Thinking of switching your email hosting provider? It can be an overwhelming process just at the thought – but we’re here to help you through the process.

You first need to ask yourself why you wish to make the email migration to another hosting provider. Are you unhappy with your current one, or found a better deal elsewhere? Regardless, we’ll help you make the transition as smooth as possible. Keep on reading to find out how to transfer email hosting providers easily with our step-by-step guide.

What is email hosting?

Exactly what is email hosting? It’s a service by a hosting provider that allocates space on their mail servers for clients to save their emails. Essentially, if you run a business and utilise an email hosting solution, all your firm's email correspondences and attached files reside on a mail server.

While free versions exist, creating a custom email and hosting it with a reputable provider ensures professionalism, lots more storage and a whole host of other benefits. Plus, it allows for a distinct, branded email address, setting you apart from generic domains like or

Why switch email hosting providers?

We’ve talked about paid vs free emails before and the benefits of the former – particularly from a branding and capability perspective. If you have a paid email account with a hosting provider already, here are some more reasons why you’d want to switch to another.

1. Poor service

Perhaps you’ve been experiencing a delay in emails, poor customer service handling from your provider, emails not sending out, maxing out your space and various other issues. This can be bad news if you’re running a company (especially with a branded business email) as not having issues dealt with may impact your customers. If your host is doing little to help mitigate these issues, then switching to a reputable email hosting provider is the way to go.

2. Better services elsewhere

It’s all about being the best, so if another email hosting provider has additional services that they include in the price, or have as an add-on for a small fee, then this may be a reason to switch to a new email hosting provider. As an example, IMAP and POP3 are protocols that we support with all email hosting packages. Some users prefer one over the other, and we believe offering both as an option gives potential customers the choice.

3. Cost reduction

Whether you’re looking to upgrade (or downgrade), cost will always be a huge factor. You may even find you’re paying for things you don’t need, so switching email hosts can help reduce your monthly bills.

4. The need to scale

That being said, in some cases, you may need more resources or additional features that your current provider simply doesn’t offer. If you’ve found another provider that has add-ons, or specific features included within their pricing, then switching email hosts may make sense.

5. Consolidation

It’s not uncommon to host your email with one provider and your website with another. For some clients, we find that they want a holistic approach to their hosting needs, and will often transfer web hosting and/or email to us so that everything is in one place. From a customer experience perspective, this makes helping you much easier and you won’t have to worry about what features can work with a second provider since everything is in one place.

How to prepare your email hosting transfer

Now that we’ve established several reasons why you’d want to switch hosting providers, here’s how to actually do it the right way. We’ve kept this fairly generalised so that you can navigate on your chosen client – be that Plesk or cPanel.

1. Clear your inbox

Clear out anything you don’t need. This could be old confirmation emails that are no longer relevant, newsletter subscriptions, offers and the like. While you’re at it, you may wish to unsubscribe from newsletters that you no longer want. It's also a good idea to delete large attachments or move them to a separate location to reduce the size of your inbox. With fewer emails to migrate, the less you’ll have to sift through with your new provider.

2. Download your emails

Once you have a list of emails you’re happy to keep, you’ll need to download them. With your current email hosting service, select the emails in your inbox and drag them into a local inbox folder. While this process may take a bit of time, it can act as your last “filter” to ensure you’re only keeping the necessary emails to migrate across to your new email provider.

3. Reduce your TTL

Ideally, you’ll need to minimise email service downtime during the email hosting transfer. This is especially true if you’re running the likes of an ecommerce store or a time-sensitive service.

Contact your current provider to reduce your Domain Name Server (DNS) Time-To-Live (TTL) to 300 (5 minutes). The TTL represents the time it takes for global DNS servers to refresh their cache and update their records. By reducing the TTL, any changes you make to your DNS will propagate faster, which will ensure a smoother transition to your new hosting provider.

4. Get started with your new provider

Before updating your DNS and downloading your emails onto your new email, you’ll need to get your new email hosting set up with your chosen provider! Just keep in mind that it needs to be one that supports the right protocol (IMAP or POP3).

You’ll also need to ensure the new email service is activated and that you have received all the necessary information, including access credentials and server details. If the new email address does not already exist, you’ll need to create it on your new provider's platform. Contact your new hosting provider to find out how to create the new email – they’ll then provide you with the necessary steps to set up your account.

5. Update your DNS records

1. Update your mail exchange records

Say you only want to migrate your email hosting but wish to keep your web hosting – you only need to update the MX (mail exchange) records for your domain, but what does this mean?

Essentially, MX records specify the mail server responsible for accepting email messages for your domain, so this is a very important step to ensure everything migrates correctly. In order to do this, contact your new email hosting provider to obtain your MX record details. Once you have them, log in to your domain registrar's control panel and update the MX records according to the instructions provided by your new email hosting provider.

2. Complete your DNS propagation

After updating your MX records (or Nameserver), it may take some time for the DNS changes to propagate across the web. Also known as DNS propagation, it can take up to 72 hours to complete, but in most cases is much sooner. During DNS propagation, some global nameservers may still direct email to your old server, while others will start directing it to your new server. It’s worth keeping an eye on both, particularly if you have business-critical communication – at least until the propagation is 100% complete.

6. Download your emails

Contact your old email hosting provider to get the server IP address of your old email account, so that you can update your new email hosting provider settings with this information. This will let your email host establish a connection with the old server and retrieve any outstanding emails. After successfully connecting, browse through your inbox and download all the emails that appear in your new inbox.

Frequently asked questions about transferring email hosting providers

Will I lose any emails during the email transfer process?

When following the step-by-step instructions provided above to a tee – with the added steps of cleaning up existing emails and reducing your TTL – you should not lose any emails.

How long does DNS propagation take?

Typically, DNS propagation can take up to 72 hours, although this isn’t usually the case and can take as little as a couple of hours. Things like your TTL settings, network configurations and Nameservers can prolong this time, but 72 hours is generally the maximum time it will take.

Can I transfer my email address to a new provider and still keep my custom domain?

Absolutely. You can easily switch your email hosting provider while keeping your custom domain. Your email address, such as, is tied to your domain ( – not specifically to the hosting provider. This means that when you transition to a new host, you're just redirecting where your emails for that domain are stored and accessed. Before you begin the process of transferring your domain, just make sure your new provider supports domain transfers.

Can I forward emails from my old email address to the new one?

Yes, you just need to configure your old email to forward incoming messages. This is a process known as email forwarding, and email providers can help you set this up. Simply navigate to a section within your control panel (usually along the lines of “Forwarding) and set up a rule that 

forwards incoming emails from the old one to the new address. Be sure to let your contacts know of your new address, either through business comms or in your email footer.

Ready to transfer your email to a reliable email hosting provider? Contact us to find out more about email hosting, as well as how we can support you with your business efforts, such as web hosting, reseller hosting and much more.