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Ask HN: Simplest email setup for slicehost-ed domain?
20 points by wr1472 on June 6, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 24 comments
I have a domain setup on slicehost for a project I am open sourcing soon (http://wsl.xqoob.com), I want to setup email for this domain but do not want to go through the hassle of setting up and administering email servers myself.

Question: What's the easiest/lowest overhead way of creating an email with a @xqoob.com extension for this slicehost account?


Google Apps is free and fast to set up for mail@yourdomain.com


Works for me, too. I'm more than comfortable maintaining all kinds of server side stuff, but mail is just too much for me. Spam in particular is a pain--Google's spam filters work really well, and you get a good web interface to boot.

One caveat: Yahoo! and Hotmail often block email originating from Google Apps accounts: this has happened to me (with personal emails) from two separate domains (one of them is a work one).

Slicehost has an article on how to set this up: http://articles.slicehost.com/2007/10/25/creating-mx-records...

Watch out for the limits though: http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en-uk&an...

So if you're automating a newsletter, bear those numbers in mind.

Same. For Slicehost this is pretty much a given ... why waste your resources on processing and storing email when you can offload it to google?

this is what I do too...

If you're only interested in receiving email, Google Apps for Domains is great. If you need to send it (for example, as part of your service), you should check out AuthSMTP (http://authsmtp.com/).

You can also use Google Apps for your Domain to send emails. I even wrote a Rails plugin for doing just that:


There may be an outgoing limit, but I've personally never encountered it.

We actually send mail through Google Apps and our rails help ticket system. Just got hit with a sending quota the other day. Didn't get a number, just that we sent too many.

Why do you need this? Google will accept mail via authenticated and encrypted SMTP so you can use standard tools to send your mail.

If you're looking to configure mail from your slicehost and you do go with the Google Apps option (that's what I use), you might like to have a look at this guide to getting sSMTP working with Google:


I can't recommend sSMTP enough to anyone that doesn't want to maintain a mail server. All UNIX systems should be able to send mail and this is very much still the case on modern Linux systems, but this is often overlooked.

I also am using the sSMTP + Google Apps combination. It's fantastic and even if I bork up my server I can still send and receive email to my domain.

Google Apps is a good way to go, but personally I prefer Dovecot and Postfix for my email servers.

I agree -- maintaining your own email server is no harder than maintaining a web server (or anything else). The default configuration of exim that comes with Debian works well enough for me. (Although I did need to tweak it to add spam filtering and support for my "legacy" qmail addresses.)

I also buy DynDNS' backup MX service. That way, if I fuck up my server, I will get my mail as soon as the server is back up (instead of whenever the sending server decides to resend it, which could be never).

I disagree that it's as easy as Nginx or Apache (webservers), but with Google, there are treasure troves of information about doing it yourself.

Great tip on the DynDNS backup service! Have you noticed any downtime or caveats from this service?

Google apps had email for free when I signed up, but not it's $50/year.


Ideally, you wanna look for hosted mail services; all you would have to do is update your DNS records and set the MX records to their servers. You would then point your mail reader to their servers for IMAP/POP and SMTP.

Postfix is not too hard either, but spam will give real pain.

Google Apps is still free, you are linking to the business edition which is $50/year

glad to be wrong! cheers.

In the latest Ubuntu, mail setup is much easier. Might be worth checking out. It isn't fancy out of the box, but it might be good enough and you can iterate and extend later.


If you do go with Google Apps for your Domain, you can use the following script (in Ruby) to automatically configure the appropriate DNS entries on Slicehost:


Run it from the command line and it'll setup everything for you.

I've used this script and it's saved me a lot of work. It reduces the time setting up DNS from 30 minutes (give or take depending on how many CNAMEs, A records, and MX records you need) to about 10 seconds.

Google Apps definetly. As mentioned, the interface is great and search functionality is offcourse excellent. (Not to mention storage)

The overwhelming consensus seems to be Google Apps. I did come across this whilst briefly looking into the problem. I will most likely go down this route, even though I am not afraid to setup and administer email, it is not my primary concern and would much rather offload that to a 3rd party.

thanks all!

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