Migrate SmarterMail to a Different Server

This article applies to SmarterMail 16.x and earlier. View articles for recent versions.

A system administrator may need to move SmarterMail to a different server because they are moving to a more powerful server or changing hosting companies and need to move to their servers. SmarterTools makes it easy by allowing you to have 2 instances of your SmarterMail license running on 2 different servers for up to 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, the "old" license then needs to be uninstalled and should no longer call back to the SmarterTools' licensing servers.

Before starting the move process, add new MX records to your domains in DNS for the new server and allow 24-48 hours for the records to propagate through the Internet. Doing so will help ensure that you do not lose any mail. SmarterTools also recommends ensuring your license key can be activated again before beginning the migration process. This information can be found in the Licenses section of My Account. If a license has used up its allotted activations, a Reset Activations button can be seen. 

NOTE: If you have SSL or TLS configured on any ports, the certificate being used must be exported (containing the private key) from the original servers certificate store. It then needs to be imported into the new server’s Personal folder within the certificate store. 

NOTE: If Declude is being used on the original server, you will want to ensure the Declude service also gets setup on the new server prior to the deployment. Failure to install the Declude service on the new server will result in all mail landing in the SmarterMail Spool's Proc folder and will not be delivered. 

Follow this steps to migrate a SmarterMail installation to a different server:

  1. Install SmarterMail on the new server, including setting up the site in IIS.
  2. Stop the SmarterMail Service (MailService.exe) on both servers.
  3. Copy all .xml and .dat files from the Service directory of your install path from your old server to your new one. By default that path will be C:\Program Files (x86)\SmarterTools\SmarterMail\Service. Note that mailConfig.xml and domainList.xml are the only files absolutely required to be copied over.
  4. Copy all domains folders from their directory on the older server to the same directory on the new server. By default the path domains are stored in is C:\SmarterMail\Domains
  5. Start the SmarterMail service on the new server.
  6. Log in and re-activate the software on the new server.
  7. If you change the path to your domains, you would need to edit your domainList.xml file accordingly to reflect the new paths.
  8. If your IP address or other DNS info changes, update the corresponding setting in SmarterMail and restart the SmarterMail Service (or reboot the server) to make the change effective.

NOTE: These steps assume that the domain data is stored in the default C:\SmarterMail\Domains directory and that the product is installed in the default location.

Learn more about using SmarterMail for your email accounts and company-wide chat.


A slight variation on this topic. I need to move V15.x and V16.x servers, as is, to s new location with a different IP subnet. Besides obvious DNS changes, server NIC changes, and individual domain IP changes inside SmarterMail, are there any other issues tying the former IP(s) to SmarterMail re activation, licensing, functionality, etc.?
Mike Leo (7/3/2018 at 1:09 PM)
Hi, Mike. You can have 2 instances of SmarterMail running on 2 different servers for up to 30 days. Therefore, after activating on the new server(s), you can leave the old ones up for a week or so, just in case. After that, simply turn them off, re-provision them or simply uninstall SmarterMail from them and you're good to go!
Derek Curtis (7/5/2018 at 7:08 AM)
Curious - does the new licensing model for SM still allow the same 2 instances for 30 days? Thank you.
Brian Davidson (12/29/2018 at 6:39 AM)
WIll the email accounts sync with the new server or do I need to stop the existing server and move all the existing mail to the new server?
Larry Rampenthal (1/11/2020 at 10:50 AM)
Larry -- as long as you make any necessary DNS changes, if any, the account should sync to the new server automatically. (E.g., MX record changes, hostname changes, etc. if needed.)
Derek Curtis (1/13/2020 at 7:51 AM)
how can I migrate and move from Smartermail version 9 to the latest version 16x?
Craig Richards (5/20/2020 at 5:46 PM)
Hi, Craig. That's not a migration as much as it is an upgrade. A migration would be moving your SmarterMail installation from one server to another. This KB will help with the move portion of that, but for an upgrade, you'd simply want to complete your migration, then upgrade the product as per the instructions found within the SmarterMail Help documentation: http://help.smartertools.com/SmarterMail/current/Topics/Installation/Installation.aspx
Derek Curtis (5/21/2020 at 10:07 AM)