Hell, Google even manages to classify emails as spam that are sent from one address on a GSuite account to another address on the same account.
This is just one example. Others include:
- insisting on captchas,and not just one, even when I'm logged in with my >10 year old, paid for account with two-factor enabled
- not being able to detect flag attacks against legitimate accounts (as seen on the front page today)
- killing reader, trying to force everyone to use a single identify, then at the same time name their otherwise brilliant social network the same thing as the hated identity solition
- then killing said social network
- not being able to even keep the quality on their flagship user facing product (for us who knew it 10 and 15 years ago what we see today is a mockery.)
I hope someone here can submit applications for next batch of YC:
- like Google search in 2008. I'll happily turn off your adblocker for you and be glad to see simple, relevant text ads. Or pay up to USD5 monthly if thats better (more if necessary and if the quality is good enough, although at some point I'd probably need to expense it.)
- like Google+ but not owned by Google
- like Google Reader but not owned by Google
And, probably also (unrelated to Google):
- like stackoverflow but focused on answering questions, not playing political and nitpicking games
- like WhatsApp before they were acquired (and with a strong guarantee that this new company will stay independent)
For search engine I'd suggest duckduckgo, it's far from perfect but I don't see any other viable alternative, if anyone knows anything please let us know.
For messaging I would suggest Signal. The problem there is that most people don't know of it and they won't ditch whatsapp to go on something that their friends won't be on.
That's the same problem that a new social network is going to face. I think it's safe to say that if even Google with all their capital couldn't make it work, then it's going to be extremely difficult to find investors to bet on a random guy's idea. Facebook with all the shit it has been and done has almost 2bn users, how are we going to convince even 5% of them to abandon it for something new without anyone they know there?
I already use duckduckgo. It is not as good as Google used to be but a lot less annoying - and Google is not as good as it used to be either, so I consider duckduckgo best now. Also trying with Google after duckduckgo is faster than the other way around.
I already Signal but although more and more people join, nobody uses it for day-to-day texts and family updates.
Everyone I know uses Telegram and even after following all discussions here I'm fine with that.
> That's the same problem that a new social network is going to face. I think it's safe to say that if even Google with all their capital couldn't make it work, then it's going to be extremely difficult to find investors to bet on a random guy's idea.
Partly agree. But I think an Instagram or WhatsApp style bootstrapping of a new social network is still possible and no one has stepped up to take the plave of Google+.
Remember, it was Google that ran it. I suspect it was utterly mismanaged.
A number of things can work very well even if Google can't make it work.
And with the '!g'-bang you can still have privacy and use google.
I'd happily pay significantly more if it's good. The amount of time I'd save with a good search engine will easily be calculated in hours per month. $50 a month to save me 5 hours and lots of mental energy not spent on skimming useless results? Where do I sign up?
Since Reader was shut down, we've gotten a lot of really good options for RSS.
Feedly, Inoreader, TinyTinyRSS, Newsblur, The Old Reader, Feedbin, FeedHQ…
And perhaps empty it once a year, if necessary. (Ie so that replies to emails older than a year don't rank better than random emails.)
It depends a bit on volume of spam compared to legitimate emails. GMail knows about all of your past outgoing messages anyway, but the bloom filter would allow to quickly drop spam.
Google is already using Bloom filters to eg check locally in one service whether a cache in a different service is likely to be able to answer a query.
I have a domain, which I'll refer to as @mine in the following. It's a .net domain that I've had for 20+ years. It has never been used by anyone other than me. Before I had it, it was owned by my employer which had bought it for me as a gift and transferred it to me. They were the first to ever register it, but never used it for anything.
@mine has never sent spam, or any commercial email at all except for either replies to received commercial email or to contact businesses I was a customer of or wanted to be a customer of at their support or sales addresses.
In the early 2000s I think spammers occasionally forged @mine emails, back before SPF was a thing. I added an SPF record when those became normal, and later DKIM and DMARC records. The various online checking tools tell me that these are all set up correctly. I've never had a hit checking for @mine with the various online blacklist checking tools.
I did some experiments a few months ago, when @mine was handled by a server of my own, running on a VM at Rackspace. All the test messages were short, with no URLs or images, mentions of money, or anything else suspicious. Thing's like "Bob's birthday party will be Saturday instead of Sunday. Can you make it?"...i.e., innocuous innocent things that ordinary people might send to other ordinary people.
@mine -> gmail.com: went to inbox. It shows that SPF, DKIM, and DMARC all pass. I'm not sure that this was a valid test though, because I'm pretty sure that Google knows that me@mine is the same person as me@gmail, so they might give it preferential treatment.
@mine -> yahoo.com: went to spam. I marked it as not spam, and sent another one. That and subsequent messages went to inbox.
@mine -> outlook.com: went to spam. I marked it as not spam, and sent another one. Went to spam. Repeat the mark and send thing several times. Still goes straight to spam.
A couple months or so later, the Linux distro I ran my server on was rapidly approaching EOL for long term support, and I moved @mine to Fastnet.com and cancelled my Rackspace account. (The only other thing @mine was a very low volume web server...I moved that to Amazon Lightsail. $3.50/month for that + $3.61/month for Fastmail is less than 1/3 of what the cheapest Rackspace VM cost (and I was on a grandfathered plan there that was cheaper than any of the current plans).
I repeated the experiment with @mine now at Fastmail, to see if the problem at outlook.com was that I was running my own server at a public cloud.
@mine ->gmail and yahoo still went to inbox, just as they did at the end of the first experiment.
@mine -> outlook.com: still to spam. A few more cycles of mark not spam and try again did not change this.
I own another domain, my ham radio call sign in .us. I grabbed that when I got my license, and have never done anything with it. It just had whatever standard parking page Namecheap uses and whatever standard mail handling they provide when you register a domain there and don't do anything with it.
I switched @ham mail handling over the Fastmail, and tried the experiment again.
Same results as the first @mine experiment. Gmail never went to spam, yahoo went to spam once, and then to inbox after I told it that one was not spam. Outlook straight to spam despite repeated attempts to train it otherwise.
I also tried marking @ham as a "safe sender" in outlook, which is supposed to bypass the spam checking. Nope. Still straight to spam. Some Googling turned up reports on MS support forums of "safe sender" not working, and it appears that this has been a long term problem. (I also found that sometimes my "safe sender" list would disappear. Outlook.com, at least via the web interface, seems rather flaky). (I saw some other posts that suggested that using rules was also insufficient...apparently rules processing takes place after spam processing?)
Finally, I sent a mail from outlook.com to @ham. After that, mail from @ham went to inbox.
It would be nice to try now with a third new domain, this time sending from outlook to @third before ever trying to send to outlook, and then seeing what happens to the first mail from @third to outlook. Actually, it would be best to also do this with @fourth, with the first mail from @third being a reply to the mail from outlook, and the first mail from @fourth not being a reply.
But I don't have any other domains. Maybe the next time I see a really cheap domain promotion at Namecheap I'll grab a couple and try this. They've got .xyz for $1/year right now. Maybe if I get bored enough with the COVID-19 "stay at home" I'll grab a couple and give it a try.
I'd rather pay someone to sort out such issues for me. The $5 p/m or so I pay Fastmail monthly are far cheaper than my own time.
It's best to test when you set up email, whether you use your own server or use a provider.
Most of the times, sending mail from your own server will guarantee your mail gets into spam folder.
I can highly recommend Yandex as a mail provider.
Fastmail has continued to make significant improvements, while keeping the interface lean and functional.
It seems to me like $3/month is worth it for a service as critical as email.
: https://www.maxmasnick.com/2013/07/19/fastmail/ and discussion here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6069944
If you think I'm saying no one should still be using email (the collection of standards and protocols, that is) then you are correct.
And they are making open standards (JMAP) and contributing to the Cyrus IMAP server.
Moreover, they will soon have labels :) (currently in beta).
But in general, I am excited to see anyone moving to their own email domain, decentralized is how email was always supposed to be.
EDIT: A huge terms issue with PurelyMail is "The Company may, at its sole discretion, terminate service without cause or notice." FastMail can terminate for violations of the terms or non-payment, PurelyMail could terminate you because Scott just doesn't like you anymore.
As to the terms of service, as far as I know the clause you quoted is fairly standard cover-your-ass. I've probably seen it in a few other service terms. Presumably, Fastmail words it as they do because they've covered all the reasons they might want to do so in their terms already, and have decades of legal experience.
Your service running itself is a good idea for avoiding you doing a lot of work, but if you got hit by a bus it is likely someone would shut off your credit cards that pay for services your services depends on and even if it's a box in your house it will end up unplugged. I'd strongly advise some business continuity involving a very trusted friend or family member who can be your second in managing the service at minimum, who has access to everything and knows what to do already.
I hope you don't take my comments as too much of a knock, what you're building is hard and worthwhile, and I wish you success with it. I'm on FastMail but that doesn't mean I always will be, and I like to have good options by good people.
I also hope to solve any bus factor problems before leaving beta. Right now if I were struck down, I think I'd still have about 9 months worth of free AWS credits on the account running the service, plus any profits. (It's not quite a self sustaining business yet, but it's not that far from it either.)
Anyway, good luck getting away from gmail!
Keep up the good work!
Unfortunately there aren't any easy answers. You'll have to be persistent.
I shelved my one main doubt (I don't think much of Roundcube) and started the process today. Seems like you've done a really good job. Recipients have been getting all my emails, and I have found the integrated migration tool invaluable in getting set up.
Good luck with the venture.
"could" or "would"? Is there something in place, and have they agreed to this?
I'm not sure saving $2 a year is worth using a self-proclaimed (according to its website) beta service. Then again Gmail was in beta for many years.
In my opinion, the fact that people would pay more for Netflix than their email provider is kinda crazy, when you think about their relative importance.
But I think Netflix is extremely cheap/good value if you enjoy the content.
PurelyMail seems to charge by storage, not mailbox address; and AFAIK so does Migadu (which, up until reading this post, I thought was unique in that).
They do allow infinite aliases which covers most of my needs, but when I wanted to use a FastMail box for my home automation system's service account it didn't make sense to do so.
Not exactly the same as hundreds of individual addresses/inboxes, but may fit some people's needs.
I've been using Zoho like this now for a little while and I am pretty happy with it considering the price.
There is an undocumented limit though. You can generally only have upto 30 aliases.
1) use your own domain(s)
2) take frequent backups
so, even if the purely mail dies, you have access to historical emails and since you own the domains you can migrate to another provider pretty quickly and again, since you own the domain any accounts that are connected to that email address/domain combo are not impacted.
To me, the comment that you can just manage your own backups suggests that the service isn't right for anyone nontechnical or technical people who are too busy to backup a hosted service.
but someone who cannot do that is definitely not going to move off of free Gmail/Yahoo mail/...
Installing Thunderbird and configuring the account, while more involved than the above, is still within reach of many non-technical users.
I think most people don't backup because they don't think they need to, rather than because they are unable. Unfortunately, they're wrong.
My argument is that people really should use POP3 (not IMAP) for this reason.
POP3 by design creates a continuous local "backup" that contains the entire history. IMAP doesn't.
• POP3 doesn’t have the concept of mailboxes. All you will get is the messages that exist at the time of request, not any folders you’ve put them into or labels applied.
• If you delete a message on the server, it won’t be deleted locally, which means that your backup does not represent the current state of affairs.
Also POP3 is definitely designed for the “download and delete on server” approach, and various tooling may have limits on it because of that. For example, if you get Gmail to fetch from some other server over POP3, it stops working after there are 50,000 messages. This undocumented limit bit me some years back when I used Gmail in this way, and it didn’t even notify me that fetching had stopped working! It was two weeks before I noticed that no new messages had been coming in from that source.
> POP3 by design creates a continuous local "backup" that contains the entire history. IMAP doesn't.
I refute this. IMAP is a synchronisation protocol. Clients can choose to operate fully online (performing every operation on the server), fully offline (downloading everything from the server and operating locally) or a hybrid (e.g. keep only the last 30 days of messages locally). The protocol, and most clients, are fully capable of creating a continuous local backup containing the entire current state of the server. Is this “the entire history”? Depends on your definition. I’d argue it’s more true of IMAP than it is of POP3. But it’s not like a Git repository showing what happened and when. I know of no email protocol that provides that. But you can make it so yourself, e.g. sync IMAP into a maildir that happens to be a Git repository and commit after every sync. That would have the entire history, at the resolution of IMAP fetch.
A legally sound strategy, but not one that embodies trust. And I'd argue being able to trust your email provider is very important.
Since a billion people use less trustworthy providers, apparently not.
Of course then the problem is to identify a reliable email forwarding service that won't go anywhere.
A bit tongue in cheek, but always have a back up strategy and move on whatever seems best to you, not to someone else.
I don't understand how Gmail managed to get to this point. One of the original selling points of Gmail was the snappy interface. And it's regressed massively. And it's not like the interface is complicated.
Yeah, I'm shocked how much slower Chrome is than Firefox here in 2020. Never expected this.
That said I do practice inbox zero, so it might just be spending time on loading a lot of mail?
seduction makes everyone do its best, over time you rot
time for a new challenger ?
As they say, storage space is not an issue in the 21st century, so the only differentiator between plans is the only thing that matters: the number of outgoing emails. You can have as many domains, as many aliases and as many addresses as you want, that's not a technical problem so there's no reason it should be a financial distinction.
They have full DNS capabilities and very nice UI (minimal JS, loads super fast).
Over the last month, I started getting login timeouts and that was the last straw. Recently I noticed that they put up an announcement saying that they are running at very high loads due to the COVID-19 situation. I'm not quite sure how people working from home affects normal email (I guess people are emailing a bit more?) but anyways once the announcement went away, I still kept experiencing issues so I migrated my primary email over to fastmail.
Service is reliable, considering the cost, but communication isn't their forte esp for an email company. :)
This sounds like an advertising company. A person's inbox is the holy grail of info about them.
I don't think I want to use this company for my email. Change my mind?
I don't personally use Migadu but I've had it bookmarked as the "service I would probably use if/when the day comes".
No, it doesn't mean something different in French.
1. January 2019: Bought a domain name and registered for FastMail.
2. Progressively over the following months: Every time I got an email sent to my Gmail address, I'd either unregister for that service or change it to my new FastMail powered email address.
3. Early summer 2019: Logged out from my Google Account in Firefox, and created a Firefox Container where I am logged into my Google account in case I would need it
4. Deleted Google Maps app from my phone
5. Logged out from my Google account on the Gmail app on my phone
A few tips I can share:
* If you have this email address registered at FastMail: firstname.lastname@example.org, emails sent to email@example.com (where x can be anything) will be forwarded do firstname.lastname@example.org. I found this very useful when using it to sign up for various services.
* You can register as many aliases as you want in FastMail. For example I have my personal email address be email@example.com. I also have firstname.lastname@example.org registered as an alias, so if I sign up for some online service I can use email@example.com as my email address.
The things that I've found hardest to migrate are:
* iMessage. I've used my Gmail address as the primary iMessage handle, so that's what people have been sending messages to. Not sure what'll happen if I remove it from my Apple ID.
* GitHub. I've used my Gmail address as my email address in Git for years. Removing the Gmail address from my profile in GitHub removes the connection between those commits and my profile. For now I have it as a secondary email address (or whatever it's called on GitHub) for this sake.
* YouTube. I want my viewing history, channel subscriptions, etc. Maybe I should create a new Google Account just for YouTube?
Looking at the typical Amazon concern that "longer load times cost millions in sales" that you hear, it's crazy to think that gmail doesn't measure the uncached load time (or they do and are happy with 20 seconds).
Anecdata: I mostly use my phone for email, so most of the time I load the gmail web interface the cache is cold and it takes this long. It bothers me the one a month I load it.
That said, I've found Gmail to be pretty sluggish even after loading, so I use it via email clients with my other accounts.
Controlling the address is key to switching services and not being shut off for ToS violations.
I wrote about it more here https://meagher.co/own-your-email/
I am trying to move away from gsuite. The thing with forwarding from there is that it goes through spam there first, meaning you really have to check it (my accountant screwed up their spf records recently, leading to a lot of confusion). Using the account directly sucks, you have constant switching and gsuite accounts can't do things like family sharing.
Forwarding services, even implementing srs still can't rewrite dkim, so you get weird reply to addresses than again often trigger things ending up in spam.
I think the best solution while keeping everything together in the Google ecosystem (drive, docs, calendar, etc.) is probably an external provider you do pop from to your standard Google account, then offlineimap style backup Gmail somewhere else. Then you still have arbitrary delays in fetching!
Basically, everything is terrible.
If you're on paid G Suite, you can tweak the Default routing setting  in Google Admin to forward all emails to a different domain.
I believe this bypasses Gmail's spam filter (Google might reject some mail during SMTP — I've never had a problem with mail delivery to Google though, unlike to Hotmail).
So the additional arguments for staying with Gmail are:
1. Stability. Google as a company is not going anywhere. Can you say the same about smaller companies?
2. Backend infrastructure. Google has some serious backend managed very professionally. I am pretty comfortable with my email data being safe with them.
3. Security. My guess is that the Google security team has more people than the whole development team of Purelymail or even Fastmail. They know how to resist attacks from state actors, massive DDOS, etc.
4. Spam filters. Having 1 billion active users Gmail has a unique ability to detect spam. Smaller providers, no matter how good are their antispam algorithms are, just do not have access to such amount of data.
That said, I share some of your concerns about Gmail and thinking about moving to ProtonMail.
Google might not go anywhere but your access to it might. And when their automation directs them to ban an account, there is essentially no recourse-- they won't even respond to you.
If you have the cash available to do so, the best practice is to renew your domain for 10 years, and then add an extra year every year.
I'm surprised there aren't nonprofits that an individual can entrust a lump sum payment to, to keep our domains renewed for tens or hundreds of years.
For me there are two distinct worries and corresponding solutions. I pay 50 bucks to fastmail every year for the peace of mind that I won't lose access to my data. I pay an 8 dollar registration fee every year for the peace of mind that I'll never have to change my address.
That is key, and really good advice. People with that setup are massively better off.
I still have my Gmail account, it just sits empty (in case). There's no need to delete it.
You can keep the old address and auto-forward emails from the old to the new. I think that's the best you can manage.
- firstname.lastname@example.org for personal emails directed at me only and written by a human being, i.e. emails that warrant my personal response
- <SomeServiceIsignedUpfor>@firstlast.tld for automated emails from services like Amazon, Facebook, eBay, HN, …. These are usually computer-generated emails that don't warrant a response, so they are merely notifications.
The neat thing about this approach is that:
a) the list of email aliases contains all the services I've signed up for, ever
b) I can easily stop a service from sending me emails by simply deleting the alias. In particular, if an email address leaks to spammers, I simply delete it.
c) I can distinguish between personal and non-personal email and can prioritize accordingly. I look at my personal emails more often than at my non-personal ones.
My setup is nearly the same. I use two domains such as firstlast.tld and genericwords.tld.
Genericwords.tld has umbrella aliases for social, apps, subscriptions, orders, etc. I have rules setup up per umbrella alias to delete after 30 days, or always mark as read, or never mark as read.
I originally had service/site specific aliases in mind for easy deletion, but for my setup this creates a layer of friction that makes it quite cumbersome.
I considered umbrella+servicename aliases but those are not always guaranteed to be accepted.
As for me, I use PostfixAdmin (https://github.com/postfixadmin/postfixadmin) to add aliases. Certainly not the quickest method but fairly quick I'd say. Clearly, it'd be even nicer if my password manager created an email alias for new accounts automatically.
Also, I have a few other emails like email@example.com (for signing up to websites), firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc.
The way I have it set up is a wildcard *@firstlast.com and filters to move firstname.lastname@example.org to a folder called username. So I can come up with new email addresses on the spot for specific purposes. Like when I go to the doctor I might give them email@example.com
Ideally I'd have used firstname.lastname@example.org. But since it wasn't available I use email@example.com (fl are the initials).
The reason I use my initials instead of "me@" is because some clients show that username as the sender, and it didn't look good to have the sender be "me".
firstname@firstname[first character of my last name].com
Although... I do have firstname.lastname@example.org but unsure how "professional" that is, so I use it for other newsletters/subscriptions
I use the mynickname.com one to signup to services and firstlast.com for personal.
Honestly for me the $50/year to fastmail to worry about worrying about my mail is worth it, and their webmail/mobile clients are great if that is your thing.
Really the main thing here is to move your mail over to a custom domain, and these guys really make that a lot cheaper. $15/year for the domain and another $10/year for mail is absolutely worth it to remove your mail provider as a single point of failure in your email.
PS - if you are looking for a good android mail client, I have had good luck with K-9. It takes a bit of getting used to when migrating over from the built in android mail, but if you stick with it and figure out how to configure it correctly it works great. The main configuration changes I had to make were putting a shortcut for 'move to archive' and getting android configured to let it run in the background so notifications work correctly.
(Yes, yes, this is the same company that lost the data on their cloud servers.)
How often do you need the mails from years ago? Archive them to a local mailbox and include it in your normal backups.
I'm waiting for voip.ms to enable mms support then I'll probably roll something with asterisk. Although I saw https://github.com/zoenb/mx-puppet-voipms the other day.
I also don't think they require you to give them your phone number.
Running a mail server is not difficult, and I firmly believe that deliverability is quite solvable. This was basic sysadmin 101 about a decade ago, one skill of many that's getting lost in the S/I/PaaS ecosystem.
Then I ran a mail server for our small family business. And of course, we had DKIM, SPF and DMARC. At first, everything was great.
Then we started having bizarre deliverability problems to a growing provider of corporate emails. So after trying a number of solutions, we settled on SES. All was great again.
Then we started having weird deliverability problems that resulted in bounced emails to an accountancy firm. One of the public IPs ended up on a blacklist. This got fixed fairly swiftly. Things were good again.
Then it happened again.
Yes, deliverability can be solved – the question is for how long. Maybe we chose poorly with SES, but it seems other providers have had problems. I ultimately concluded that it's really not worth the hassle, and we ended up with the email provider that was causing us the bulk of the problems. It was a difficult pill to swallow, and I realize that I've done my part in making the problem worse. But sometimes, life is too short.
The world was different a decade ago. We didn't have overzealous spam filters by default that self-reinforce their awful decisions. I appreciate that spam is a really hard problem. But the solution we have is worse than the problem: we've just made an oligarchy of email, where not even all the big players have the clout to keep themselves out of blacklists all of the time.
And with all that said, for a personal email server, I still might self-host – but I'd be prepared for emails to not get reliably delivered.
That said, by no means am I claiming that email deliverability is easy!
And then of course spam filtering, DKIM and whatnot, maybe a nice web interface, ...
Running an SMTP server is easy. The rest? Not so much.
Rolling your own is great. However, it's not for most people and requires constant monitoring and maintenance.
I don't need fault tolerance if it is going to be down for 10 hours I don't care. If I run it I am going to fix it anyway and retry registration process for whatever I needed mail.
Spam filtering use 10minute mail or something for crap that you don't care. Give your mail address to people and companies you actually want to deal with. Better just keep some spam box on free provider where you sign up for crap.
I don't care about web interface I have multiple boxes anyway so I have to use client app where I can see all stuff at once. (why people think you can have only ONE "THE ONE" mail address for everything?)
DKIM and stuff does not matter if you send ONE EMAIL A MONTH or two. Mostly what people do is that they receive stuff (registration mails for crap).
That said, if you send out bulk mail like in 1k a day you really need DKIM, SPF, DMARC and stuff.
If you run company email server it might be better to do it with email provider or get marketing to send mass mails with mailchimp or sendgrid.
When you want to run mail server for friends and family you are just being silly and if there will be 10 hours downtime you would not care about... Guess what your brother in law wanted to sign up for free month april on por..ekhm...pluralsight and he is going to be mad at you (and you should not tell that to your sister).
DKIM matters if you want to not have to tell people to check their spam box whenever you correspond with them via email.
I send all kinds of test stuff to my own gmail accounts and other providers. Unless you send really a lot email or unless someone marks you as a spam it is not an issue.
Blocking spammers is about rate limiting, if you are "nigerian prince" - one email a day - is not going to help you finding a person who wants to help you. Ideally you would like to send emails to everyone at once to find that one special person who wants to help you.
You don't need fault tolerance. It's nice, but not necessary. How often is your VPS or colocated server going to go down, anyway? Email is meant to deal with transient issues.
Web interface? Again, you don't need that at all.
Constant monitoring? No. Maintenance? Certainly not constant.
Otherwise I run plenty of own infra, both on VPS's on DigitalOcean and on my home server.
I use the account as my primary Google account which includes purchased Android apps, and I make pretty heavy use of that Google Drive with several external organizations.
I'd like to move just my email away to my own hosting, but I'm worried Google might do something sneaky when they realize my MX domains no longer point at them.
I haven't herd of anyone attempting to migrate just their email from a Google on a custom domain while trying to maintain the rest of their account and that fear is the only thing keeping me on Google.
Quite frankly I’d love to ditch it entirely because Google frequently makes crazy stuff inaccessible as a result - I can’t use Android screen time limits for the kids, I can’t sign up for Google music family plan.
Problem is - I have loads of purchases on the accounts and there’s no way at all to convert them to standard Google accounts and no way at all to transfer the purchases. It’s maddening...
Actually it is possible to use your own domain with even a regular Gmail account (although not straight-forward), and it works well -- I know because that's how I have set it up.
Requirements: own domain with MX records pointing to your server(s) running SMTP software
Receiving: SMTP server forwards to gmail account, SRS (Sender Rewriting Scheme) takes care so SPF doesn't fail, DKIM just works.
Sending: you configure Gmail to use your SMTP server for sending.
Gmail side: add email alias and verify it, the "reply" function is even smart enough to use the correct alias depending on the "TO"
Besides the bonus of "owning" your email while still using the goodies of Gmail, having "catch-all", being able to easily migrate if shit hits the fan, there were also some other things I didn't realize until doing this:
You can save a local copy of the emails on your server (nice extra backup).
You have access to email logs, if you are worried about reliability you can just check it on-the-fly, you don't have to wait for the "email delivery failed" notification.
A: You're paying Microsoft for a service, and that has many more features than gMail.
B: I believe Microsoft is more transparent than Google.
C: You remove the identity (IAM) part of Google from your Email and separate yourself from Google's Ecosystem.
D: Finally doing an IMAP migration gives you an independent copy of all your email to date. You can also download all your data from Google too, through some obscure settings page.
Having your own domain.
Enable DMARC/DKIM if you dare.
Enable hard failure on SPF.
All that you need.
Running your own server is HARD there are projects that make it easier like mailinabox, but it is HARD and annoying work. If you ever want to see how annoying it can be, load up shodan.io and just look up postfix CVE + postfix version numbers.
Granted O365/Exchange is it's own thing and can become a headache, but there is tons of support available and it's meant to be portable and easy to move away from.
gMail is Google. Google is designed to trap you in forever. :(
If anyone is looking for how to do this: google.com/takeout
Also IMAPsync works well for migrating email into another provider.
I find it hard. I have hundreds of website accounts, all registered through Gmail. I don't even know all the websites I have accounts on. Switching all to use another mail address, would be at least very tedious and would take a very long time.
Also I have many contacts mailing me on my Gmail address. Making all those people use another address would be hard.
I can redirect Gmail probably, but that would mean still using Gmail.
Also, using Google's services is very convenient. And the only other provider which the same level of integration and which has e-mail, online docs, calendar, storage is Microsoft. And you have to pay if you want to use docs.
Maybe I'll use different providers for different services, but I 'll lose the integration.
And Google tries to make your life harder if you are not using Chrome and you are not logged in into Google account. You' ll see lots of recaptchas triggered if you use Firefox or Edge and you'll get the bot treatment if you try to access next pages in Google search.
What i did is, i automatically forwarded all incoming Gmail emails to my new email@example.com address.
Then when someone sends me an e-mail to my old Gmail account, i simply reply to it from my new firstname.lastname@example.org.
That way contacts will gradually/eventually update me in their contact lists... it worked really well.
> I have hundreds of website accounts, all registered through Gmail. I don't even know all the websites I have accounts on.
It doesn't matter, just keep using them and register all new accounts with your new e-mail address.
You can slowly update your email address in old accounts over time, Gmail will stay accessible anyway.
It's not an alias, but you can effectively get this for free with any mail provider by using a plus sign (+). For a really extreme (and awesome) example, see:
He suggests using emails like: email@example.com. The benefits are that you get a lightweight alias that you can filter on, but you also get a canary that tells you which site sold your email address when you start getting spam to it! :)
The service I used is ImprovMX. YOu just setup your DNS records, and they handle your domain emails. Any number of aliases and redirects you need. Their free tier is very generous with 10 domains, and I think 15-20 aliases per domain. Super easy to get my family on there for our family domain and my other custom domains.
I then made a new standard gmail account, migrated everything I could, repurchased apps, and then just forwarded my email to the gmail account after detaching it from GSuite. It was fairly painless on this front.
You can do email alias sending of emails with any provider, but ImprovMX has SMTP services now that get rid of that pesky "on behalf of" label of your emails. It is part of their Pro feature set, but that's just $9 a month for a ton of features and peace of mind. Full DKIM support and the such.
You can even setup a custom domain as a login email for your GMail and most other services, so you can login with it just like you would with GSuite.
Now I know this is a post about moving away from Google, but this could be a stepping stone, because once you do all this. If i decided I want to use Fastmail, PurelyMail, Outlook, Yahoo, or whatever the hell else I want. I can just change the target email in ImprovMX and it goes to the right place. The rest is all just import/export from gmail.
You can just GYOB to make detailed Maildir format backups of Gmail, and either restore them into another gmail account, or find a way to import them into your new service using similar tools.
Or just keep a local backup, use NotMuch or a NotMuch UI like Neit Viel to search/lookup your old emails, and start fresh in your new place.
One little gotchya if you do this. Gmail saw the initial set of ImprovMX emails as spam or fraud for a few emails as they would come from 1 email, but had ImprovMX redirect info. SO be sure to double check spam folders for a a few days for miscategorized emails. Once the spam blocker learns ImprovMX is ok, it will start working as normal. (Thought I think ImprovMX improved something on their end as I have even seen this particular thing happen in a while.
A trustworthy deduping tool (whether operating via IMAP, or on local maildirs) would be useful. I've seen a couple around when I've searched in the past, but would like a recommendation from experience before running something over some gigs of archived mail.
- D tells mutt to delete messages by pattern
- ~= is pattern which selects all the dupes in current folder
- $ finalizes the command
But I can understand this is not for everyone. Personally I got some problems with DNS misconfigurations and file access rights at first but got it working perfectly after a day or two.
Then there's also general reputation, and blocking non US TLD's.
It depends, you really need to have the other party check their email server logs or do a mail trace to find out WHY but then comes the chicken and egg - how can you contact someone via email if their server is automatically purging your communications.
Anyways, after some consideration I went with fastmail for my primary email but I will definitely check out purelymail for my other low-traffic domains!
Of course - this also led me into the rabbit hole of realizing that my email is not backed up anywhere :)
When I was evaluating options for hosting an email address from my own domain, two things sold me on Purelymail:
- special characters allowed in the name, like "~"
- the pay-as-you-go pricing
Any domain name provider will allow you to create personalized mail addresses for a total cost of around 10$/y.
Then -> imap -> Thunderbird.
And you're set for life with a nearly unlimited set of features.
It's easy to backup.
It can sync between different computers and mobile phones.
I don't get why he would chose something else.
Unaffiliated BTW. Just find that their storage saves space compare to Maildir and pretty scalable compare postfix. It also allows unicode email addresses.
> These options include rejecting, quarantining, or delivering email with modifications. For example, you can route mail to Gmail and an external server or set policies that vary by organizational unit.
That way Gmail becomes a single point of failure like any other service; you will only lose the mail which didn't arrive during the outage, which will then usually be resent at a later time. But you wouldn't care that much if they lock you out, since you then can change the MX records to point to the external server.