Moving to Kolab from Google mail (“G-Suite”)

I had a seven year old google ‘business’ account (now called ‘G-Suite’, previously Google Apps, I think) from back when it was free. Danbri put me onto it, and it was brilliant because you can use your own domain with it. It’s been very useful, but I’ve been thinking of moving to a paid-for service for a while. Kolab Now have strong security and privacy, a readable ToS, and with a group account you can have your own domain. I finally moved my mail today.

It wasn’t hard but this isn’t the sort of thing I do a lot and the information I found was a bit piecemeal. So here are some hints in case it’s useful to anyone else.

  1. Sign up for Kolab Now. You’ll need another email address to do that from, i.e. not the one you’re moving. You’ll get an invoice to pay a bit later to that email (I was a bit surprised not to pay immediately). It’s about £5 / month for their group ‘lite’ service.
  2. Archive your old email from Google. I used gmvault‘s mac os x binary. I was originally intending to sync my email with my new account, but storing as much as I have costs substantially more on Kolab Now, so I’ve make an archive instead (which I can still access from mail.app). I had 14 GB in there, which took ~ 10 hours
    ./gmvault sync me@mydomain.org
    ./gmvault export ~/old_email
  3. Log into the admin account of your google account and delete all the non-admin users. You get the option to download their data as you go, which is an excellent feature, kudos to Google.
  4. Actually deleting the account required going to ‘Billing’ as described here in step 5
  5. Login to your domain name registrar and delete the Google MX records
  6. Add the Kolab Now TXT or CNAME records to verify you own the domain (once logged in, Kolab’s instructions for this are under ‘hosting‘)
  7. Once verified, hosting -> show DNS records will contain the new Kolab MX records, which you’ll need to add to your domain DNS
  8. Straight away you should be able to see email in the Kolab Now web client, and depending on the TTL you’ve set, shortly afterwards to send to it
  9. Mail.app IMAP instructions are here
  10. To access the archive you made, use the mail.app’s import function.

One thought on “Moving to Kolab from Google mail (“G-Suite”)

  1. Max

    Nice. I’ve been looking for google replacements for a year or so. Currently using ProtonMail, which unfortunately only does email. But hopefully will offer calendar soon (I currently use fruux for calendar and contacts). What I like about ProtonMail is that it’s encrypted on the server and not even the staff can access your email. Major issue is that you can’t export your email. I’ve used Tutanota before and it had the same issues (and poor support).

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