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Ask HN: After Google Apps and Outlook, which email provider for custom domain?
22 points by spocked on May 5, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 42 comments
Recently Outlook stopped their free email service for a custom domain. Some time back Google Apps had stopped their service.

I need a single email with my custom domain. Any recommendations for another provider? Any reviews on Zoho?

Thank you for your time




I use both for years.

The Microsoft solution for your problem is not Outlook.com - it's Office 365 and/or hosted Exchange. They have a slightly different -- in my opinion better and definitely faster - web UI for the latter.

Being a Google Apps user basically means you have a Google Account associated with that user. Being a hosted Exchange user does not imply that. In other words, you can use an Android phone with a Google Apps account, but with pa hosted Exchange account you cannot log in to a Windows Phone, you need a normal Microsoft Account. In my opinion this is good, because your email is not related to mobile purchases and so on.

I personally find the hosted Exchange/Office 365 solution much better, mostly because it's only about email (+office stuff, if you buy it). It's not polluted with anything else, it does only a few things but it does them well.

Fastmail.fm is a completely different option, I am using that as well, their biggest problems are: - lack of proper push email (on mobiles) - lack of good contact management

Calendar is coming soon as far as I understood, and they're the fastest.


> Fastmail.fm is a completely different option, I am using that as well, their biggest problems are: - lack of proper push email (on mobiles) - lack of good contact management

I'm a paying Fastmail.fm user, but I really hope they have something planned for push email, otherwise I'll be looking for another provider when my renewal is due–which is a shame, because I really like them otherwise. I understand that this is as much Apple's 'fault' as anything (for not supporting IMAP IDLE on iOS) but to me, as an end-user, it doesn't matter why it doesn't work, simply that there are other providers who have made it work regardless (e.g. Rackspace).


Fastmail.fm is a completely different option, I am using that as well, their biggest problems are: - lack of proper push email (on mobiles)

Plus the fact that their servers are hosted in the US.


They all suck from experience in vastly different ways. I'd do one of the following:

1. Use webfaction's shared email service at http://webfaction.com and stick to IMAP. This is an old fashioned shared hosting system.

2. Use digital ocean or linode and build your own mail server.

I do #2 and have four domains and am happy with it. I don't have contact and calendar sync - that's the only problem but this doesn't really bother me. There are hundreds of open source CalDAV and CardDAV solutions available though for all platforms.

With these solutions you are free from the chains of a single vendor as they are easy to move and won't have to worry about getting shafted by Google/Microsoft etc. Three of the four domains I host are refugees from the recent live domains being shut down fiasco.

Or you could pay for Google apps and cross your fingers every day that they don't deprecate something you need.


I don't think building my own mail server would be feasible. I'll check out web faction. Thanks.


I strongly second Webfaction. Been using them for 3 of my domains for nearly a year and have yet to come across a serious (or minor) outage.

I use Owncloud to sync my calendar and contacts b/w my Android phone and PC.


Have you tried FastMail.fm? It's not free, but has a fast web UI, excellent IMAP support, customer service, etc. Search other HN threads to see what others think of it. (disclaimer: I co-own it with some of the other staff)


I have no association with Fastmail other than as a customer. They're reliable and great. They have a decent free trial period to see how things work.


It is hard to find a good provider at a reasonable price. At the end, I went with Gandi and I am using only IMAP. My wife is using both IMAP and the provided webmail. But please notice that I am based in Europe. I am not sure where the mail servers are located. If you are on the West coast and the servers are all in Paris, then it will not be that fast.


I am not sure where the mail servers are located.

I asked them about this some time ago, and they said their mail servers are in France.


Most domain and cheap hosting providers give you a free SMTP server for domains.

Use this in conjunction with a normal Gmail account. Incoming mail is sent to your Gmail via a simple redirect.

For seamless outgoing mail, configure Gmail to send via the SMTP server for your domain.

For bonus points run http://gmvault.org/ somewhere to keep a perfectly restorable copy of your Gmail in case of disaster (this can be restored correctly with all labels intact unlike many simple IMAP or mbox backup solutions)


nice answer!


Zoho Mail - http://www.zoho.com/mail/

There is a free signup with option for 1 custom domain.

I use it, works great.


I use zoho too, with 1 custom domain for about 2 years without issues. It's free. The email interface is kind clumsy, but I rarely use it. I go on pop3 mostly.

On the negative side, zoho is a USA based company.


I use Zoho Mail, it's good.


http://www.gandi.net/ includes a 1 GB IMAP account with every domain purchase.


We are launching an offer in that space very soon.

Our site (currently only in French), http://mlstate.com shows a bit the solution we're building.

Expect much more news before this summer.


Your "demander une démo" link uses javascript that launches a mailto: link. The end result is that I can't use it because I haven't set up my browser's mailto-handling properly and I also cannot cut and paste the email address because the href is simply "#".

The site looks great though.


I'm using Rackspace Email [ http://www.rackspace.com/email-hosting/ ] for several domains. You don't need any other Rackspace services, but there is a 10 mailbox minimum. There are two options: exchange and rackspace. The rackspace option is cheaper ($2/mailbox) and used to be called webmail.us - it support IMAP and push without issue. The exchange one is more expensive ($10/mo) but is a full exchange backend for your end users who need outlook. Both services are pay on demand, no contract. The other added bonus: Rackspace will take all the "I can't send email" calls for you. I routinely tell my end users to just call Rackspace for email issues instead of me. That alone makes it worth it's weight in gold.


One start-up I use to be at used Zimbra, http://www.zimbra.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFfCgIJpSf4 --- Worked good, moved fast, nice UI.


I use a Zimbra based webmail account at one of my employers. I quite like it and am looking for UK hosted Zimbra or moving the personal Web server from pop3 to imap and installing the 'community' version on the shared hosting.

My current shared hosting provider gives out pop3/authenticated smtp or IMAP as part of the hosting deal but only has a basic web mail interface.


I never thought I would be in the 'roll your own' camp, I have been addicted to Gmail/Yahoo! for quite a few years for my own personal use. I also know the orthodox view that running your own server takes too much time, forever needs updates and such like.

However, I recently did build an email server and it works a treat. The enormous complexity and the lack of a decent guide was a problem, plus there is a lot to know. Fortunately I did know a bit about PTR/SPF/DKIM and so on and so forth, but I don't think things like Postfix (even if you use them) are fathomable. For me the trick was to get it to work, as in send/receive mail, then to work on making sure the delivery works without stuff going down some black hole.

I have not bothered with a webmail frontend, e.g. Roundcube (which has been updated) as, in my experience, webmail frontends can get character sets mangled etc. I am using the normal email on my phone plus normal 'Thunderbird'.

I have not had some sea of spam or hackers wanting to do nasty things. Now it just works and my build can survive a few apt-get type upgrades, reboots and resource problems (the kernel hasn't killed the mail server things).

I built my mail server because I wanted to read email with code and that is kind of dependent on having your own email server if you are doing lots of developer things and you don't want to be mysteriously barred from some service you have no control over.

There are no limits on what I can do with my own box, if I want emails from domains x + y to go to one particular box, or accounts Alice and Bob to go through to Cheryl's account then I could do that with some extensive manual reading and a huge amount of time lost getting it to work. I would probably lose that time anyway doing it the Microsoft Way, but, at least I won't hit a wall of impossibility.

As mentioned I have changed from 'don't roll your own' because it is allegedly about as silly as reinventing the wheel, to seeing 'roll your own' as important to do and not as hard as people imagine. Clearly things might be different if I had fifty or so people wanting calendars and what not, I would go for a hosted, paid for thing under those circumstances out of cowardliness and not wanting to be blamed when it went wrong.

I must say that email is surprisingly hard once you get to the nuts and bolts of it. Email clients and webmail services do a lot of stuff to present a straightforward, easy to use interface. However, conceptually, I don't believe email needs to be hard.


Do you have any good documentation for setup? Can you provide some reference, most of the documentation is either outdated or incomplete.



I've been using Zoho for my custom domain e-mail, and it's worked very well for me so far (almost a year).

I hope they don't drop their free e-mail service, but if both Google and Outlook have stopped, they might consider it :( .


(Zoho CEO here) Don't worry, we will continue the free!


Thank you! I'm really happy with your service and I hope to use your paid services in the future :)


Checkout atmail http://atmail.com They have done excellent work with the web interface, they are really cheap and have excellent support. There is an on premise license as well as a cloud solution and they provide some neat API's for accessing the email server as well. The entire solution is built on an open-source stack as well. You can download a trial for free.


I can recommend https://mykolab.com/ based on Kolab (http://kolab.org/).

They value your security and privacy highly. The data is hosted in Switzerland.

Also you can have groupware features like calendar and address book with open and standard interfaces like CalDav and CardDav.


About a year ago, I got a free email address with Google Apps on my custom domain by doing the Google App Engine workaround (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/google-appengine/pVZfd...). Does this not work anymore?


Fastmail.fm


We've been using Atmail (http://atmail.com) for some time (self-hosted) for my company. Works great. They offers a hosted service too now. Nice UI/UX and offers full calendar/contacts and Push.


I had the same question. One of my friend wanted a custom domain email solution, I found ZOHO, but the services it provides has limitations. Had to fallback on email service provided by the hosting service.


Why not set up forwarders? Simply setup your email on whatever service(every domain registrar provides one), and forward emails to another gmail. In your gmail account setup a from address. Done.


The issue with this is that you still expose your gmail address (not very professional). The recipient will see something like "Sent from name@domain.com on behalf of username@gmail.com".


Not necessarily. Google pushes that option because it's easier to set up but you can send from Gmail through your registrar's or whoever's SMTP server. Your Gmail account acts like an e-mail client in that scenario.


I thought that, at least until a couple of weeks ago, Google Apps was free for 10 users. Either this changed, or I'm not understanding the question correctly.


It has not been free for 2 years now, only for domains registered before mid 2012.


I generally use mailgun.com for email forwarding. It's not ideal when replying, but it does the job to start with.


https://mail.yandex.ru - Putin`s guarded mail!


Rackspace and FastMail.fm


i would also like to know this




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