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Author Topic: Email providers, email hosting...  (Read 1250 times)
drakonic
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« on: April 10, 2023 @854.55 »

Hello everyone!

I'd like to start a discussion on free email hosting providers... Or just email hosting in general, whether from a provider or self-hosted. What do you guys use for email, and how well does it work for you? :smile:

Starting this topic maaaaainly beause I've been looking into changing my provider. I have been using Gmail since, well... I started using email. I've recently been growing more and more annoyed with the advertising, with the innacurate spam marking (many times I've missed emails from other indie web people because of it!) and my space is starting to run out, too. And... Well, with my recent attitude shift towards using Big Tech services... I'd rather be independent from Google.

I've been considering Proton and Zoho. Anyone here use those? Maybe some other free provider?
« Last Edit: April 10, 2023 @943.73 by drakonic » Logged





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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2023 @940.83 »

It's been a loooong time since I used a free email service, so I'm a bit out of touch! I used to use Yahoo for the retro aesthetic, but it was not a good experience!

Proton is ok, I use it as a backup address, but their free tier is super limited (you cant even use your own email client like Thunderbird).. plus I just don't trust the Proton services... I dunno why, but something about them bothers me :ohdear:

When it comes to services like hosting or email, I'm in the "If it's free then you're the product" camp, I think if it's possible for you to pay, then paying is always the best route since a customer will always be treated better than a product (I use Fastmail and think it's great, although a lil pricy!)

Self-hosting is ok if it's not your primary email; but primary email is SO critical, I just want it to work every time without any issues.

I'm curious to hear what other options there are out there, I'm sure there must be a few good indie services :ozwomp:
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2023 @956.63 »

I've used several providers over the years. My first one was AOL, which is still active today. The address is older than half of the people I encounter on the internet nowadays.

I've also used mail.com, Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, the works.
Sadly, there are no great providers that are free and don't suck on your personal data.

Closest I've found is Disroot, which I use for personal emails, but their storage isn't very big. (and they're transparent about why. They're just a locally-hosted service and are letting others who align with them politically, so I understand that. It's good enough for personal, but need something better for newsletters and website updates.

Proton is ok, I use it as a backup address, but their free tier is super limited (you cant even use your own email client like Thunderbird).. plus I just don't trust the Proton services... I dunno why, but something about them bothers me :ohdear:
Your hunch would be right. Protonmail has, apparently on several occasions, given activist emails and data to police to get them arrested.

For the record, we're talking climate activists and peaceful protesters. People like that relied on Proton to keep their info confidential, and they let them down big time. Instead of making any apology, they basically doubled down and amended their privacy policy.

It's been a loooong time since I used a free email service, so I'm a bit out of touch! I used to use Yahoo for the retro aesthetic, but it was not a good experience!

When it comes to services like hosting or email, I'm in the "If it's free then you're the product" camp, I think if it's possible for you to pay, then paying is always the best route since a customer will always be treated better than a product (I use Fastmail and think it's great, although a lil pricy!)

Yeah this is my viewpoint as well. Emails add up over time, especially if you get dozens a day.
I try to instead go for servers other hobbyists are hosting, such as Disroot. This of course only gets you so far, so I don't know what the solution would be for me. I can't afford to pay for a host, unfortunately.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2023 @966.37 by Cobra! » Logged




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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2023 @961.61 »

Personally I'd love to migrate to a better email service (I've used gmail for years so it's hard to wean myself from it even though I don't like google at all). I get so annoyed at spam that I started up a new address for personal stuff just to avoid getting clogged with spam again... It feels impossible to avoid that though -_-
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2023 @963.30 »

I personally use Zoho for my email. It allows you to use a single custom domain for free, plus it allows you to assign as many email addresses to yourself as you want that you can access all from the same inbox (it's great for filtering and organizing your inbox). I'm on their paid plan though because I wanted to use more than one custom domain. I like it, I think it works pretty well. I can see the whole "making an organization" thing being confusing to someone first setting it up, but it's not too difficult to understand.
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2023 @964.84 »

the problem with email is that its an oligopoly

something that /really/ appeals to me with standards like IRC and Matrix is that they're not only decentralised: they're federated, so that you, me, and my neighbour down the street can all host our own instances that we can offer to other folks. email isnt an example of this because, from my experience of hosting email services, you are softblocked and blacklisted if youre not certifying your emails with Big Business Company(^TM). heck, even my email provider (Ionos) gives me the option to send my emails with the Ionos stamp of approval to increase credibility. i dont, and often suffer mail delivery failures when sending to providers like gmail. the problem with communication is that it's two person, and email can only be made a federated software if everyone that uses email chips in - unlikely to happen. with that in mind, email is probably the /only/ thing i dont suggest self-hosting

ionos is pretty decent, but it's paid. i'm more than happy to offer folks inboxes if theyd like (and forwarding email aliases, too!), but it's worth remembering that emails are still stored on a centralised Ionos server. that being said, most email providers support encrypted TLS connections (and theres always the option of setting up OpenPGP if privacy is a concern!), so worrying about E2E encryption isnt a biggie in average email communication.

i've used proton before (i still use some of their services) - i like it, but as @Melooon said: they're relatively limited. a maximum of 5 folders for a free tier makes the life of an average graphical user painful. equally, i appreciate being able to use my own clients


---


anyway, tangential rant over: i recommend Ionos (though bear in mind you need to buy a server and domain for this to be an option; or im happy to host an inbox for you :D), or proton. everything else just doesnt work for me - but that's just me! :D
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2023 @321.74 »

i actually have been looking into alternate email hosts recently! mostly the ~privacy focused~ services since that's my current interest. i just started up my tutanota email and its alright so far, although time will really tell once i've used it to sign up for more services/as a primary means of communication. off the top of my head other "private" email providers are posteo, mailbox.org, mailfence, runbox, soverin, disroot. tutanota, mailfence and disroot are the only ones that are free out of the box, but i would suggest just doing a little bit of research on what you need longterm. despite how well known they are i also discourage using protonmail due to the reason Cobra mentioned (giving activists' emails to police)

i also am reliant on google drive and i'd rather not be... so next thing on the list is just buying an external hard drive  :dive:
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drakonic
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2023 @399.27 »

Closest I've found is Disroot, which I use for personal emails, but their storage isn't very big. (and they're transparent about why. They're just a locally-hosted service and are letting others who align with them politically, so I understand that. It's good enough for personal, but need something better for newsletters and website updates.
Oh, Disroot seems nice. I'll have to read up more on them.

And about Proton... oof, that's icky. I think I heard about that situation at some point but forgot.


the problem with email is that its an oligopoly

Oh, I've read that post! Yeah, the current state of email is quite sad :sad:

I do think I might go ahead and get a paid email service at some point, but... first I think I'll check out the free suggestions, like Disroot and Tutanota. I don't think small storage sizes would be a bother, since I don't get newsletters or email in general that much. (I've found that most of the newsletters I've signed up for have an RSS feed)

I mostly use email aliases from my domain registrar now, so testing and moving shouldn't be too tricky :cheesy:
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2023 @433.11 »

I have used gmail since I can remember. My first was hotmail I think. Gmail was what I stuck with however. I never thought about switching to a different email. googles ads are annoying to me tho. I have to delete ads every single time I check my mails. Idk if I will use something else in the future but great options in this thread I might check out. Disroot seems interesting.
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2023 @346.41 »

The problem are a couple of lousy providers. The popular providers unfortuneatly. And those providers are only popular, because the users aren't willing to pay for a service, that clearly costs money for the operator. So in my view, it's the users fault, not E-Mails fault as a service.

Of course the police could get access, harsh reality. Despite all the smaller E-Mail providers claiming 100% privacy, nonsense. Mr. and Mrs. Posteo don't want to go to jail either.

Speaking of which, a proper provider is Posteo. Sometimes, sent mails landed in the spam, maybe because evil Gmail thought about Posteo being too obscure and maybe there was shared link in the mail, always suspicious. However white-listing my address on the recepients side always worked and after that, there were no problems at all.

However the article linked in Dodges post described this process of "Blackholing", mails being discarded right from the start. So maybe some mails won't even show up in the spam folder. The question is now, how often that really happens, because from the perspective of using a paid service like Posteo, can't think about any problems in that regard. I guess, we have to live with a certain unreliablity in the communication. Even letters don't arrive always, so do E-Mails. Server outages, mails got deleted by accident... asking one week later if everything arrived doesn't hurt.
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2023 @424.42 »

Does anyone know of any free email providers that allow POP and SMTP access without SSL?

I used to use my ISP's e-mail service on some of old phones, PDAs and computers, but then I changed providers to one that doesn't offer e-mail accounts and started using AwardSpace with a Freenom domain. However, I forgot to renew the free domain, and buying one seems like too big of a commitment to the domain name I buy. I don't care if its not a very reliable provider as it's not going to be my main e-mail account, but I still can't seem to find any that accept new registrations.
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2023 @806.10 »

I'm looking for an email where I can use a custom domain or something (like Kitsune@lol.net) as it does seem cool and so I can use it for business.
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« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2023 @346.20 »

@Kitsune: When I registered my domains, they had an e-mail service onboard. Look for something with IMAP / POP support in the feature list. Capacity is limited of course, but that way you could use kitsunecool.com as your mail adress for example.
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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2023 @40.98 »

For me the biggest attraction to Email providers are aliases. I have multiple accounts online for different purposes and for that reason I like to have a different Email for each account. However most services only give you one Email and if it were to get leaked in a data breach or gotten onto a spam mailing lists... problems will come from it. With aliases I can have send and receive Emails from multiple Emails tiled to my main account. If I need to change an Email address for whatever reason, it's much easier to deal with an alias. Posteo (which is what I use) and Mailbox are the only two services I know up that let you make multiple aliases, however they're paid services. Not the best given my limited money currently, but if it means privacy, reliable services, and aliases I'll gladly pay a few dollars a month.
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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2023 @104.93 »

Posteo (which is what I use) and Mailbox are the only two services I know up that let you make multiple aliases
I can confirm that Fastmail also allows multiple aliases across multiple domains on their paid plan too. I use the same account for all my email addresses and I have a filtering rule that sorts them into folders per alias - then I have Thunderbird setup so it can send using the correct alias too!
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