When dragging folders, Thunderbird sometimes fails to copy them. If that happens, close Thunderbird and re-open it. You should then be able to continue to drag folders.

Select all emails in your old Inbox. To do this, click the first email, hold down the 'SHIFT' button, then click the last email. They should all be highlighted. 

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Drag them into your DreamHost Inbox.

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Click your DreamHost Inbox and you'll see all emails are now listed.

Drag remaining folders

Do not drag all remaining folders into your new Inbox. This will copy everything, but it will also duplicate all sub-folders. It's best to move each folder one at a time to ensure the structure remains intact.

  1. You must drag one folder at a time. For example, if you have a folder with sub-folders, move the top-level folder first. In the image below, 'folder1' being dragged to the new Inbox.
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  2. Next, move any direct sub-folders to the Inbox (you cannot drag it into the folder, it must be moved to the Inbox first). The image below shows the folder 'sub1' being dragged to the new Inbox.
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    As you can see below, the folder 'sub1' is now in the Inbox under 'folder1'.
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  3. Drag 'sub1' into 'folder1'.
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    The directory structure for 'folder1' and 'sub1' is now the same as the original Inbox.
  4. Repeat this for any other sub-folders you may have.

That's it. Your email is now transferred to your DreamHost server.

See also

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Article last updated PST.