I did a site for a client a few months back. Hosting & email was setup through Dreamhost VPS. Hosting has not been an issue, but email has become increasingly dodgy. Long story short, they want to transfer to Google Apps for Biz. They already have the mailboxes setup - they are on macs so they will be transferring using the gmail email importer for mac - my question is this - should they transfer their domain over first or their emails?

I'm a developer so I have no problem changing their DNS settings, but I am not an IT manager type by any stretch so I am a bit in the dark about process - my proposed process was:

  1. Delete any junk/deleted mail from current environment
  2. Backup email locally
  3. copy emails to google apps via importer
  4. Switch domain and update mac mail settings

It seems that doing the domain first would be best but I don't know if that is possible.

I have been trying to find a generic checklist, but i haven't been able to.


1 Answer 1


There are two DNS settings that you will probably need to change:

  1. The MX records. This controls where mail is delivered.
  2. The A or CNAME records for the IMAP/POP/SMTP services

I would change the MX records first so that mail starts getting delivered to the new host. Then you can copy the mail over and change the other DNS and mail settings.

You could even keep a DNS record like oldmail.example.com around to point to the old mail server for a while in case anybody really needs to go back on to retrieve mail from their old account.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.