I appreciate putting up a list like this. That said, I want to comment on one of the listed drawbacks:
> Occasionally, obscure email servers will block emails sent through us
I have a few years of experience running my own email server and I can tell you this is a major pain in the ass. When you send your email via a small email server (a server that sends a low volume of email), you will have constant issues getting mail delivered. Also, most of the issues will not be with obscure email servers, they will be with Outlook and Gmail. When you send email, you will never know if your email will be delivered to inbox, delivered to spam folder, or blackholed entirely.
> We're not a suitable platform for sending marketing emails (although you should use a dedicated marketing platform anyway).
Please explicitly ban people from using your platform to send "marketing email". Clients like that are going to ruin deliverability for your other clients.
In my personal experience, over five years of running my own business and personal email entirely and another decade and counting since of running PBXes that directly send voicemail messages, Gmail has only explicitly blocked me once, and that was 100% legitimate because the site the PBX was located at had an infected PC. It occasionally will filter messages to the spam folder, but that almost always means one of the users actually flagged a message.
I could send an email to myself from a bogus address via raw SMTP over Telnet to port 25 and I'd be willing to bet my week's pay that Gmail delivers it. They might mark it as spam, but they deliver reliably.
Microsoft on the other hand is a massive pain in my ass. They usually work, but about 4-5 times a year they seem to randomly pick one of my systems to treat as suspicious and block emails from. The process listed in their block message always works, but it's annoying to have to deal with regularly, especially with no rhyme or reason.
Yahoo is the worst, they straight up block everything I do with no recourse. I have one user who insists on using his Yahoo email and I basically had to tell him we don't care that Yahoo won't accept messages.
One domain has a small mailing list of about 200 users. The @yahoo.com addresses (and related, Yahoo-handled domains like old @att and @sbcglobal domains) are often just dropped.
Gmail addresses frequently go to spam, especially newly-added domains. I have found that having multiple @gmail users mark them as “not spam” tends to help, but not always.
My email server has had the same IP address for over 18 yrs, fwiw.
It's impossible to reach humans that can help. It's impossible to unlist. So I'm now on my third IP, my last one running mail for 4+ years, from Digital Ocean. Only now, occasionally, does an email get through.
I'm almost 100% confident that Microsoft just blanket blackholes or punishes anything from Digital Ocean or Linode.
The cost of swtiching IPs within those providers is low, so spammers have already abused that, and made life worse for the rest of us as a result.
Then I set up my own bare metal server and put it into a real datacenter serverhousing. I had couple of problems at the beginning and later once a few years later - problems sending to microsoft - but all those were resolved rather quickly via their forms. And I haven't had any deliverability problems since then.
The serverhousing I used is very strict regarding spam reports. I once tried to use the server also for sending newsletters (no spam lists, just emails which explicitly subscribed). Someone reported it as spam once and serverhousing contacted me soon after that they don't tolerate any spam. I explained that it was not spam and that there was unsubscribe link but I decided to not use it for any kind of marketing again. I think specialized services are better for this.
My "blacklisted" email company is Zoho because they consistently greylisted and blocked our correspondence with clients and have no one to contact to resolve email issues for senders.
Outlook/Hotmail is kind of stupid in this sense: if the first time, a new domain send an email they are very likely to flagged as spam. But if the user simply reply or send to that email, the moving forward hotmail won't flagged it. In other word, hotmail rely stringly
- is this domain new?
- is this ip address start to send email new?
- if I interact with this sender in the past
Seems thing with icloud and their proofpoint spam filtering.
gmail in other hand, has the best delivery rate, clear error message, great rate limiting and cool down period.
gmail is very smart, if we accidently send spam(due to our failure to filter out spam), gmail won't blocklist the whole IP, but hotmail/icloud does.
And the process to delist from them homail/icloud are just absurb. I'm unable to contact their team.
I'm starting a new company where email connection to my user base is essential. From time to time I also need to sen all users certain notifications which looks kinda like marketing email but isn't.
Could you contact me as I would like to ask your opinion on the configuration that I'm trying to set up. I would also like to discuss your experiences.
If isn't too much, you can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
sendgrid is dirt cheap for transactional emails. And there's tons of offerings for marketing emails; I'm partial either to sendinblue or ses depending on your use case.
There really isn't much reason to roll your own, particularly with ses.
The worst offender is Microsoft and their email services (hotmail.com/live.com/outlook.com/etc.).
They reject all emails from my server, because it's on DigitalOcean. They are ignoring all requests to unblock my IP address.
They don't mark it as spam, they just outright block emails, so you can't even workaround it by checking the spam folder.
And there’s no reason for them to do that IMO. They should dump it into the quarantine as high confidence spam. I wonder if the drop shows up in the mail flow logs.
I deal with a lot of small businesses and more than once I’ve seen bad spam filtering or silent drops cost people money (upset customers). The spam filters I can understand. The silently dropped messages should get them a class action lawsuit.
Microsoft sucks for rejecting email without recourse, but you're on DigitalOcean, so can you really blame them?
IMHO there’s never a reason for Microsoft or Google to drop mail silently if it’s deliverable. Let me decide if I want to do that, but don’t force it on me.
Google is awful too. Accounts locked for “suspicious activity” stop accepting incoming mail. I’ve seen people lose a day of email over a weekend before noticing ta false positive account lock.
What it really comes down to for me is that I don’t think either of them could act that negligently in a fairer market with better competition.
Gmail seems good, I never had issues with Gmail.
Delays are fine by the protocol, it's not a violation, it's not IM.
I tried marking them as not spam, to see if it would learn. A dozen later--no change.
I tried replying to them, to see if it could figure out that if I'm actually regularly corresponding with someone they should not be marked as spam. No change.
I tried whitelisting the domain. No change.
The average user probably sees this full spam folder as something he/she is doing bad, or the service itself is bad.
It's not just google or microsoft. I think most email providers do this, I might be wrong though.
I run my own VPN on DO and almost always get hit by ReCaptcha. Even Google.com will put up a "we've noticed some unusual traffic from" page. Some sites like Zalando completely block me with just a plaintext error page.
Nobody can send emails to Gmail with any certainty. Not even Google.
I'm guessing spammers may use Google Docs comments as a platform, but have never seen actual unsolicited Docs comments.
Biggest mistake of my life.
Just as you say, I have no idea if my emails get through. The number of times I’ve had people tell me they found my email in a spam folder or just not at all is unacceptable. And you’re right, this is most prominent on outlook and gmail users but not exclusive to them.
How would you like your accountant or lawyer to miss your emails? It happens to me all the time now. These are not emails with cat pics.
I’m scared to move back, fearing an IMAP migration will cause me to lose a year of emails sent and received.
I don’t know what to do.
If you manage your domain and point your mx at google, and some ai decides your drive contents look bad or some non-official youtube app violates some api access rule and they kill your whole account, you just point your at any other service provider.
That will be an annoying few days, but you don't lose anything too important. Maybe for a day or so you can't receive password emails, but you will, just after the switch shakes out.
In the mean time, you're enjoying the convenience of a big mail service, and playing the odds that it's probably not going to happen to you, and it's ok to live with that risk because if it happens, it's just an inconvenience not a disaster.
As for losing old emails, I use thunderbird on my laptop, and that ends up getting a copy of all my gmail even though I also read those same emails on my phone. If google kills my account, I still have all my old emails even without my own domain.
I don't know if google even offers domain regisration to individuals, but if they do, I just wouldn't use them for the registrar. All other services can tolerate that risk as long as you use someone else as registrar (namecheap is good).
The local copy is client dependent. Mail.app on your iPhone will not keep a local copy of all your emails if you have a large number of emails spanning a long period of time. Other clients may vary.
I've had my main personal domain with them for a decade and never had a problem.
After 2 occurrences of my mail goes into spam folder, I became paranoid and always BCC my gmail account for every important email.
In the end I say "what the hell" and subscribed to O365. Google Workspace is too expensive for me.
I run my own obscure mail server and have not had an issue in years, except for ATT. I'm super low volume - I run mail for about 20 humans, a few mailing lists, and some other automation that does things with email.
I do things correctly - I mean, I run nearly the same stack/configuration (scaled way down) as I do professionally for my employer, which delivers 8 digits of messages a day all over.
But that doesn't explain why I don't have problems and others do - lots of people get this right and still have problems. And I think that comes down to the fact that mine has been on the net since the mid-90s. So, unfortunately, I suspect the answer to a lot of these problems is 'exist for long time' - until your MX is associated with a bias towards "not spam" in everyone's filters.
I can think of ways for existing mail servers to vouch for new ones, but I don't think there's any reason for established ones to want to do that, so it wouldn't work. I'm not sure what the answer is.
 And after many, many years of attempting to resolve it, they can bite me. I got annoyed enough that they get a custom bounce from me now on the rare occasions someone tries to spam me through them.
I do agree however IP reputation matters. If you share an IP with other hosters, or your IP has been recycled from a bad reputation IP, or you have a residential IP or have found your way onto any of the email spam lists recently, or been reported for abuse or marked as spam enough times by freemail service users, you may have trouble getting to 'inbox' and eventually even getting delivered. Reporting systems like DMARC should let you know, however, before it becomes serious.
I don't think running your own email is a high maintenance activity that some suggest (especially for small servers) but it is definitely more effort than outsourcing it to someone else. I'm glad services like this exist, if only to prevent email becoming a Microsoft-Google walled garden.
There are other factors like IP reputation of the email server sending the email. And if you’re using a hosted service, there’s no way to control those IP addresses.
I'll make a note to make that language stronger.
When I was finding a new job last year, every time sent recruiters an email with my resume (attached as a pdf), I had to ring them afterwards to check if they had actually received it.
I ended up switching to Google Workspace, just so that my emails actually had a chance of not landing in the recipients spam folder.
The amount of spam come from .xyz .top .cam etc are too hight and sysadmin usually factor domain tld into spam scoring.
so using a .com may increase your chance hitting inbox actually.
My sister-in-law's employer's mail service (k-12 school district) ALWAYS bounces back email from myself and my wife, and their sysadmin always says "Nope. Not a problem on my end."
I tend to disagree, due to my experiences with running a private mail server .
I've had one exactly one issue with Outlook/Hotmail servers over the years.
My server is quite low traffic, but it's been delivering mail reliably. How do I know? When I send mails, there's usually follow-ups.
And when there's no follow-ups, you just assume your mail has been delivered? I recommend actually measuring your deliverability before making claims about it.
If I'd still be getting blackholed with a "250 delivered" in my logs, then screw it.
I would even argue people hosting their small selfmanaged mail servers helps preventing monopolization, eg. "only allow mail from google".
The most common type of problem is that mail is delivered but placed into the spam folder. You will not be notified of this with a bounce or anything in your postfix logs.
> If I'd still be getting blackholed with a "250 delivered" in my logs, then screw it.
This is another type of problem I've encountered. It's rarer than the spam folder, but it happens.
If I learned anything in that time is that email is not simple, and should be run by a qualified dedicated team, because there are so many pitfalls
That’s hyperbole. I‘ve been running my personal mail server on a VPS for the past 20 years and never had any delivery issues. It may depend on the hosting provider you use, and nowadays you probably need to have DKIM etc., but there are a lot of people running their own mail server without issues.
Gmail is hit or miss, even when dkim/spf/dmarc are setup correctly. It may work 70% of the time, but it becomes a constant guessing game if you inboxed or went to spam. If you're using DO/Vultr/Linode, there may be issues with noisy neighbor IPs, but it still sucks that you may get penalized for no fault of your own. It seems like there is no incentive for Gmail to play friendly with small mail servers.
This is great! Thank you!. I scored 2.7 out of 10. I'm using NameCheap's Private Email service. What a waste!
Age may be a factor. I ran email for my domain on my own server for a long time too and generally had no delivery issues.
When I got another domain a few years ago and ran it on the same server it had a lot of delivery issues.
Probably. Although I switched both IP and domain a couple of years ago (not at the same time) without noticeable issues.
No email server in the world can deliver 100% (not even Gmail). Here you are claiming to have done that for 20 years straight. Well, it's not true. In fact, I'll venture as far as to guess that you've never even measured your deliverability.
I'm Scott, feel free to ask me anything about the service.
I hope you have personal contacts on the Gmail team at Google, much as I’d like for this to be a joke.
My domain is a year older than Google itself and has been in continuous use for e-mail that whole time. The IP addresses it is on haven't changed in a decade. But that didn't matter. DKIM, SPF, DMARC, forward and reverse matching DNS, exactly four users who do not send spam under penalty of being buried under legal solicitations for green cards, and all the rest didn't help. Randomly getting sent to /dev/null for no good reason. And not enough traffic to qualify me to use their Postmaster utilities.
Three years ago I gave up and ported to Fastmail with a tear in my eye for the days when even the smallest net on the Internet could be a full participant.
I lost a lot of business back then. Thanks, Google.
It’s a clown show. The opaque filters are just an excuse to engage in anti-competitive behavior IMO.
I find it sad that that‘s pretty much a waste of time now for most use cases.
The good news is that if you have postfix, using postscreen with an informed choice of blocklists is enough to deal with 99%+ of inbound spam. You can strap in rspamd or spamassassin/amavis behind that, but it's mostly not needed.
The inbound-mail-problems are largely solved, but surefire delivery to other parties is a matter of IPaddr/domain reputation, properly implementing relevant standards, and luck.
If you're interested in learning more about (including, but not limited to, self-hosting) email, the #email channel on the libera.chat IRC network is a great resource to ask questions.
I had this issue with SendGrid years ago: long story short, after discussing with support and eventually an engineer it turns out they weren't just looking at the status codes, but at the status messages. I don't recall the exact patterns they used, but they will retry if the message matches a fixed set patterns, and otherwise it would just discard it.
There was some back-and-forth over this, because our customer just had greylisting with the "wrong" error message. To be fair, they did turn it off for a few hours and took the conversation serious (none of this "we have passed it along", never to be heard from again) but they got back to us they turned it back on again "because the queues got too large". I mean .... okay.... Seems rather curious to break a fundamental aspect of email because "muh queues". Not having to worry about this sort of stuff is exactly why we're using SendGrid in the first place :-/
My experiences with MailGun were also not exactly stellar. At the time at least, these people literally did not understand how encodings worked and would mangle e.g. Greek or Hebrew emails in ISO-8869-7 or -8. Why? Well, turns out that "emails should be in ASCII or UTF-8 and there is no way for us to know which encoding is used". Ehh ... there is literally a header telling you... I sent a nice detailed email explaining this: no reply. Some follow-ups over the course of a few weeks: no reply. A not-so-nice snarky email inquiring whether the entire MailGun team was suffering from a horrible debilitating disease and if there was anything I could do to help: "well, we just didn't know what else to do as there is no way to solve this"...
I'm hardly an "email purist"; I understand there are practical concerns and the RFC isn't a stone tablet from the mountain. But this was just ridiculous. There are a bunch of other cases both SendGrid and MailGun are actually quite bad at.
Dealing with email providers is always a frustrating experience.
It appears to support "weak" IP matching:
> All or part of the IP address of the SMTP client can be optionally ignored by DCC clients as far as the greylist triple is concerned. This feature may be useful for legitimate mail systems that shuffle messages among SMTP clients between retransmissions. See the dccm and dccd man pages.
It doesn't quite sound like it does a job of 100% "same email, same sender, different mx in same domain" -but I suspect it works well enough in practice?
> Usually the DCC greylist system requires that an almost identical copy of the message be retransmitted during the embargo. If weak-body is present, any message with the same triple of sender IP address, sender mail address, and target mail address ends the em-bargo, even if the body of the message differs.
> If weak-IP is present, all mail from an SMTP client at an IP address is accept after any message from the same IP address has been ac-cepted.
I can't recall what I used for greylisting last -possibly greylistd.
Anyway, the smart play these days might be to whitelist/greylist via SPF - I'm not sure if spammers (of the variant caught by greylists) generally have SPF?
Ed: although if service providers like mailgun simply ignore rfc and only "sometimes" retries... wwell that's a problem.
It’s possible that my issue was too low a traffic to ‘hold onto’ my score with Gmail, since it was one domain and one email address. With some luck you should be able to have enough traffic to avoid that. Best of luck.
> To activate a trial account, you will need a reasonably modern browser and a phone number that can receive SMS texts.
It makes no mention of the use of a "hashwall" ... It gives no indication of what the user's browser is going to do ... Just a progress meter with a note saying it will take about 3 minutes.
This feels fishy. Especially if a user doesn't know how to get into the developer console, find out what's running etc.
Just completed my signup. I am going to check if the domain that failed to work with forwardemail.net will work with your service.
If it does, then I'll say goodbye to my $36 and hello to your service.
Update: While setting up, I noticed:
- Ownership record content in `code.codebox` does not fit in the content area and extends entirely too far to the right. I had to inspect and copy out of developer tools.
- In general, UI elements seem not properly aligned, contained.
These are not deal breakers to me. The site might actually benefit from going more old school. Trying to fit everything in a narrow box with large font sizes and padding is hard.
Update: I had already clicked on CloudFlare instructions. It's the friendly stuff that has the problems I mention above. The actual information at the bottom of the page is actually displayed the way I would have expected.
Update: After creating the DNS records, I noticed the checks were still failing. So, I replaced the actual IDN in the textbox with punycode and the DNS checks worked. It would be a better user experience if the punycode conversion step was handled by the UI.
Update: Created a new user on the custom domain. Login box does not accept IDN either but the email composer does show the from address using IDN instead of punycode.
Update: I was able to exchange email with a Gmail user. Did not go to SPAM. But, in my reply, Gmail did give a scary warning about the IDN. To be clear, there is nothing the email provider can do about that :-)
I'll try out a few more custom domains and very, very likely switch. Thank you and good luck.
I'll make a note on the UI elements. Honestly hadn't thought about the punycode usecase, good catch.
Yeah, I figured that out, but someone else might think you are trying mine some *coin or something. I am not sure if I would mind it if you did, but it would be good to tell up front what you are doing. It does seem to be a much better than recaptcha.
The fact that it works is good enough for me. I am going fiddle a little more before I sign up, but it looks like this is fills my needs.
Second attempt, and I got a place to put the code. Then, while I was filling up the registration data, the page refreshed and started all over.
Third attempt finally worked...
Not the best on-boarding experience, but hey it really is cheap!
If you need more than three domains, try Migadu(not affiliated, just happy customer), they have no formal limits to their "micro" plan and is cheaper than FastMail. Migadu also allows adding alias domains(something I haven't seen anywhere), basically if you have a mailbox like "email@example.com" you can attach some more domains as alias, like "@domain2.tld" "@domainx.tld" and those will all receive/send/operate as the same "firstname.lastname@example.org". Neat feature I haven't found yet on other services.
12€/yr for 1GB + custom domain + 5 aliases (plus catchall).
But 10€/ month for unlimited storage and users is definitely a good offer, too.
3 Gb is plenty for a few months of "live" email but after that what should we do to keep those emails -- and still have them searchable if need be?
The local maildir account is searchable like any other mailbox (I have about 10,000 messages going back to 2003). Syncthing is configured to sync the maildir directory for backup and sync.
Supporting ManageSieve is a nice touch. Most sieve services only allow managing sieve through a web UI.
I use Fastmail and like that they contribute to open source mail servers, and do standards work (JMAP).
Does PurelyMail contribute to open source?
Some of the libraries I wrote are open sourced and on my Github account, e.g. the web framework: https://github.com/ScottPeterJohnson/shade
I hope you don't find the pain of diverging from the mainline to be too great. We kind of cheated there with Fastmail and Cyrus IMAP by merging all our changes back to the mainline, since there wasn't much other development happening.
(We're also working on JMAP for calendars and for contacts over in the IETF working groups - hoping to publish Calendars by the end of this year)
I think Gmail really shines at this. It's one of the reason I was thinking of switching to Hey email also, though after reading Hey's reviews I've decided not to. So anyway, would love some comments from users or you about how good you are at separating the wheat from the chaff.
In the long run I'm probably going to replace the Bayesian part of SpamAssassin with something custom, simply because operationally it's painful and I think neural nets are closer to state of the art.
1. I don't know if it's the social media kiss of death at work, but I'm getting lots of SSL errors trying to load your site. It's a crap-shoot whether it works or not right now.
2. Seeing this post, I posted this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27711124. If you don't already (did I miss it?) it might be worth tossing up a page or an item in your FAQ teaching people about how they can go about migrating their email address to another/your service. I don't know how easy/hard it is (hence my AskHN post), but the perception is that it's nigh impossible to do.
Hard to say for sure. None of the servers really went above 15% average CPU and I don't think they maxed out net, and the health checker for HTTPS didn't have any problems. I'll doublecheck.
On the subject of migration, I'll make a note to add a FAQ for that, thanks.
Usernames on shared domains:
1 to 6 letters: $1.00 per user per year
7 to 12 letters: $0.25 per user per year
13+ letters: $0.10 per user per year
2. Do you support IPv6?
2. Not at the moment- IPV6 support is a little dicier for mailservers because the scarcer IPV4 address is often used as a antispam signal.
Sadly the lack of IPv6 is a deal breaker for me.
Purelymail also has some domains you can use like I can get "email@example.com" and then I'm charged in the 7 letters tier for it.
At least that's how it's been for me as a happy user of PM for the past year and a half.
firstname.lastname@example.org is cooler for some than email@example.com, and they will pay.
Sure, i use IMAP and have local copy and backup. But Murphy's law, my Laptop die at the same time and my backups were stolen.
Also, I generally don't stop the service for maintenance, unless I need to upgrade the database engine.
>You cannot have more than $50 in credit at any time.
Just curious, why a $50 limit? I'm the weird kind of guy who likes to pay years in advance. If possible, please consider raising this limit to $100 or even $200.
How is the mailbox on phone? My major problem with email hosting is the lack of a decent mailbox service that's available on. Windows, android, linux that's either. One-time-purchase or open source. A monthly fee is fine if for unlimited users (I have a family)
Generally phone access is third party through IMAP. On Android I personally use K-9 mail, but you can use anything that supports IMAP anywhere, which is a pretty good number of options for any platform.
I wish K-9 had snooze-email, it's the one feature (non-standard) I use a lot
(I use a paper diary, YMMV.)
You can still use Purelymail for mail, and have your mail client provide a cohesive mail/contacts/calendar UI.
Obviously you reached the right audience and they liked what they saw to post it here and generate so much interest. Consider me another subscriber!
I am usually the classic "engineer who neglects marketing" archetype. Maybe at some point I'll overcome that.
Same idea as:
Similar idea to cryptocurrencies.
It's a one-man enterprise, which may frighten some people, but I prefer boutique internet companies to the faceless monoliths. (I'd like more of the internet to be made of these small corner bodegas.)
Email is super critical for most people these days (eg. 2FA). That sounds like a really scary bus-factor  risk, especially considering data is encrypted at rest.
Not such a big deal if you have your own domain (you should). Update the MX record and point it elsewhere.
I've switched from Gmail to a similar setup a year ago. Honestly, it's been way easier than I expected, in terms of updating everywhere. And I can just point my MX somewhere else should I ever be unhappy with the current provider.
No delivery issues either so far. Seriously, the hardest part about this whole ordeal was getting imapsync to run, to transfer my mails over.
Not using gmail or another big silo is really not that hard, as HN often makes it out to be.
Obviously, I think Fastmail is worth the extra for the multi-copy redundancy & backups, new features, contributions we're making to the standards world, and not being dependent on a single person - the past few years in particular we've been focusing on not only being able to survive any server dying, but also being able to survive the unavailability of any single person!
Anyway - glad you're happy. Fastmail will still be here if you ever find that you want to move back.
I fondly recall many years ago I had some WebDAV issue and got a reply directly from you saying you'd fixed the issue but you were just heading out to dinner and so you'd push to production when you got back. That convinced a few friends to join too.
After about 10 years, Fastmail felt it was shifting to a more "enterprise" focus, which I can understand, and I just wanted to try something a little more "indie web".
As for enterprise focus - not so much enterprise, but we are focusing more on the non-technical user. All the power is still there under the hood and available, but it's not so much in your face if you don't want it to be!
DMARC reporting could be a huge value add if you could build something in. That whole industry is a massive ripoff and too expensive for small businesses.
Thanks for the suggestion with DMARC reporting. It's not something we're going to work on straight away, but I'll add it into the suggestions for the domain features. Definitely we'd only look at building something pretty basic and low-touch, but maybe that's enough for a lot of small businesses.
a) it's expensive for multiple mailboxes (like even three or four mailboxes) and
b) it's right in the Five Eyes jurisdictions (which I try to avoid as much as I can)
but I do appreciate
a) Fastmail's work on JMAP and can't wait for it to become more widely deployed and
b) frank and straightforward responses (including for example in the threads on the Assistance and Access Bill in Australia)
As an example of where I think the current value propositions are bad, DMARCian charges $240/year for the most basic plan that includes 100k compliant messages in a month. Most small businesses won’t do half that in a year. You probably have good stats to grok that.
I get it on the support thing. I pretty much never use support, so I guess that’s why I always feel like everything is too expensive. I’m always stunned to see how many employees at smaller tech companies are support. Sometimes I feel like I’m subsidizing users that are too lazy to learn.
Anyway, I've already filed the DMARC request internally, and linked to this thread.
For this reason alone, I can't trust that they meet all the security considerations email providers now have as a consequence of all the services effectively delegating either secondary or primary authentication factors (or reset mechanisms) to email.
Maybe it's good for personal use or as a throwaway email, but it is not good for main business email. Certainly not a replacement for Gmail or Fastmail kinds. Because you expect the email service to have 24/7 availability and near-perfect email delivery and receiving.
> It's a one-man enterprise
A person can get sick or just wish to take a holiday for a couple of weeks. What happens when service goes down or I need customer support urgently?
I think the expectation of urgency should be put into perspective alongside the $10/year price tag, i.e. if you need someone to get out of bed in the middle of the night $10 is probably not enough incentive.
That said, any issues or questions I've had have been resolved way faster than I experienced with Fastmail.
Calendar feature is sorely missing though it seems this service also doesn't have it. I guess calendar is a pain to set up/troubleshoot timezone issues, etc
The killer features are unlimited mailboxes and per-mailbox quotas. I make a new mailbox for every device and give them a quota that makes sense; 10 messages per day for most. If a device goes haywire, gets compromised, or gets stolen, it’s one mailbox to fix and maxes out at a super low quota, so it’s useless for spamming.
That’s 100x better than the options on Office 365 which absolutely sucks ($$$) for low volume email coming from devices.
The biggest annoyance is that someone used mx, mx2, mx3 for their MX instead of mx1, mx2, mx3, so the dns record indentation doesn’t line up. Lmao.
(It's been three years since I tried it, and looking at my notes, I couldn't get Zoho to sync contacts for me, and somehow didn't get calendar notifications.)
On the drawbacks blurb, it mentions potential deliverability issues and says they’re usually resolved in a day or two. Through blog entries by mailchimp, I've read this is an extremely hard problem to solve and like playing whack-a-mole. How true is that? For example, I’ve read that trying to host your own email on digital ocean is pointless, which is understandable because of the amount of spam likely coming out of their subnets. Is this service downplaying the issue?
I have had a handful of deliverability issues, but every one of these has been due to one of those awful "enterprise network solutions" that does everything wrong.
I'd encourage you to try doubling or tripling the price so you can afford to hire more people and grow the business :) I suspect the rate of signups will stay the same.
I started out with self-hosting mail-in-a-box . If you really want to self-host, I can highly recommend it. Would be the cheapest option. At some point I decided to let go of it, because maintenance and configuration can still be a bit cumbersome. There was one thing (DMARC or DNSSEC?) which I never was able to set up properly for some unknown reason, even after long hours tinkering around with it...
So I started to look at other mail hosting offerings with custom domain. One thing I like is that gandi offers free mail hosting for a domain you order through them.  That's quite unique for a domain registrar.
Also, be aware that free 3rd-party mail hosting with a custom domain does not exist. I started out with the free plan at migadu, but they switched to a paid plan soon after. 
The same happened to postale.io after a while.  At least I could keep my free plan there.
Zoho is free , but their custom mail application and the countless other services they try to sell you completely put me off.
I believe two of them still exist in Russia.
* Yandex even has a page in English:
* Mail.Ru has a page only in Russian:
> Also, be aware that free 3rd-party mail hosting with a custom domain does not exist.
You can set up a custom domain on a free gmail account, it's hidden away but certainly possible.
I appreciate the dig at psuedo-righteous slogan-eering like "Don't be evil.", "Bring the worked closer together". Just fucking email.
The holy grail for me would be an email service that lets me set up catch-all, with the ability to send/reply with any address I want.
I have this with fastmail. *@my.tld all gets shoved in my inbox and I can send from firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is huge. This is one of those features that just gets omitted by many email hosts (especially inexpensive ones) and has been holding me back from switching away from a very old, grandfathered, free Google Apps for Business plan.
Why? It seems like this is meeting plenty of people's needs just fine. Not everything has to meet your needs.
Posteo pros: comes with calendar and contacts via WebDAV, not registered in the US (Germany is part of 14 Eyes, but not 5 or 9, and the EU is better about privacy), cash payment option
Purelymail pros: more storage @ $10, custom domain support, security key 2FA (though unclear according to docs if this is WebAuthn/FIDO2 or Yubikey vendor lock-in)
Neither: cryptocurrency payment option
Mail is the only critical thing most people run for themselves, really; and if the proverbial excrement hits the fan, mail is useful in fixing the fallout.
Sure, I would be able to acquire the skills to run a mail server, and I know how to monitor it all, and I know about what the moving parts are. But why go through all that hassle to save 10-40 dollars a year?
I can see issues, if you over-engineer and try build some microservice farm in some cloud provider, but simple physical server with DC grade disks in RAID and backup (tested and out of server) is pretty reliable.
Of course, when you really don't want to do it, then paying for someone else is reasonable, no issue with that. But its not fair to make mail self-hosting look like something very complicated and dangerous, I would say that modern web service stacks are more complicated and fragile. Lots of guys here are writing own internet facing software, handling customer data. Compared to that, using pre-existing mail server software isn't that hard.
this makes it stupid easy to set up your server. you have to do little config and you are up and running.
I decided to do miab because i had a necessity of "email aliases" in hundreds. none of these low cost email providers allowed that, unless i went with google workspace or 365 if i remember correctly.
rolling my own solved this issue and for the same price plus the "management headache" which i saw as a personal challenge more than a chore. so i am very happy with the results.
gmail has given me headaches in the start but if i send more than a few emails with attachments to gmail, they still flag all emails as spam so that is a recurring problem but not something i cannot live without
i see this as a hobby if nothing else. maybe others have the same idea
90% spam score comes from message, sending server isn't that relevant (if you base configuration is reasonable: PTR is right, server knows it's hostname and don't EHLO himself as localhost and so on).
You can look at SpamAssassin default rulebase for common rules.
 - https://spamassassin.apache.org/old/tests_3_3_x.html
- Just works
- Minimal downtime
- All features of email supported
- No frills
- Fast support response
- Dirt-ass cheap. I use "advanced billing" and last month's fees were $0.58.
One thing that I don't like with Microsoft and Google's mail service is the need to create new account to have a custom domain mail.
What I'd really miss would the integration of an external adress book (Google), because I wouldn't want to duplicate all my addresses.