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dynambee

Let's talk about email service providers

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Good email service is something that I think a lot of businesses struggle with. I know I have, and I've tried many solutions over the years.

For a long time I used Google Apps Standard Edition -- the free version that is no longer available for new signups. It's pretty good, but since I can't add it to new domains I'm pretty limited in how I can use it. I have a couple of domains on Google Apps paid but at $6 per account it can add up in a hurry (plus I don't really like forking money over to Google, they have plenty already.) One thing that the paid version does provide is push email, and the free version does not have this.

I also have my own mailserver set up, I use mailcow on a VULTR VM. It works quite well actually, and has push support. It also has calendaring and contacts. I've been running it for a couple of years now and it has proven to be stable with good update support. However I know if something goes wrong with it I will be up sh#t creek. I don't have the time to dedicate to fixing a broken mail server and mail is critical to a functioning business. There is also the problem of making sure my domains and IP don't end up on blacklists and this takes time too. Even so, some of the big mail providers will tag my outbound messages as spam.

All of this has resulted in a search for a better, more affordable mail solution. The most promising one I have found thus far is OpenSRS Hosted Email. It's cheap (50~60¢/month per account), seems to be robust, and the overall features are good for the money. The only drawback I see is no push support. I suppose I could live without that in the name of fixing all the other issues *but* I wonder if anyone here has any better options they could suggest?

Ideas?

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Hi,  email hosting with all its problems and chances is a big thing, i believe.  There are really a lot of fckng providers which mark every email as Spam and customers wont receive it  (yahoo and Hotmail are horrible, i think).  We have these problems every day....

Thank you for your ideas about that,  i agree with them. The link to OpenSRS is interesting, the price too (!!!) ,  but the start / implementation seems to be very hard?!

Maybe i can also do something for this topic,  OVH is a bigger company with about 1.300.000 customers and a hundreds of thousands of servers and they offer also some special services like loadbalancing and also a Hosted email service.  Here you can find the link to the international address,  but customers can choose their nation and so you can make sure to be good with some regulations  (e.g. servers in Europe and so on...):  https://www.ovh.ie/emails/

I have only a few Domains at OVH  and service is ok, but not needed much service until know (just Domains....).  Customer Panel is a little bit strange something,  there are German and French parts in it, but it seems to be that they are working on the translation.  I dont know if this is for Email Hosting too.....  so you have to make your own experiences.

 

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Posted (edited)

Well Tucows (opensrs) has been around forever.  I couldn't find and bad reviews except one from 2012.  The don't really cover their prices to well.

Looks like that is reseller pricing.

https://help.opensrs.com/hc/en-us/articles/203244273-How-is-OpenSRS-Email-Service-Billed-

storage

https://help.opensrs.com/hc/en-us/articles/203244293-How-much-storage-is-included-with-OpenSRS-Email-

Maybe just open and account and test them out. Since its so cheap.

I use Fastmail or my personal mail.  They are really great. The have business side as well https://www.fastmail.com/forbusiness/

You might look at Rackspace to  https://www.rackspace.com/email-hosting/webmail

Edited by Brent Dacus
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Posted (edited)

You already have experience with Mailcow. You could go with a managed Mailcow https://servercow.de/mailcow#managed or a simple Mailcow: https://servercow.de/mailcow#hosted Support is fantastic. I really like being there. I don't see anything in English, but drop them a note: https://servercow.de/kontakt I'm sure it shouldn't be a problem.

Fastmail is indeed another great option. I second @Brent Dacus

Edited by 30knees
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8 hours ago, Brent Dacus said:

Well Tucows (opensrs) has been around forever.  I couldn't find and bad reviews except one from 2012.  The don't really cover their prices to well.

Looks like that is reseller pricing.

Yup, it's technically a reseller account but that's fine for me, I have a lot of domains that need email and I could end up reselling a few mail accounts as well. To open a reseller account requires a $95 deposit which is put on the new account as a credit towards future service purchases.

I had a look at Fastmail ($5/month/user) and Rackspace ($4/month/user). Both are certainly reputable companies and their pricing is better than Google Apps ($6/month/user). Interestingly Rackspace also has a reseller program and the same mail account would be $2.90/month/user on their reseller program. That makes it quite a bit more attractive, assuming I could qualify as a reseller. Oops, after looking at their reseller signup page it requires a $150/month minimum commitment.

There is definitely something to be said for having enough space to not need to archive old messages. The OpenSRS standard is only 5GB and while that wouldn't be a problem right now it probably would be eventually. (OpenSRS is cheap enough to add more storage when needed, I suppose.)

I guess I have more thinking to do.

 

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20 hours ago, DRMasterChief said:

Here you can find the link to the international address,  but customers can choose their nation and so you can make sure to be good with some regulations  (e.g. servers in Europe and so on...):  https://www.ovh.ie/emails/

The yearly price for Hosted Exchange is a very good deal. The downside is that I would guess they are susceptible to price increases by MS. The upside is that Exchange is still really the best push/sync platform out there, plus those are huge 50GB accounts. I'll definitely consider this.

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6 hours ago, 30knees said:

You already have experience with Mailcow. You could go with a managed Mailcow https://servercow.de/mailcow#managed or a simple Mailcow: https://servercow.de/mailcow#hosted Support is fantastic. I really like being there. I don't see anything in English, but drop them a note: https://servercow.de/kontakt I'm sure it shouldn't be a problem.

That's an interesting idea, and extremely cost effective. Have you had any problems with your messages being tagged as spam, especially those sent to Google or Microsoft (Hotmail, Outlook, etc) accounts? That has been the big problem for me with my Mailcow setup. I really like Mailcow overall, but the concerns of having to manage it myself together with the issues of messages being tagged as spam have stopped me from fully migrating.

One other problem is that they aren't currently accepting new customers. I'll try sending a message to their kontakt address and see how it goes.

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2 hours ago, dynambee said:

The yearly price for Hosted Exchange is a very good deal. The downside is that I would guess they are susceptible to price increases by MS. The upside is that Exchange is still really the best push/sync platform out there, plus those are huge 50GB accounts. I'll definitely consider this.

My thought was about the normal Email Pro for 1.99/month  (i will not use an MS product for this case),  but depends surely on your needs.... 

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1 hour ago, DRMasterChief said:

My thought was about the normal Email Pro for 1.99/month  (i will not use an MS product for this case),  but depends surely on your needs.... 

As far as I can tell their Email Pro offering doesn't have contacts, calendar, or email push abilities.

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Maybe yes, but we need a 100% working email solution for an onlineshop, not an calendar :)    but as said before, depends strongly on your personal needs and preferences.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, DRMasterChief said:

Maybe yes, but we need a 100% working email solution for an onlineshop, not an calendar 🙂   but as said before, depends strongly on your personal needs and preferences.

OpenSRS provides all the things I need except push email and costs $0.60/month/user. I can certainly survive without push email but I would greatly prefer to have it. If they had that one feature I would've signed up ages ago and I don't think I'd be looking for another provider for a long time to come.

Edit: I'd also say that having contacts auto-sync'd across devices is an important part of any 100% working email solution. I certainly never want to go back to the time where my contacts don't properly sync. I have about 6 different devices I use, having different contacts on each one would drive me batty.

Edited by dynambee
Price

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16 minutes ago, Brent Dacus said:

I am sure you asked opensrs if they have push?  maybe its just not advertised.

Yeah, I sent them a message a while ago asking about it. They said they were "thinking about it" but had no current plans to add the ability. It sucks because apart from that they check every box. I'd just sign up for them and hope to find something better later but moving email providers is a giant PITA and I'd sooner not do it more often than necessary.

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18 hours ago, dynambee said:

That's an interesting idea, and extremely cost effective. Have you had any problems with your messages being tagged as spam, especially those sent to Google or Microsoft (Hotmail, Outlook, etc) accounts? That has been the big problem for me with my Mailcow setup. I really like Mailcow overall, but the concerns of having to manage it myself together with the issues of messages being tagged as spam have stopped me from fully migrating.

One other problem is that they aren't currently accepting new customers. I'll try sending a message to their kontakt address and see how it goes.

No problems, I'm very happy. Fingers crossed they accept you!

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Brent Dacus said:

true so true..

I specifically keep my registrar (namesilo), DNS (cloudflare), mail (google+mailcow for now), and hosting (cloudways+VULTR) all separate as it makes it much easier to change any one thing. However changing email providers has to be the biggest PITA of them all.

Edited by dynambee

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31 minutes ago, 30knees said:

 No problems, I'm very happy. Fingers crossed they accept you!

Thanks. That reminded me to send them a message from their Kontact form, which I just did. Hopefully they don't mind the English message. If they won't have server space open for a while I will probably go with OpenSRS. The lack of push is annoying but otherwise it is the best overall system considering the price, IMO.

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14 hours ago, 30knees said:

No problems, I'm very happy. Fingers crossed they accept you!

Looks like it will be a go.

Do you use push mail with your accounts with them? Does it work okay?

Going to reply to their message now. Thanks very much for the suggestion!

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13 minutes ago, 30knees said:

That's great! I don't use push, so I can't tell you, unfortunately.

Actually I managed to answer my own question, it's listed on their page about managed mailcow. Up to 35 ActiveSync devices are available with more on request. That should be plenty for my needs.

I'm just waiting to hear back from them to confirm payment and setup details.

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Well I was going to go with servercow's hosted mailcow but the migration didn't end up happening. Last weekend (planned time) they had some issues connecting to the server that were my fault. I rectified that so the migration could happen either last Sunday or this weekend but despite sending a few emails asking for an update I have heard nothing at all back from them.

Considering that much of the reason for not hosting my own email is to have support from someone else in case things go wrong the lack of response from servercow has been very concerning. I've therefore abandoned the idea of going with servercow and will instead be migrating to OpenSRS. There is no push email but I can live with that if it means having stability & support at a reasonable price. I wanted to support servercow with my business (open source etc) but I can't risk the lack of support.

I just signed up with OpenSRS and made the $95 deposit (it gets added as a credit to your account) and am now starting the migration. I should have most of my domains migrated over in the next few days and can then nuke the VULTR instance that contains my current mailcow server. Will be sorry to see it go.

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Thanks for the update. Pity with servercow. 😞 Support is important. So far I've been lucky with them - I hope it stays like that. Good luck with OpenSRS!

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