Archiving personal email

forquare

Well-Known Member

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Morning all,

I currently have a little over a decade of personal emails (~7GB), these are all tucked away in yearly folders that are stored on the server and generally sync'd to each device I sync email to.

I'm looking at moving email provider and thought it would be a good time to move these emails from my 'main' account and store them more offline (likely in a Jail on my home server), although it would be very handy to have them in an easily accessible format, perhaps with a webmail-like frontend for access.

I'm not sure what would be the best way to achieve this. Are there products out there that do it? Would I be best to set up my own email server and do some jiggery pokery with IMAP to sync with my 'main' account and then move mail into the local email server?
I'm not sure what I'm doing in any of these cases! But a great excuse to learn some more about email, and possibly email servers.

Having done searching about archive email, mostly I get archiving in Outlook, or mailing list archives...Not very handy!

Any thoughts/recommendation very much welcome!

Regards,
Ben
 

OJ

Daemon

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Messages: 1,255

I use Claws (mail/claws-mail) for e-mail. It's pretty good for setting up directories the way you like. Looking at my old mails is as easy as clicking on a directory structure of my choice.
 

tingo

Son of Beastie

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FWIW, I set up archives of a couple of old email accounts before they were taken offline. I set up mail/dovecot as an IMAP server, and used mail/imapsync to backup the mails. Having the mails available on a mail server makes it easy to search them when I need to.
 
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forquare

forquare

Well-Known Member

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Thanks for both of your replies. I take a look into both
 

shepper

Aspiring Daemon

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At this juncture, I would recommend looking at the 4 different email formats. They are succinctly described on this web site.

I went with mh format as it is default format for a number of email clients and I like the idea that each email is a separate file.
 

OJ

Daemon

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I went with mh format as it is default format for a number of email clients and I like the idea that each email is a separate file.
That's my choice as well. It's a whole lot easier to be able to delete, move, copy, read, a single e-mail without using any special software. It's less stressful to me and I feel safer that way. I'm probably not the only who gets e-mail related stress - eh?
 
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forquare

forquare

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Having found some time to have a read, I think perhaps something like mail/dovecot backed by Maildir.
The mail is stored in a universally readable and easily backupable format on the backend, and I can use a range of frontends to access my archived mail over IMAP (be it mail/claws-mail, mail/mutt, mail/thunderbird, or (don't hate me too much) Apple Mail).

Out of interest, what has been your motivation to use MH over Maildir?
 

ANOKNUSA

Aspiring Daemon

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mail/fdm, mail/offlineimap, and mail/isync (which I'll refer to as mbsync for stupid reasons) are all very light IMAP programs to fetch mail from a web mail server. The first retrieves mail from a remote server, sorts it according to rules you specify in its configuration, and deletes it from the remote server; the latter two synchronize mail between your local disk and the mail server folder-by-folder.

fdm has the advantages of being a bit lighter and faster and offering extremely fine control, albeit with a steeper learning curve and greater potential for screwing things up. It's a great choice for those who want as much control as possible, but can't run their own servers. offlineimap and mbsync have the advantages of being easy to configure and giving you a local one-to-one copy of your remote mail, so that your local mail is organized the same as your remote mail, and if you move to a new mail provider offlineimap and mbsync will just sync your local copy to the new provider's server as-is. You can also exclude folders from the sync process, so you have all your mail in one place for easy searching and reference without having the programs scan all your old mail every time, and without keeping it all on a remote server all the time.

I know all three can use the maildir format, and fdm can use the mbox format. I'm not sure about other formats, though. Oh, and every one of them have special caveats when it comes to Gmail. Just so you know.
 
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forquare

forquare

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Many thanks for the suggestions, ANOKNUSA , I'll take a look at each them. And to shepper for the explanation :)

Oh, and every one of them have special caveats when it comes to Gmail. Just so you know.

Google free for 18 months (Gmail free for ~3 years) and going strong ;)
But certainly useful for anyone else who may come along to this thread :)
 

cbrace

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If running Dovecot is neither interesting or viable, there is always www/mhonarc for generating static web pages of email archives. It's a bit old fashioned, but check it out.
 
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