Does anyone here have experience of running their own email instance?

Would you say it is viable for a non-technical individual to run their own email service?

Do you have any lessons to pass on?

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Wow!

So many replies so quickly! 😮

Thank you, it seems pretty clear that this is a bad idea, the replies seem to be unanimous!

I'd heard staying off blocklists, filters etc was difficult, wasn't sure if this was exaggerated, but this totally confirms it.

Okay, guess I won't be recommending people start their own email service then!

Would using your own domain on an existing email provider be the next best thing for non-technical people?

@homegrown
A simple and scalable solution: Each domain you buy from Gandi.net comes with 2 free private mailboxes hosted in France. You can later buy more or bigger from them or switch your domain to another provider.

@homegrown I'd say so also because it often goes hand in hand

@homegrown I don't think that makes very much of a difference. If you use your own domain instead of a provider-provided one, the only change from a non-technical perspective is that you don't advertise the email provider.

From a technical perspective, you should also add an SPF record to improve the chances that Google & Co. don't immediately give your email a positive spam score, —i.e., don't immediately categorize it as spam. However, non-technical users might not know how to do that (or even get their own domain, for that matter).

In general, my personal recommendation is to use a mail service that you pay for (and that has a good track record in terms of privacy, like mailbox.org). By paying for the service, your data is less likely to be what you pay with. Naturally, paying for a service does not necessarily mean you don't also pay with your data, but it's less likely than with (especially big) free email providers.

@mezzodrinker

Yes, I strongly encourage people to pay for their services on GYOS articles! Paying for labour is far more sustainable and fair 👍

However, even pay-for services can be bought up, Whatsapp used to be a paid service but then Facebook bought them, removed fee, eroded security etc and people couldn't get out due to network effect.

So, even with paid services it would be nice to have some way out if needed. Custom domain at least avoids others having to update their contacts?

@homegrown

> However, even pay-for services can be bought up.

Correct, but so can the server hoster you put your “self-hosted” services on :blobcatShrug:​ Or the ISP, in case you host the hardware at home—but, in all seriousness, would a non-technical person really do that?

> Custom domain at least avoids others having to update their contacts?

I suppose, provided that you have the possibility to set up your custom email domain with the new provider as well. And don't forget to update your SPF record, of course.

@mezzodrinker

Sure, I agree there are dangers in all these!

I guess I'm trying to reduce the number of eggs in each basket?

For example, if you buy domain from one company and email account from another, hopefully they wouldn't both go bad at once 🤞

I did actually look into home hosting 😁 and there are promising developments, but (apart from the complexity) the hardware is currently too expensive due to stock shortages. 30 euro Raspberry Pis are currently selling for 100+ euros 😞

@homegrown

> I guess I'm trying to reduce the number of eggs in each basket? For example, if you buy domain from one company and email account from another, hopefully they wouldn't both go bad at once

Hm. I suppose I can see where you're coming from. I'm not sure how much a custom domain would help with that, though :blobcatThinking:​ Sure, it makes moving easier because you don't have to tell everyone that you're using a different email address now, but as for actual privacy and security benefits…

> [...] the hardware is currently too expensive due to stock shortages.

Short aside: You don't even need something like a Raspberry Pi (or comparable SBC) to host your services at home. While it's probably less energy efficient, you can also make do with old or defective hardware that is (a) reasonably likely to exist in a household and (b) still powerful enough for pretty much all self-hosting services. For example, @vib is running their services on a T520 that's missing its screen.

Also, off-topic note: I find Mastodon's lack of support for markup annoying.

@mezzodrinker @vib

Not having to change your address in a million different places would be a big help, at least for me!

But yeah, not a panacea for privacy or security (and email itself isn't exactly private).

I'm just going for improvements where I can get them, even if they are partial ("move slowly and improve things" rather than "move quickly and break things").

Thanks for suggestions about hosting hardware, will look into it!

@homegrown

> Not having to change your address in a million different places would be a big help, at least for me!

Granted.

> I'm just going for improvements where I can get them, even if they are partial

Ah, in that case, that makes sense, yes. I was more focused on the privacy and independence part.

> Thanks for suggestions about hosting hardware, will look into it!

No problem :blobcatOwoHappy:

@homegrown
Many paid email providers offer the option of using your own domain name and have built in tools for setting it up. It is very much "follow the bouncing ball".

So, at that point it really comes down to which features are most important to pay for outside of just using a domain name.

@homegrown I'm currently using a service called mxroute.com/ that I have all of my personal and project domains pointed to and use MailPlus on my Synology NAS as the frontend (both web GUI and mobile app). It's not as fast as public services (delivery takes a minute or 2) but I have full control over my e-mails and data so I can maintain my own backups and easily move if ever needed (the frontend stays the same, I just change what servers it's pointed to).

Hope this helps! 👍

@homegrown That's what I do (with Fastmail), but I'd also recommend smaller services run cooperatively such as MayFirst in the US/Mexico (mayfirst.coop/) or Disroot in the EU (disroot.org/). They're a good balance between self hosting and having the expertise of a giant corporation. I'm unsure if they support custom domains, but it couldn't hurt to ask!

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