Migrating Domain to Another SmarterMail Server

In this tutorial, we’ll be showing how to move an entire domains email from one Smartermail server to another with little to no loss of emails during the switch (depending on which pre-migration options you choose).

Important Pre-Migration Information

For the pre-migration stage, it’s important to determine if you need to take any action to forward any incoming e-mail for your domain during the actual migration process.

To best determine this… let’s look at what the migration will entail:

  • Copying files from the source server to the destination server - This can take time depending on the size of your domain. Most domains e-mail operates within 2-3GB which might take 15 to 25 minutes depending on the transfer rates (if the host you’re transferring from has any limitations on transfer speed).

  • Removing the domain on the old server & setting up an incoming gateway for the domain to forward all mail traffic related to that domain to the new destination server.

That’s it. The mail migrations for SmarterMail to SmarterMail are very easy and the time it takes is just dependent on the size of the domain and the speed of the transfer.

If you schedule this migration to be done during your domains slowest e-mail traffic times (such as late at night) then there is less chance of any e-mails coming in during the duration of the migration.

Still… if you are concerned that any e-mail will come in during this transfer process then you can set up a ‘Domain Forward’ so that e-mails coming into the domain are forwarded to another location (such as your personal @gmail.com address or anywhere else you’d prefer).

If you still want to take precautionary steps then we’d recommend setting up a domain forward so that all users forward any incoming email to an outside address, such as an @gmail.com address, during the duration of the move.

If you do need to forward all emails to an outside address then follow the below steps before proceeding to the ‘Moving a domain to another SmarterMail server’ section:

Again, the below steps are optional as they are just to help minimize any loss of emails.

  1. Login to your SmarterMail interface with an administrative email user for your domain, such as the default ‘mailadmin’ user. If needed view our tutorials on how to login or reset the password to your email users.

  2. Click on the settings icon on the left-hand navigation ( Looks like two gears ).


  3. Expand ‘Domain Settings’, then expand ‘Advanced Settings’ and select the option for ‘Default User Settings’.


  4. Now click on the ‘Forwarding’ tab in the user settings. Then enter the email address you wish to forward to temporarily and click ‘Save’.

    • Note: This will not enable by default on existing users. The next step will push this out to new users.


  5. Now back where you chose ‘Default User Settings’ click the option for ‘User Propagation’.


  6. Click on the ‘Forwarding’ tab and check the box for ‘Forwarding Address’ and click ‘Propagate Now’.


  • Note: This will propagate this setting to all users… so all users will begin forwarding to your specified address so you won’t miss anything during the move to the new server.

  • IMPORTANT: After following the steps in the section below you’ll want to go back in (on the new server) and disable this forwarding rule if you set this up.

Again the above steps are optional as they are just to help minimize any loss of emails.

Let's Get Started - Migrating a SmarterMail Domain

The below steps will show every step that is needed in order to move your domain to another SmarterMail server.

  1. RDP ( Remote Desktop Protocol ) into the original server and open file explorer.

  2. Now that you have file explorer open on the server navigate to the location where your domain’s email is hosted.

    • The default location is normally: “C:\SmarterMail\Domains”

    • If needed login to Smartermail admin through the interface and view the domain information, as it will contain the ‘Folder Path’ value showing the correct path.


  3. Now right click on the folder for the domain you wish to move and choose to compress the folder ( send to .zip format ).


  4. We’ll use the .zip file in just a moment. Now let’s login to the Smartermail admin user on the new server and click on the ‘Domains’ section from the navigation ( Looks like a globe ), then click ‘New’ and add the domain to the new server ( create a random user as it will be overwritten ).


  5. Now RDP into the new server and open file explorer like we did on the original server.

  6. In file explorer navigate to the folder path the domain was created on within SmarterMail and rename the folder for the domain you just created or delete the folder ( this is up to you - Just contains the default files).

    • The default location is normally: “C:\SmarterMail\Domains”

    • It shows the path location when creating the domain as well.


  7. Now with the folder renamed or deleted, go ahead and copy the .zip file we created earlier on the old server and extract it to the domains folder on the new server.


  8. The domains e-mail data (including configuration, users, e-mails, etc.) should now all be within the correct path on the new server. We now need to tell SmarterMail to reload the data, so that it knows the data has been updated.

    To do this: Login to SmarterMail admin again (on the new server) and right-click the domain and choose ‘Edit’, then click ‘Reload’.


  9. The domain has now been moved successfully… but this next step is crucial to prevent loss of email. Login to your SmarterMail admin interface on the OLD server now.

    Note: Be sure to compare the number of users and size between both servers to ensure they are the same. If not, the migration wasn’t successful and you should not proceed to step 10…

  10. Navigate to the ‘Domains’ section ( like we did on the new server ) and right click the domain you just moved and choose ‘DELETE’.

  11. With the domain deleted let’s now click on the ‘Settings’ option ( looks like two gears ).


  12. Expand ‘Routing’, then choose ‘Incoming Gateways’. Then click ‘New’.


  13. Change the ‘Gateway Mode’ to ‘Domain Forward’. Then enter the IP Address of the new server to forward the email to in the ‘IP Address’ field.


  14. In the ‘Domains’ tab enter the domain you just migrated to the new server and then click ‘Save’.


Any incoming mail that arrives at the original server for that domain will now forward to the new server you just migrated to.

At this point, the migration should be complete. You can update the DNS for the domain(s) in question to point the MX records to the new server when desired. The incoming gateway will continue forwarding any e-mails coming into the old server so updating the MX Records doesn’t have to be an immediate step taken… as long as the MX records are updated prior to the old server becoming disabled.