Email storage


#1

Hey

I have a had website up for a while now and am looking to move. I really love a number of things dreamhost are doing (Price, features, SquirrelMail, willing host anything that is legal etc). I am also very glad they backup hosted sites. My current provider does not do this. (I can download a tar file but thats not really perfect).

I have 11 people using webmail on my current site. I plan to move their accounts over and give them a link back to the old site for a week or two so they can move all their mail over. (I think this should work. Even without my domain pointing to my old site they should still be about to send mail)

My problem is this. A the moment I can back up their mail in a tar file. At dreamhost mail is on a seperate server and is not backed up (yes I have emailed dreamhost about this.)
Now as we all know, users love to keep important information in their mail. All of my users at traveling the world so cannot download their information anywhere. They depend on my site.

One thought I did have was building a webpage, where users could enter their vital information and it would then be displayed for them. I could also password protect it. But then how would they remove old information? They are all very much regular computer users and would struggle with FTP, let alone html etc.

BTW I am not talking about megs of data here, just flight numbers , phone numbers, contacts that sort of thing.

Any ideas?

Thanks a lot
Tancred


#2

[quote]My problem is this. A the moment I can back up their mail in a tar file. At
dreamhost mail is on a seperate server and is not backed up (yes I have
emailed dreamhost about this.)

[/quote]

We do backup our mail, although it’s not necessarily easy to download in a tar archive.

We also provide IMAP access to mail, which means it should be pretty much drag and drop to copy a folder or folders to your local machine if you have a GUI mail client running.

In the future, you would be (easily) able to create a tar archive of all your mail from the command line, but note that it will be in Maildir format instead of the standard ‘mbox’ format - with Maildir, each message is in a different file instead of in one big file.

This is faster and easier for our servers to handle, and is less likely to become corrupt, but is a bit less portable.

I hope that answers some of your questions (at least indirectly).

We keep “snapshots” of mail for at least a week or two, generally longer, and you can easily make your own backups in one way or another.


#3

As for making a web page they can add, update or remove information, just get a hosting plan with a CGI support and write or install Perl or PHP scripts. Then you can have “whiteboards” for your users.

If you can install Perl on your own machine, you can write a script that uses POP3 to download mail and save it to text files. Might not be as fast as logging in to DreamHost and downloading a tarball, but one advantage would be you can then schedule your computer to run the script automatically. Only downside is you would have to maintain a list of the username/passwords for the mailboxes, though you probably do that already.


#4

it might be easier to use fetchmail or getmail for downloading mail to your local machine. this is apparently pretty simple (although i haven’t done it personally).

i know that fetchmail, at least, has been ported to win32, and should run on most *nix type operating systems.

if you have a decent amount of technical knowledge, you could write a simple converter to convert the Maildir messages into an mbox file (basically you just need to stick all the individual files together, and regenerate the second ‘From’ line that is in mbox mailboxes (not used with Maildir).