Email

I migrated from a self-hosted mailcow-dockerized to the hosted version of Mailcow. It’s just because I don’t want to care about keeping everything up-to-date, secure and backup-ed. Now I have some stricter limits, but in the past I didn’t reach that limits and I doubt I will reach them ever. To migrate all emails, I used the online version of imapsync.

To answer the question why I didn’t migrate back to Fastmail (which I used previously): With Mailcow I have the possibility to create up to 20 different mailboxes instead of just one. Furthermore, Mailcow is hosted in Germany and since I am enthusiastic about the open source project, I would like to support the person behind it.

I’m visiting the site of Purelymail from time to time for over a year now (shortly after they launched), because I’m interested into how the service evolves. It looks like a great service that provides purely mail and is very cheap or even cheaper when you are opting for advanced pricing (“Pay as you go”). You can add as many custom domains and users as you want and just pay for the resources you actually use.

Unfortunately, they are still in beta and not yet “GDPR compatible” (I didn’t find anything about an option to sign a DPA). I would also like to read some feedback from existing users.

There are some online services that use email login. This means that instead of a combination of user name and password, only the email address is entered and a login link is sent to it. Basically, this is a good option to increase security a bit. The service only needs to store a list of email addresses instead of the corresponding password (hopefully encrypted and hashed) for each user. But somehow this is also quite annoying sometimes.
Do you know how difficult it is to tell someone your email address with your custom domain name? It seems people only know the big players: @gmail.com, @outlook.com or @gmx.de and @web.de in Germany. But telling someone to mail to @jlelse.de, @jlelse.dev (or any of my other domain names) is a bit more difficult, I always need to spell letter for letter and that is really annoying. But this has now come to an end.
I hope I don’t have to explain why Google is bad, but just to give a few reasons to switch to alternatives: You’ll probably get better privacy because those alternatives collect less data about you, your data won’t get sold to advertisers or government organizations that easily and you help to prevent a monopoly. Sometimes alternatives are also just better than the Google product and don’t lock you in so much.
You may ask yourself, how secure is the email provider you use or the mail server you operate yourself. Today I learned that there is a simple way to test this. A test platform provided by the European Commission provides a simple way to test security standards of your mail provider or mail server, that just involves receiving a mail and responding to it. It also checks some DNS settings and finally calculates scores in these three categories:
The last times I wrote about email topics, I already had the thought in my mind to try setting up my own mail server again. I already tried this a while back, but switching from FastMail (my favorite mail provider) was too scary for me because I wasn’t quite confident about the setup. But now I overcame my fear that something could go wrong and just tried it. (I’m really proud of it.
I already wrote about that you should think about paying for your email service (or host it yourself if you’re crazy), but another important aspect is the email address itself. Many people (and I also did this in the past) use an email address given by their provider like an address with @gmail.com, @outlook.com or any other. Using such an address is free of course, but it is definitely some kind of lock-in.
Yesterday, I wrote about Delta Chat and Chat over IMAP. To be able to chat using email, you need an account at an email provider. Many people use Gmail, with over 1.5 billion users it’s probably the biggest email provider out there, people already joke, Google owns email. But email at it’s core is decentralized. You can use whatever provider you like and still communicate with the rest of the world.
There are tons of messengers out their, but they all share the same problem. They are all isolated from each other, so if you want to contact someone via this messenger, the other person has to use this same messenger too. This leads to everyone using the same shitty messenger (in my region this is WhatsApp), although there are many better alternatives. A solution to this problem can be the use of email for messaging.
Jan-Lukas Else
20 years old student who writes about everything he cares about.