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Will I lose IMAP emails if I transfer domain to new email provider?

Posts: 2
Registered: ‎15-11-2021

Will I lose IMAP emails if I transfer domain to new email provider?

Hi Folks - My IMAP email seized up over a week ago - in advance of the present general outage (though possibly part of it) - the problem keeps being 'escalated' but nothing has been done to return a week's worth of emails l that I haven't seen yet and I can't log on to my webmail - of course.

So my question - If I am forced to jump to a new email provider by transferring my domain - will I lose the emails - which I hope are still on PN servers - or will they be returned to me if/when the problems are sorted out?





Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 2,319
Fixes: 113
Registered: ‎01-12-2020

Re: Will I lose IMAP emails if I transfer domain to new email provider?

Hello @GM0TLY

Thanks a lot for reaching out. I [personally wouldn't switch providers just yet, given the ongoing issues with our email service. Further details can be found here.

In regards to your IMAP accounts though, they'll need to be reconfigured with your new providers details once the switch is complete. Theoretically, they should be saved on the server, though I wouldn't want to promise anything just yet.

 Plusnet Help Team - Leeds
Posts: 22,729
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Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Will I lose IMAP emails if I transfer domain to new email provider?

That is an interesting question to which there is not a simple answer.

There is not enough information on the issue to know which bit of the system is broken. Mail systems are far simple which is why when they break, fixing them can be very difficult.

External mail services will attempt to deliver emails for your domain to the domain’s MX service. If the delivery attempt is successful the sender does nothing further. If the delivery fails, the sender keeps trying at long and long intervals … typically for up to 5 days. If you move your domain during that period it would be reasonable to expect outstanding deliveries will be re attempted to the new MX server.

If mail has been accepted by Plusnet’s edge services, then ownership for delivery lays with Plusnet. The mail needs to move through the mail AV / spam filter services before being delivered to the addressee’s mailbox.

Once in the mailbox, it needs to be accessed (transferred) to the client using IMAP or POP3.

If you cannot access the mailbox you can have no assurance where the mail is. Experience from last week suggested that mail delivery from the edge servers to the mailbox was taking up 6 hours. Today it seems to be near instantaneous. Therefore one concludes that the residual issue is limited to accessing the content of the mailbox.

If that is correct, moving the hosting for your domain will simply route new email to your new provider. Whilst you still have the Plusnet account the mail already in that mailbox will remain there waiting to be collected.

Note: some email clients will not permit two accounts having the same email address pointing at two different services. Therefore you might need to change the existing account details from to so that you can create a new local account pointing to the new hosting service.

Moving hosting providers is a delicate process which needs a clear plan within which timing is critical. It is not something to be rushed into … unless you are very confident you know what you are doing. There is merit in Adam’s advice - this issue is likely to be resolved for quicker than you can safely migrate your domain.

There is some evidence that access difficulties coins be related to a user’s IP address … but there is no substantial evidence for this yet.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Aspiring Hero
Posts: 2,568
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Registered: ‎22-08-2015

Re: Will I lose IMAP emails if I transfer domain to new email provider?

As I’ve private messaged earlier today, my personal take on this is to download your emails to your mail client through POP3 then migrate to another provider by changing the nameservers from ours to theirs.

If you’d like to send and receive through the same mail client, as Townman’s suggested you may have to rename the email address used from your domain to the Plusnet email address equivalent. Alternatively you can remove it and then add the new one, though I’d archive your emails first from the mail client to your computer then you should be able to re-upload them afterwards.

To move from IMAP to POP3 you’d need to remove the account from your client and re-add it using the appropriate server names. I can pick this up with you tomorrow when I’m back in the office though. 

This is my personal Community Forum account to help out around these parts while I'm at home. If I'm posting from the 1st March 2020, this means I'm off-duty with no access to internal systems.
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Posts: 2
Registered: ‎15-11-2021

Re: Will I lose IMAP emails if I transfer domain to new email provider?

Thanks everyone. I will pick up with Anoush tomorrow and see if we can make progress. My first priority is obviously to recover emails.

Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
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Re: Will I lose IMAP emails if I transfer domain to new email provider?

Thanks for getting back to me @GM0TLY

I'll private message you back shortly with steps how to change things to POP3 to download your mail Smiley

From 31st October 2022, I no longer have a regular presence here as I’ve moved on to a new role.
Anoush Mortazavi