Archiving Emails to Free space on email server

This article applies to email accounts that have been setup with IMAP only. IMAP functions by storing all email in your “Inbox” and “Sent Items” folder on our remote email server. When your hosting account reaches it’s disk space limit, you can no longer send or receive emails and your website will be deactivated. This is not something we do to annoy our clients, but rather the behaviour of the hosting software. If you are not sure if you are using IMAP, simply look in your email software settings and look for “IMAP” – This is normally displayed on the same settings page where you setup your email address and password.

Why don’t you offer email archiving services? Email contain’s sensitive information and for this reason alone, we don’t assist with email archiving, other than providing guidance. Can you imagine if one of our support staff accidentally deleted some of your email?

What is archiving?

Archiving is the process of moving email from online folders (Folders on your computer that synchronise to the email server) to offline folders (Folders on your computer only). This process will therefore free space on the email server.

How to archive email automatically?

We recommend that you setup auto archiving on your email software so that it happens automatically. Click on the links below for videos that explain how to automatically archive email:

  1. How to archive email in Microsoft Outlook
  2. How to archive email in Apple Mac

If you find that the above videos are not helpful, the next best option is to search Google. Here are some examples of search phrases: “How to auto archive email in Outlook” or “How to auto archive email in Apple iMail“.

Manually archive email – The section’s below are for advanced users

The main principle that applies to all email software when freeing email and disk space: The goal is to move email from your IMAP folders to special “local”/”offline” folders. These local folders (only stored on your computer) are not connected to our remote email server and will therefore not automatically store email on the server. When you create a local/offline folder using your particular email software (E.g. Outlook), you can in most cases simply drag and drop the email from your IMAP folder to the local offline folder. E.g. You can drag email messages from your IMAP Inbox, to your local/offline folder. By doing this, the email is then automatically moved from the IMAP folder and stored in the local folder.

If you have created additional IMAP folders, these will also be stored on our email server and also consume disk space. E.g. Under the Inbox folder, you may have created sub folders to categorise your emails. For Every IMAP folder you created, you will need to follow the same approach as explained above.

Lets revise what needs to be done:

  1. Search Google for: “Archive IMAP email to local folder”. Follow the steps on how to create the local/offline folder.
  2. Once you have created a local/offline folder, create further folders under this folder to mimic your existing email folder structure. E.g. Create an Inbox folder and Sent Items folder as sub folders under the local folder – These folders wont actually function as email folders, but will help you to archive your email in a manner that will make it easier to locate the archived email later.
  3. Drag email from the IMAP folders into the local folders you created in step 2 above. This process removes the email from the IMAP folder to the equivalent local/offline folder, and removes the email from our remote email server.

Illustration of the approach explained earlier