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Frequently asked questions

How can I migrate a list from another provider?

The steps outlined below are for migrating a GNU Mailman list from another server to ours, however we also welcome lists from other mailing-list managers -- Listserv, Majordomo, and Sympa.

Migrating your list from another GNU Mailman host is fairly straight forward and involves collecting some files from your old list for us to import.

If you want to collect the files yourself, 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 (in steps 1 to 4) depends on what type of access you have to your old list. Having privileged access (sudo) to the server makes things very easy. If you don't, should ask your existing host if they will export the files using the commands shown below. If they will do it for you you're in luck.


If you have 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.

$ cd ~/
$ sudo -s
$ 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
$ tar -czvf LISTNAME.attachments.tgz  /var/lib/mailman/archives/private/LISTNAME/attachments
$ 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, or permit us to retrieve.

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


If you only have list-admin access ...

Only having list-admin access (to the web interface) makes things a little difficult. You won't be able to gather the archive's attachment folder, nor the configuration file. It's definitely worth asking your host if they will export them for you.

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

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.

- 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)

Save that email as a text file (eg. subscribers.txt) in a folder.

Step 2. Get your list's message archive

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

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: ... 

Right-click in the browser window and "Save page as" LISTNAME.mbox


If your archive is very large you'll probably get a timeout-error message. If so you'll need to go to your list's archive page and download the files one-by-one.

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

With only list-administrator access the settings will have to be copied manually.

You'll need to through every page in the list's Administration and copy what's there to a document -- which can be used to edit the settings of the list once it's setup on our servers.


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.

Large files can be sent to us at support AT (using end-to-end encryption) via Mozilla's FireFox Send We Transfer.