How To Migrate from ProtonMail to Gmail (G Suite) – Fresh van Root

After migrating all our email accounts from gmail to protonmail in June 2017, this week I migrated all email accounts from protonmail back to gmail.

there are several reasons for that, here are some of them:

  • Innovative features missing in the webmail client that make use more productive.
  • Calendar feature, promised for years, arrived in beta in late 2019 It is still missing many features, such as sending invitations.
  • scheduling emails to be sent later. sounds awkward, but for tactical reasons, I want to send an email at a very specific time a few times a month
  • email became less important to us, a lot of work is done in slack, trello, asana, microsoft teams, google docs, and anything else our customers use.

Other than that, all innovation in protonmail happens in the “security” and “encryption” space. protonvpn is a nice plugin you get as a professional user, but it doesn’t make up for what we miss.

Before making the decision to migrate back to gmail, we also looked at superhuman, consider, and others. we are already using g suite and therefore paying for gmail, it is the tool that we already know and it does not require us to learn something new.

I’ve researched how best to migrate from protonmail to gmail (g suite), and there seem to be several solutions available. i tried some of them and this is the only solution that worked for us.

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Note that this is just a few mailboxes, if you want to do this for 10 or more email accounts you may need a more sophisticated process.

requirements

  • must be protonmail professional user
  • protonmail bridge installed and configured
  • outlook synced with your protonmail account

Step 1: Save all your emails to a local pst file

in the file menu of outlook, there is an open/export function. use the export to a pst file option. you can choose which folders you want to export.

make sure you have synced all your protonmail emails before exporting. If you have just set up protonmail bridge and connected outlook for the first time, this may take a while. my protonmail inbox had a file size of 6gb, depending on your connection it may take a while before the sync takes place.

note: the pst file contains all emails including attachments.

step 2: enable gmail for your g suite organization

We already use google g suite, but the gmail app has been disabled for all users. You can activate the gmail app for your organization with just a few clicks.

If you’re just signing up for g suite, you can run the g suite setup wizard. keep in mind that you should plan an hour or so to do this. keep in mind that this goes way beyond setting up email for your business.

You don’t need to change the mx records now, that’s the last step after the import process is done for all mailboxes.

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Step 3: Download and run the g suite migration app for microsoft outlook from google.

this google app will upload your pst file to your gmail email account.

You will sign in with the google account you want to upload the pst file to.

for protonmail users, email is the only thing that will import, there is no calendar data to migrate.

uploading a pst file with 5gb took 8 hours. keep that in mind. the file is uploaded from your local pc to google. if your connection drops, you can re-run the tool and just load the delta, that’s a good thing!

step 4: login to gmail and check if all emails are there

after the import is finished, you can login to gmail and check if all the emails are there. you will see an imported inbox label in the left navigation bar of gmail.

step 5: change the mx records of your domain

In the g suite admin panel, go to gmail settings.

click the mx setup instructions link for detailed information on how to change the mx records.

step 6: remove the connected domain from protonmail

Find the protonmail settings and domains and delete the connected domain. you can also remove the dns records you added when connecting protonmail to your domain.

notes

you can export your protonmail contacts to a vcf file and import it to google contacts

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protonmail provides an email export tool. you can export to mbox or eml format. the app (in beta version) crashed when i tried it.

conclusion

protonmail is still a service I’d recommend using, but if security and encryption aren’t top of mind for you, there are better options available.

There is a lot of innovation in the email space. many startups are rethinking how email can be more fun and productive to use, which is not protonmail’s approach. going back to gmail is a temporary solution for us and we will evaluate other services during the year.

thinking about switching to protonmail? check our publications:

  • from gmail to protonmail: the marketers perspective
  • how to use protonmail with google calendar (g suite)

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