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[Discuss] personal email hosting

jbk wrote:
> TLD for Personal Use - Email

I thought this was going to be a thread about deciding whether to use
.com, .net, .name, etc. as a TLD for personal email hosting.

> I've been thinking of registering for a domain for my personal and
> immediate family use for mainly email.
> I've visited sites like Bluehost and read the terms of service at
> Dreamhost and the linked terms at ICANN.

What are your "terms of service" requirements or concerns?

> My idea is that once I set up this domain with a reputable hosting site
> and maintain the registration per the rules that I can expect to have
> this internet presence for a long time.

I definitely recommend registering a domain or domains for your email so
you have ISP portability. (I use an address only for mailing
list messages, and even that I'm going to migrate to a domain I own.)

> I assume others are doing this here on and some would say just
> get a gmail account and POP to that.

I wouldn't recommend an account unless you don't care about
ISP portability, which it seems you do.

I mildly, but not highly, recommend Google hosted email under your own
domain. It made more sense when it was free. Less so now that it costs
($5/month per mailbox).

A recent thread on the BBLISA list titled "State of spam filtering?"
touches on this same ground:

One of my postings in this thread covers self-hosted email and the idea
of an "SMTP 2.0" setup where you use whitelists and cryptographic
authentication to accept mail only from known senders:

I mention some of my gripes with Google hosted email in this post:

One of them is that it doesn't seem possible to have Google
automatically purge downloaded mail. You have to manually login
periodically and do that.

> I want to have POP access to the email service provided by the host at
> This so that all the organized collection of my mail and
> contacts is on my computer.

If you plan to download email to a single machine and only want to deal
with setting up a simple mail client, POP or IMAP will be fine. A better
approach might be to run your own server, but have it be private, while
using a cloud-based mail filter. Either one on a VPS, as was mentioned
in another post, or outsourced to a service like ($33/year/per mailbox). Then your private
server only accepts connections from your off-site filter, and makes
your mail available via IMAP (which you can then access from off-site
via IMAPS or ssh tunnel).

(I'm surprised none of the off-site filtering companies have resurrected
the SMTP TURN/ETRN[1] method, which lets your SMTP server make an
outbound connection to the MX and say "I'm online, do you have any mail
for me?" and if so, mail starts flowing from the MX to your local
server. As originally implemented it had big security holes, but a
modern version using authentication and TLS transport could be secure,
and eliminate the need for open firewall ports or using dynamic DNS for
a home server. Somebody ought to implement this...)


I believe MailRoute used to be priced more economical years ago - more
like $30/year per domain, rather than per mailbox. Now their pricing is
designed to match Postini, a filtering service Google acquired and is
soon discontinuing. I'm not sure what MailRoute charges for aliases nor
whether include address extensions (user+ext or user-ext at in
the cost of a mailbox, or if you have to buy a mailbox for each.

When I've looked into cloud filtering services in the past, one of the
limitations for services priced by the domain is that they accepted mail
for any address within your domain and passed it on. As a result, spam
aimed at bad addresses (as with a dictionary attack) will still have to
flow to your private server to be rejected, instead of being rejected by
the MX. (This can amount to a significant volume.)

With the services that charge per mailbox this isn't an issue, as
obviously for each mailbox you have locally, you need to create and pay
for a corresponding user at the filtering service, so they have a
defacto database of valid users in your domain.


Tom Metro
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA
"Enterprise solutions through open source."
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