Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!


How to host email for custom domains for free (or almost free)
New on LowEndTalk? Please Register and read our Community Rules.

How to host email for custom domains for free (or almost free)

Hi! I was looking for a way to cut costs and among other things I replaced a paid email hosting service for my custom domains with free services. I thought I'd share in case someone might be interested.

Here's the post:
https://vitobotta.com/2022/07/26/how-to-host-email-for-custom-domains-for-free-or-almost-free/

Comments

  • LisoLiso Member

    Is it possible to use amazon ses in place of zeptomail?

  • When you received an email, gmail says it was mailed by your domain and not by the original sender. The return-path/sender was being rewritten to the forwarding domain to make SPF pass in Gmail.

    What if you received too much spam on your email, will it affect the forwarding domain reputation?

  • jarjar Member, Patron Provider

    @jcolideles said:
    When you received an email, gmail says it was mailed by your domain and not by the original sender. The return-path/sender was being rewritten to the forwarding domain to make SPF pass in Gmail.

    What if you received too much spam on your email, will it affect the forwarding domain reputation?

    Yes, this is one trade off of forwarding. SRS improves forwarding quality but does bring about that possibility.

    Thanked by 1jcolideles
  • @jar said:

    @jcolideles said:
    When you received an email, gmail says it was mailed by your domain and not by the original sender. The return-path/sender was being rewritten to the forwarding domain to make SPF pass in Gmail.

    What if you received too much spam on your email, will it affect the forwarding domain reputation?

    Yes, this is one trade off of forwarding. SRS improves forwarding quality but does bring about that possibility.

    And I'm also getting warning on some emails saying Gmail couldn't verify that domain.com actually sent this message

  • @Liso said:
    Is it possible to use amazon ses in place of zeptomail?

    Sure, any delivery service would do. > @jcolideles said:

    @jar said:

    @jcolideles said:
    When you received an email, gmail says it was mailed by your domain and not by the original sender. The return-path/sender was being rewritten to the forwarding domain to make SPF pass in Gmail.

    What if you received too much spam on your email, will it affect the forwarding domain reputation?

    Yes, this is one trade off of forwarding. SRS improves forwarding quality but does bring about that possibility.

    And I'm also getting warning on some emails saying Gmail couldn't verify that domain.com actually sent this message

    That's (I think) is because of the missing DKIM. You can fix that by using some SMTP relay. I use Zepto which is cheap (1 credit costs 2.50 euros for 10K to use within 6 months) but there are several with a free plan too. With these, once you configure DKIM and SPF you're good to go.

  • @vitobotta said:

    @Liso said:
    Is it possible to use amazon ses in place of zeptomail?

    Sure, any delivery service would do. > @jcolideles said:

    @jar said:

    @jcolideles said:
    When you received an email, gmail says it was mailed by your domain and not by the original sender. The return-path/sender was being rewritten to the forwarding domain to make SPF pass in Gmail.

    What if you received too much spam on your email, will it affect the forwarding domain reputation?

    Yes, this is one trade off of forwarding. SRS improves forwarding quality but does bring about that possibility.

    And I'm also getting warning on some emails saying Gmail couldn't verify that domain.com actually sent this message

    That's (I think) is because of the missing DKIM. You can fix that by using some SMTP relay. I use Zepto which is cheap (1 credit costs 2.50 euros for 10K to use within 6 months) but there are several with a free plan too. With these, once you configure DKIM and SPF you're good to go.

    I'm getting this error from incoming / forwarded email.

  • itsnotvitsnotv Member
    edited July 26

    I have been using this exact setup with cloudflare for a while without any issues.

    As of today, Mailgun has free inbound forwarding (which they didn't have last year) and outgoing smtp with DKIM & SPF with 1k mails free per month which should be enough for personal mails, additional mails are billed $1 per 1k. I think this flex plan needs a credit card on file which is fine for me as I don't have to worry about running out of fixed free limit or prepaid credits. For my usage this will be free, and it avoids the send as workaround from gmail.

  • @itsnotv said:
    I have been using this exact setup with cloudflare for a while without any issues.

    As of today, Mailgun has free inbound forwarding (which they didn't have last year) and outgoing smtp with DKIM & SPF with 1k mails free per month which should be enough for personal mails, additional mails are billed $1 per 1k. I think this flex plan needs a credit card on file which is fine for me as I don't have to worry about running out of fixed free limit or prepaid credits. For my usage this will be free, and it avoids the send as workaround from gmail.

    For me it's working great too so far. I am only concerned about how anti spam filters from Gmail etc would treat forwarded emails that I flag as spam. This was raised on LowEndSpirit by someone and it's a valid concern. Emails forwarded by Cloudflare show my domain for the "mailed-by" field in Gmail, so I wonder what happens if I flag an email I receive as spam. Does it affect the reputation of my domain? I've been searching for a couple of hours and haven't found a conclusive answer yet.

  • szarkaszarka Member

    @jcolideles said:
    What if you received too much spam on your email, will it affect the forwarding domain reputation?

    Yes, having legit emails rejected as spam when forwarded, or having the sending SMTP server get rate-limited or blocked, is definitely a potential issue with this setup. I have a few customers forwarding to ancient AOL addresses, and even after applying the usual spam filtering before forwarding, things just go south sometimes.

    A nice compromise might to be set up a hidden MX receiver instead: let the advertised MX receivers deal with the spam and then just send you the relatively clean stuff. Of course, you do then have to deal with storing your email, but maybe that's better than worrying that Gmail will suddenly delete your account for some random reason.

  • john_sd3john_sd3 Member

    why not use mailinabox and a cheap LEB vps?

  • @john_sd3 said:
    why not use mailinabox and a cheap LEB vps?

    I was selfhosting with Mailcow before and I loved it, but I don't want to risk to be without email if the server goes offline for a while and things like that.

  • SaahibSaahib Member, Host Rep

    @vitobotta said:

    @john_sd3 said:
    why not use mailinabox and a cheap LEB vps?

    I was selfhosting with Mailcow before and I loved it, but I don't want to risk to be without email if the server goes offline for a while and things like that.

    @vitobotta said:

    @john_sd3 said:
    why not use mailinabox and a cheap LEB vps?

    I was selfhosting with Mailcow before and I loved it, but I don't want to risk to be without email if the server goes offline for a while and things like that.

    Server can go offline for hours or even days, still you will not loose mails as once its back, mails will be delivered to it by remote MTA. That doesn't mean you should keep it down intentionally for days, few hours is always fine.

  • @Saahib said:

    @vitobotta said:

    @john_sd3 said:
    why not use mailinabox and a cheap LEB vps?

    I was selfhosting with Mailcow before and I loved it, but I don't want to risk to be without email if the server goes offline for a while and things like that.

    @vitobotta said:

    @john_sd3 said:
    why not use mailinabox and a cheap LEB vps?

    I was selfhosting with Mailcow before and I loved it, but I don't want to risk to be without email if the server goes offline for a while and things like that.

    Server can go offline for hours or even days, still you will not loose mails as once its back, mails will be delivered to it by remote MTA. That doesn't mean you should keep it down intentionally for days, few hours is always fine.

    yeah but an important email delayed for days can be a problem.

  • SaahibSaahib Member, Host Rep

    Ok, but if a server is going offline for days, be it any provider, LE or HE , its bad provider.

    Thanked by 1Erisa
  • RazzaRazza Member

    @vitobotta said: yeah but an important email delayed for days can be a problem.

    I think @Saahib means mail should be OK with even days of downtime he wasn't saying it was acceptable to have days of downtime just because you can, if my mail server was down for more than few hours I would migrate it

    @Saahib said: Ok, but if a server is going offline for days, be it any provider, LE or HE , its bad provider.

    Offline for days I would just drop the provider.

  • john_sd3john_sd3 Member

    i have been using MIAB for over 1.5 years now. racknerd. the only downtime i get is when i update which is every 6 months or so.
    other than that i do not remember any outage from racknerd side or even the email server side.
    the only issue with racknerd imo is the fact that they do not have option of snapshot backups like vultr or others. i have to rely on backblaze b2 for backing up the server using miab inbuilt backup service.

    other than that, no complaints so far @dustinc does a great job. i even could start emailing without having to request racknerd to allow ports and such. it just worked for me.

    with miab, the entire process took less than half an hour the first time and 5-8 minutes everytime there is an update. you should really give selfhosting a try again

    Thanked by 2dustinc karjaj
  • We see some of our customers attempting mixed solutions with Gmail and there are many problems.
    You can make it work, of course, but Gmail always finds ways to make your life difficult. Things keep changing and you get silent failures or you get labeled as spammer.
    IMO it is simply not worth babysitting it and the downtime.

  • Update..... after reading more about the risks with spam filtering etc I decided to switch back to normal email hosting because I don't want to risk to affect the reputation of my domains. I didn't want to stay with Zoho though so I purchased a plan with MXroute, which many recommend.

    Thanked by 1Maounique
  • MGarbisMGarbis Member

    Thanks for the update. Selfhosting mail is interesting but propably too hard to make it work without risks. I almost decided to try it with your guide. But then not. Thanks anyway. Keep writing if you get new ideas.

  • @MGarbis said:
    Thanks for the update. Selfhosting mail is interesting but propably too hard to make it work without risks. I almost decided to try it with your guide. But then not. Thanks anyway. Keep writing if you get new ideas.

    Yeah I updated the post with a note about what I’ve learned on the risks

    Thanked by 1MGarbis
Sign In or Register to comment.