Migrating mailboxes to Plesk Onyx

Note: This tutorial gives an example on how to migrate mailboxes from one server to another and can be applied not only to Plesk but any server administration tool that provides a web frontend to manage email accounts

Plesk is an extraordinary useful tool for server administration which often is already provided by hosters like Host Europe and Hetzner. Plesk makes it easy to administrate webspaces by featuring tons of tools like domain, database and SSL management. It has build-in migration tools which import files from other servers over FTP and MySQL databases. But it is lacking one important feature: Migration of mailboxes.

Having a domain with some hundred mailboxes connected and wanting to move them to a new Plesk webspace is a tiring task. Basically you face two problems: First you have to create all the email accounts in Plesk one by one. Then you have somehow to migrate the existing emails from the old mailboxes to the new ones. Using an email client to do that is really annoying and time consuming and also highly questionable depending on security policies.

Assuming you can install software on the Plesk server and knowing the passwords of all the mailboxes (or being able to set new ones) you can do the task by following these steps:

  1. Create all email accounts in Plesk using browser automation as described in my article “Browser task automation with Firefox and CSV files”
  2. Change your DNS entries to point to the new server, so new emails will go into the new mailbox
  3. Import existing emails with the tool “Imapcopy”. Emmanuel Revah wrote a good tutorial about it

I hope there will be a build in mailbox migration tool for Plesk soon. Meanwhile this would be a workflow that makes it possible to even migrate hundreds of mailboxes without too much effort.