Knowledge Base

Making E-mail Backups

Local backups, account backups and continuous backup are all useful ways to preserve your e-mail history.

Use an e-mail client to create a local copy

Mozilla Thunderbird will be used for this example but other mail clients like Outlook or Mac Mail have similar options.

  1. Set up Thunderbird to connect to your email account via IMAP. See this article for complete instructions.
  2. Create a local folder for your mail.

  3. Drag e-mail messages and folders to the Local folder.

Full account backup

If you have a full account backup, e-mail is backed up in it. To access saved emails in a full account backup, follow these instructions:

Get an assist from Thunderbird

The methods described below expose text files that contain the stored emails. The files can be read with a text editor but a much more familiar view is gained by importing them into a mail client. You can easily add a versatile import (and export) component to Thunderbird with the ImportExportTools addon for Thunderbird.

Plesk

  1. Unzip the backup file to an empty directory.
  2. In the unzipped files look for a file named similar to backup_domainmail_XXXXXXXX.zip where the Xs will be some numbers.
  3. Unzip the backup_domainmail_XXXXXXXX.zip file into an empty directory.
  4. After the file is unzipped, inside the new directory will be directories named for all the email users.
  5. Open the user directory to see directories for Inbox and other folders that were in the users email account.

  6. Inside the Inbox and other folders are text files that can be read with a text editor or imported into Thunderbird or any email client with the appropriate import feature.

cPanel

  1. Unzip the backup file to an empty directory.
  2. Depending on the tool used, you may also need to untar the extracted file but some archive tools will complete the unzip and untar in one step.
  3. Look in the extracted files for the homedir directory.
  4. Inside the homedir directory, look for the mail directory.
  5. Inside the mail directory look for the domain name of the e-mail address.
  6. Inside the domain name directory will be directories named for the individual users.
  7. Open a user directory to see the files and folders for the individual email account.

  8. The files may be read with a text editor or imported into Thunderbird or any client with the appropriate import feature.

Continuous Backup

Dropmysite

Dropmysite is a continuous offsite backup system for files, databases, and e-mail. It is offered as an addon to many A2 Hosting packages. With Dropmysite you can restore e-mails individually or in a group. To read more about Dropmysite, see these articles.

E-mail Forwarders

An e-mail forwarder can send a copy of every e-mail received to another email address to create a continuous backup of all mails received. Forwarders will not automatically backup your sent mails but you can include the backup e-mail address as a BCC on all mail sent to have a complete backup. Some e-mail clients include a feature to automatically make a copy of every sent mail.

See this article to learn how to configure an e-mail forwarder in Plesk.

See this article to learn how to configure an e-mail forwarder in cPanel.