MailmanLists GNU Mailman list hosting

Migrate a list

To migrate an existing list to our servers, there are a few steps. To migrate a list that uses your own domain name ( rather than one of ours) you will – in addition to the 2 steps below – need to edit your DNS records.

Step 1. Order your new list via the MailmanLists website
From the Order a list page you can choose either a Pro List (which uses your domain) or a Regular List (which uses one of our domains).
For Pro Lists if you want to use the same listname and address as your old list – you'll need to check the availability when you're on the order form (using the tool that's there).
Step 2. Get four files from your existing list host
  • File 1: subscribers (digest)
  • File 2: subscribers (regular)
  • File 3: message archive
  • File 4: configuration

Read on to find out how to get those files ...

If you have access to the server

If you have shell access to the server where your list is hosted (and root privileges) – the following commands will get what's needed. (Note: check that the file paths match with your system.) You may even have a system administrator who can do this for you.

File 1:

root: /usr/lib/mailman/bin/list_members -f  -r LISTNAME > LISTNAME.regular

File 2:

root: /usr/lib/mailman/bin/list_members -f  -d LISTNAME > LISTNAME.digest

File 3:

root: cp /var/lib/mailman/archives/private/LISTNAME.mbox/LISTNAME.mbox ./LISTNAME.mbox

File 4:

root: /usr/lib/mailman/bin/config_list -o LISTNAME.cfg LISTNAME

Then can pack those files up into a .zip or .tgz file and either let us link to it, or send it to us via WeTransfer or DropSend – addressed to support (at) – and we'll import the files into your new list.

If you don't have access to the server

Assuming that you are the owner of the list that is being migrated (and that you have the list's Admin password) you can go through the following steps to gather up the files needed to migrate your list to our servers. If you would like us to do it for you – we can do so if you're happy to share the list's Admin password with us.

1. Export the names and email addresses of your subscribers (digest and regular).

Send an empty email to: LISTNAME-request@LISTS.MYDOMAIN.COM

Replacing LISTNAME with the actual name of your list, ADMINPASSWORD with your real Admin password, and LISTS.MYDOMAIN.COM with the domain that your current list uses.

For example: if your list's email address was,
you would put in the Subject:

This will return an email with the names and email address of all your subscribers. Save this email.

2. Export your old list's message archive.

Edit the URL below, replacing "LISTNAME", "LISTS.MYDOMAIN.COM", and "ADMINPASSWORD" with the real thing, and then copy and paste it into your browser's address bar.


As an example:

When the URL is copied and pasted into the browsers address field, the browser will display the mbox file. It will look 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!
X-PHP-Originating-Script: 0:class.phpmailer.php
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 might 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. The archive displays a table and with the right-hand column containing links the month's archive (a .gz file). Download each of those files.

3. Send the files to us

You'll now have (1) the email with your subscribers, and (2) the .mbox file which is your message archive (or a bunch of .gz files). You can send us those files by email or (if large) via WeTransfer or DropSend – addressed to support (at) – and we'll import them into your new list.

Unfortunately without server access, there is no way to export the old list's settings (configuration), so the new list will have to be done manually. Either from scratch, or by copying the information from the old list.

As always, we're happy to do it all for you.

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