Migrate a list from another host

The steps outlined below are for exporting files from Mailman, however we also welcome lists from other mailing-list managers – Listserv, Majordomo, and Sympa. Send us your exported files and we'll convert and import them into your new Mailman list.

Migrating your list from another host is fairly straight forward. We'll need to collect some files from your old list to import.  For those people who want to collect the files themselves, the instructions are below. Otherwise, we're happy to do it for you once you've ordered your list. And there's no charge to have your list migrated by us.

The method of getting the files depends on what type of access you have to your old list.
Most people will only have list-administrator access.
Some people will have privileged access to the server.

For those with privileged access, you can run the following commands on your server to retrieve everything. Your file paths are probably different so you'll need to adjust accordingly.

Note: Archive mbox files for importing are limited to 250 MB. If your file is larger we can can truncate it for you.

$ cd ~/
$ mkdir LISTNAME-files
$ cd LISTNAME-files
$ /usr/lib/mailman/bin/list_members -f  -r LISTNAME > LISTNAME.regular
$ /usr/lib/mailman/bin/list_members -f  -d LISTNAME > LISTNAME.digest
$ cp /var/lib/mailman/archives/private/LISTNAME.mbox/LISTNAME.mbox ./LISTNAME.mbox
$ cp /var/lib/mailman/lists/LISTNAME/config.pck ./LISTNAME.pck
$ cd ../
$ tar -czvf LISTNAME-files.tgz LISTNAME-files
$ rm -R LISTNAME-files

The resulting file – LISTNAME-files.tgz – is what you'll send to us.

Step 1. Get your lists's subscribers (digest and regular)

For those with list administrator access only

Send an empty email

For example: if your list's email address was and your administrator password was abc123 you would send the email as:

Subject: who abc123

You would receive an email from the list-server that looked something like below. Save that email as a text file (eg. subscribers.txt) in a folder.

- Results:
    Non-digest (regular) members: (Charlie Brown)
        gmeggs@bigpond (Ginger Meggs) (Homer Simpson)
    Digest members: (Mickey Mouse) (Bugs Bunny) (Donald Duck) (Barney Rubble) (Fred Flintsone)

Step 2. Get your list's message archive

For those with list administrator access only

Note: Archive mbox files for importing are limited to 250 MB. If your mbox is larger we can can truncate it for you.

Without privileged access to the server there are a couple of options for retrieving your list's archives. For the first option, if the archive isn't too large you can retrieve the archive file with your browser. As an example:

… for a list: with the Administrator password: XYZ123

… construct a URL like the one below, replacing the listname and domain with yours. Make sure it's all on one line with no spaces.

Entering the URL into the browser will display the mbox file looking something like this …

From  Thu Sep 24 08:58:39 2015
Received: from ( [])
 by (Postfix) with ESMTPS id BC7DF2E0CB
 for ; Thu, 24 Sep 2015 08:58:39 +0200 (CEST)
Received: by (Postfix, from userid 48)
 id 8DD9685890; Thu, 24 Sep 2015 02:58:39 -0400 (EDT)
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed;;
 s=default; t=1443077919;
To: "" 
Subject: Hello World!
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2015 02:58:39 -0400
From: ... 

If you have a large archive it will take some time for the browser to load it all. When it's loaded, right-click in the browser window and "Save page as…" LISTNAME.mbox

But, if your archive is very large you could get a timeout-error message. In that case you'll need to go to your list's archive page and download the files one-by-one.

Go to your list's archive page, right click on each of the [Gzip'd Text …] links in the right-hand column and "Save Link As …". Save all the downloaded .gz files into the same folder with your subscribers file.


Step 3. Get your list's configuration

For those with list administrator access only

Again not a lot of options without privileged access. Your old hosting company may give it to you if you ask. With only list-administrator access the settings will have to be copied manually. It's a matter of going through every page in the list's Administration and copying what's there, and pasting it into the Administration pages of your new list.

Step 4: Send the files to us to import

Once you have all the files, put them into a folder and zip or tgz the folder, then send it to us.

For large files use WeTransfer or DropSend addressed to: support