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Migrating Stand Alone G Suite Account Into Multi-Domain G Suite Instance.

Photo: Unsplash - Benjamin Dada

This week I migrated a G Suite account from being a stand-alone instance into a multi-domain account. Given that the account was just email, calendar and drive I was expecting it to be easier than it was. The documentation was OK if you find what you are looking for but I didn’t find a single cohesive guide. So, here it is.


I had a G Suite account that was tied to one domain, let’s call it I had a second G Suite account that had been set up to manage multiple domains (a much-ignored feature from what I can see online). We’ll call this domain In order to reduce costs, I wanted to migrate and manage the users and associated data from within .

First, the good news. Google makes it easy to transfer the data between two G Suite accounts. Now, the not so good news. You will need two spare domains to complete this process. Oh, and Google does not provide a way to transfer Drive files from what I can see. Finally, you will need time to prepare and a lot of patience.


The preparation is the most time-consuming part of this process. Having verified the steps with a Google Support guru I am assured this is the most fail-safe way.

So here goes:

  • First you will need to disassociate the users in from the domain. If you have a secondary domain tied to your account then you can move to the next step. If not then you will need to navigate to the Domain section of your account. There you will need to add the spare domain you can use to free up I used To complete this, click the Domains menu item in the top level G Suite menu and follow the onscreen instructions.
  • The next step is to Rename all your users so that instead of them being they will become (or whatever spare domain you have used). You will do this by going into each user and clicking the Rename User option on the left, just under the user’s details.
  • The last task as you are going through your user list and renaming them is to reset their passwords. You will need to do this as during the migration you will need to know each users password. You can do this in the same user screen as above using the Reset Password option.

Now you have updated all the users and the domain in you will need to add the second spare domain to I used and the process is the same as above. Login to and click the Domains menu item on the opt level menu. Follow the onscreen instructions.

One final task to complete is to make sure that is no longer the primary domain in the original account. Log into and navigate to the Domain section and make the spare domain that you have set up the primary domain.

At this stage, you should have your users in updated to and have reset their passwords. You will have also set up the spare domain on

Migrate Data

To set up the migration service that G Suite provides click the Data Migration menu option in the G Suite home menu.

  • On the next screen select “Set Up Data Migration”.
  • Under Migration Source, select G Suite and click Start.
  • In the next screen set the configuration settings as you want.

The next screen is where you set up the user mapping and kick off the user’s migration.

Click Add User and you will see the following screen:

In Source Email field add the account name in which should now be (or whatever domain you used). In the G Suite Email field add the user name and use the spare domain you set up in And finally, set the password and use one that you know as you will need it to migrate the Drive data later. You can click start and the migration process will kick off for that user. Now you just need to repeat n times the number of users you have.

One you are at this point you just have to wait. Coffee time!

Transferring The Domain

Once the Data migration service is complete you can now transfer to for management. The process is easy:

  • Log into the original account and navigate to the Domain section and click remove next to the domain.
  • Log into and navigate to the Domain section and add and verify the domain.

Applying The Original Domain In You Multi-Domain Account

Now that the domain has transferred over to you can update the users added as part of the migration to use the domain. The process is the same used above in the first section:

  • We need to rename the users from the spare domain we used to migrate back to You will do this by going into each user and clicking the Rename User option on the left, just under the user’s details. You will then select the domain and save the changes.

At this point all G Suite email, Calendar and Contact data should be migrated.


Transferring G Suite Drive Files

The Data Migration service offered by G Suite does not handle Drive files, as I mentioned above. The easiest way I could find to transfer files for minimal cost was to use Insync which is a Google Drive client that supports Windows, Linux and Mac OS. I have used Insync for years as a Linux client and it works really well.

To set up the Drive migration you will need to log into both the original and the new accounts as the user, trigger a sync to a local machine and then manually copy the files from the directory on the local machine to the directory and let it sync up.

Finalising The Migration

At this stage all data should be migrated between the two accounts for each user and the final step is to reset all of the new user account passwords under You can then allow you users to log in and verify the migrations success.

Once all users have verified that there are no issues you can then delete the original G Suite account.

Wrapping Up

This is a pretty manual process which works fine for a small number of users. I migrated fifteen. There are programs out there that will automate the process for you at a cost. For my client the costs were prohibitive but the benefit was massive.

Managing multiple Domains via G Suite doesn’t seem to be that well written about on the web. For agencies and consultants I suspect it is an ideal way to segregate your accounts for clients and provides a useful way to set up permissions using Organisational Units and Groups. I will try and write more about these subjects soon.

If you have any questions around the process then let me know via twitter or email.