How to Export and Import Horde Emails for Backup or Transfer

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Looking to backup or transfer your Horde email folders? You might think you can simply transfer the folder files via FTP. While in some instances this is possible, in most the file formatting prevents this method from being successful. Here is an approach that should work in most versions of Horde (webmail). Note that if your folders contain a large amount of email you will probably need to divide them into smaller folders.

Exporting Your Emails from Horde

  1. In the navigation menu at left click on your general “mail” folder (which should contain all your mail sub-folders)
  2. Next, in the menu bar at top, click on “Folders.”
  3. Now select the folder you wish to export by checking its box.
  4. Next, select “Download Folder(s)” from the “Choose Action:” drop-down box.
  5. You will be given an .mbox file to download. Store it in a location you’ll remember.

That wasn’t too hard was it? Next sign in to the Horde account in which you wish to import the mail folder you just saved.

Importing Your Emails Into Horde

  1. Click “Folders” in the menu bar.
  2. Select “Create Folder” from the “Choose Action:” drop-down box and give your new folder a name (preferably the same name as the one you just exported from).
  3. Now select this folder by checking its box.
  4. This time, select “Import Messages” from the “Choose Action:” drop-down box.
  5. Next you’ll browse to the download location you used above and select your .mbox file to import and click “Import.”
  6. Your messages should automatically be imported into your newly created folder.
  7. Double check the new folder and make sure the messages are there and that they are intact.

Repeat this process for all your folders. For folders that are too large (your browser stalls or stops loading on export), you most likely have messages with attachments that are too large to handle. I recommend sorting the messages by size, downloading the attachments from the largest messages and forwarding them on with your preferred email client along with the message body. Then move (or delete) these messages from the folder you wish to export and try again. Eventually you will have gotten the folder down to a reasonable enough size and the export will succeed.

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Is Horde your primary email client?

About The Author:

Alex has been involved on the business side of the internet since the early 2000's. He holds both a Management Science degree from the University of California at San Diego as well as a Computer Science degree from NJIT.

We Rock Your Web had its roots back in 2004 as the tech blog for a web design and development company Alex founded that has grown and evolved into the parent company of We Rock Your Web.

While his foundation is rooted in web development, his expertise today lies in content and digital marketing, SEO, organic and paid search, analytics, and publishing. Alex is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs.

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Oldest Most voted
March 4, 2019 8:26 am

These steps don’t work in cPanel’s Horde Groupware 5.2.22 anymore. IS there any way around it?

December 5, 2017 10:12 am

Is there a size limitation to the export function? I can’t seem to export more than 200-250 emails at a time.

August 1, 2016 11:57 am

I searched for a week or so to figure out how to move Horde emails from Plesk to CPanel. I am so thankful I found your post. This method worked for me. Thanks for sharing!

Sid Raj
December 3, 2015 7:31 pm

Thanks much, really helped.

August 2, 2015 4:06 am

How about exporting contacts from Outlook on Mac to a Horde email account? I’m not computer savvy. The basic import and export I tried didn’t seem to work.

December 28, 2014 5:13 am

Thanks, Alex. We recently moved our blog Tech Race to a new server and were facing issues with the mail. This article helped me to take backup and import it.
Thanks a lot!

December 20, 2014 4:42 am

How can I increase horde fetch mail limit?

Kimberly Alt
December 22, 2014 2:43 pm

Hi there! Thank you for the comment. You can set it at the horde installation path. Set it as the following: /usr/local/cpanel/base/horde/imp/config/

October 30, 2011 8:27 pm

When I downloaded to an MBOX file horde did not give me an option or info on where the file is stored, how do I find it or manage it?

Alex Schenker
October 31, 2011 3:08 pm

It probably downloaded to your web browser’s default download location, which is typically the desktop. If you give us the name and version of your web browser (ie. Firefox 5) we can give you precise instructions where you can configure your download destination settings.

October 18, 2011 3:09 pm

Great this worked for me (the initial solution), but I had to break the inbox folder into smaller sets before the download started.

The mbox import facility is already there in Mac Mail.



July 26, 2011 6:49 am

My email provider uses Horde. I have never had any problem with any of our WinXP/Outlook 2003 PCS receiving email(POP3)from Horde. I am starting to replace some of those PCs with Win7/Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2010 is unable to receive (configured as POP3) from any Horde email accounts. I have verified the Win7 firewall allows Outlook to pass email. Have any ideas?

Thanks in advance,


June 20, 2011 10:48 pm

I cannot import my mbox file into Outlook Express. I have downloaded it from my horde mail…

January 15, 2011 11:47 pm

This is a HUGE benefit – as far as I can tell, none of the other webmail clients provide this kind of backup service. Market this feature – there are lots of seekers on the web looking for this exact solution Thank you so much.

January 20, 2011 11:42 pm

My question concerns the process I need to do in order to access my horde emails from gmail. How do I send them there? I tried to set it up through gmail, and failed several times. Any ideas?

December 13, 2010 8:59 pm

Do you know how you can import mail folders into Outlook?

June 23, 2010 9:03 am

How you save/download Notes from Horde???

August 31, 2010 5:26 am

The directions have been most helpful and most timely. I am becoming a fan of Horde after reading your tutorial. Thank you for putting it together. I would like to make a donation. Is this possible?

We Rock Your Web
September 1, 2010 3:37 pm

Hi there,

We’re glad you found our article useful! Use our Contact form to get in touch about donations.


August 8, 2010 12:55 am

i’d like to know how to save and download lotus notes as well

June 18, 2010 5:31 pm

I need to buy horde mail can any body help me. you can contact me at samglag at yahoo dot com.

We Rock Your Web
June 28, 2010 2:20 pm

No need to buy Horde – it’s a free email utility that comes with your cPanel installation with any hosting provider running a Linux-based server.

June 17, 2010 11:27 am

About to move a friends domain to my server. This saved me a lot of hassle because they don’t have access to the cPanel where it’s currently hosted.

June 10, 2010 12:28 pm

I have several Horde accounts. On some of them, after my local Outlook retrieves the emails, they remain in the Horde inbox. On other accounts they disappear.

Where is the setting for whether they stay or disappear?


We Rock Your Web
June 17, 2010 6:13 pm

Hi there,

Great question. You can usually opt to have your email client (ie. Outlook) leave a copy of the message on the server when it retrieves it. Also, if you use the IMAP (as opposed to POP) protocol to retrieve your messages, a copy will automatically be left there, as you’ll be accessing the server directly instead of moving/ copying messages to and from.

March 12, 2010 12:42 pm

How can I export or make a backup for email messages in horde to outlook express? we are four members working in a company and we use the horde to receive and send e mails and every one has its own computer and all of as use the same user name and password to login in horde mail …. and sometimes we need to backup these mails to the outlook express just in two computers will using the backing up …. how can we gathered the email to gather in one computer ?????

March 16, 2010 5:56 pm

Please can anyone tell me why I am unable to send email from Horde webmail to my gmail account or the Google apps email account?

February 25, 2010 3:01 am

How do I get my username and password for Horde Webmail? I swear I have the right info, but it keeps saying “login failed”. GRRRR

We Rock Your Web
March 2, 2010 4:02 pm

You can log into Cpanel and reset it. If you don’t have access, ask your website host to reset your password for you.

January 6, 2010 3:03 am

Can you import Outlook files to Horde?

We Rock Your Web
January 11, 2010 6:15 pm

You can’t import Outlook files into Horde directly, but you can export them in a format that is compatible with Horde. We wrote a separate article that addresses this issue: Import Outlook Contacts into Horde.

January 6, 2010 7:39 pm

Thank you for the how to. Saving my mails (even zipped) worked great. But unfortunately I can’t restore my inbox (roughly 28MB unzipped) because the upload always breaks off after about 10 – 15 seconds. Should I try to find a tool that helps me split the mbox file into smaller chunks or is some other reason more likely? All hints are welcome. Stefan

We Rock Your Web
January 11, 2010 6:23 pm

You can try finding a way to split the mbox file (we’ve heard of a script that can do it on a Mac), or you can export folders into separate mbox files, and import them one at a time.