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Has self hosted email died?
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Has self hosted email died?

ArkasArkas Moderator

There was a time, not too long ago when people hosted their email servers from their house. Yes, that was a thing, actually a big thing (Maybe Hillary's self hosted email server spelled doom for everyone else? :lol: ). While for many of us here at LET, and yes we are above average when it comes to hosting, would never even consider doing it at home, but rather hosting it somewhere (like normal human beings). Still, the following article made me nostalgic of a bygone era where even I hosted my emails from my then home PC. Give me a moment to wipe off my tears. Hmm, ok. Even If the subject matter does not interest you, you made it this far, I really recommend you read Carlos's experience and why, and how, he threw in the towel. Times have changed, but remember, soon we might be throwing in the towel only for the next generation to pick it up and to boldly find new ways to adapt.
Sorry about that, I was watching Star Trek Enterprise while writing this.

Link to the article.

Thanked by 2mrTom Not_Oles
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Comments

  • I had thought about this. If self hosted email or small email providers are doomed, than mx route should be obsolete also. But it isn't.

    By doing everything right, you may exist with self-hosted email among giants. But is it worth the hassle? That is the main question. No. I value my time more then 6€/month for hosted email at google.

    Thanked by 1hyperblast
  • mxroute and some other providers for around 1€/month do a good job for me.

    Thanked by 1yoursunny
  • ArkasArkas Moderator

    @hyperblast said: mxroute and some other providers for around 1€/month do a good job for me.

    That was not the point of the article. But, whatever.

  • hyperblasthyperblast Member
    edited September 2022

    whatever, indeed.

    "Even If the subject matter does not interest you,[...]"

    ;)

  • At home? You are then talking about way too long ago, 20 years or so, which is eternity in the
    internet terms. Back when cheap VPS weren't a thing, and there were no SPF/DKIM standards and nothing to prevent you from sending millions of spam messages from your DSL provider, which would be "normal" for users who self hosted email at home. The only way to stop you would be greylisting/rate limiting. Nowadays you aren't even going to reach the spam folder if you send a mail from a residential IP without proper rDNS and SPF, going straight to discarded. At least on Gmail/Yahoo/Outlook.

  • All disapointments about selfhosting email comes from non-proper way of doing it. Anyone would be pissed of.. specialy if you did that 15-20 years ago. Sure, back then spam was not even 1% of todays amount but if you have 15 years old setup and expecting it to work as Gmail.. well.

  • Gmail business is the best value, guaranteed to hit inboxes and all the gapps like unlimited drive etc are the icing on the cake.

    Self hosting would be good as a hobby, or mxroute if you want to risk your dick pics, but both are niche options.

    Thanked by 1ariq01
  • yoursunnyyoursunny Member, IPv6 Advocate

    Mentally strong people send email with telnet and receive email with nc -l 25.
    It's selfhosted on the keyboard.

  • Self-hosting outgoing mail seems to be gone for sure. Every time someone tries to dissuade a newbie from self-hosting the hassle is 90% in mail deliverability.

    But another company having access to my email archive when I have a relatively stable IP address, easily accessible DDNS, and the knowledge of how to do things just isn't anything I want. As long as my ISP doesn't block port 25 incoming traffic I'll self-host. If they do I'll probably just move to a VPS.

  • VPS is still self hosting

  • @dahartigan said: VPS is still self hosting

    This kind of madness...
    And all of that happened in the last 2-3 years.
    What about emails, I know the date when things start to get awful - 2015.
    Also, DCMA is used as a terror by DCMA trolls, and there are many takedowns on the internet. Nobody even tried to debate the problem, silently doing what centralized power said.

    Plus, Cloudflare that right now:

    • deliver to every single website most minimum fraction of their code (your IP is always in their access logs if you use at least ANY .js)
    • deliver VPN
    • deliver DNS
    • inside corporate networks
    • inside GitHub accounts
    • Clouliterally everywhere.

    Plus google.

    I think these are the two most significant problems for internet, therefore must be no space for huge giants that monopolize the market. Instead, there must be many, competitive small.

  • defaultdefault Member
    edited September 2022

    Self hosted email is not dead. The problem is nowadays big corporations do this for really cheap. Sure, regarding corporations and governments the problem is always related to privacy, since artificial intelligence can read email messages and create psychological profiles which increase sales (but such discussion is outside the scope of this topic).

    To self host it easy, there still are solutions out there: MailCow, Mail-in-a-Box, iRedMail, and I believe there are other solutions out there which I am not aware of.

    Biggest problem: corporations tend to flag self-hosted servers as spam ({cough} like Microsoft does {cough}) even though email server is properly configured. This happens out of greed, simply because corporations want more clients.

    Thanked by 2ariq01 TimRoo
  • Does "outsourcing" outgoing mail count as not-selfhosting?
    That really seems to be the largest problem in the equation.

  • @yoursunny said:
    Mentally strong people send email with telnet and receive email with nc -l 25.
    It's selfhosted on the keyboard.

    And if you like to spice things up you'll add -n option. nc -n -l 25

    Thanked by 1yoursunny
  • jarjar Member, Patron Provider
    edited September 2022

    Self hosting is great, and with stuff out there like yunohost, mailcow, iredmail, there's so many things already available to make it painless and easy.

    It really does all come down to luck of the draw with IP reputation. Sometimes you get an IP that everyone accepts mail from, or you're just not someone who has family/friends/customers that you need to email at various AT&T or Verizon brands + Hotmail at the same time. That's really the hard part: AT&T + Verizon brands AND Hotmail. If you can hit all three of those without wanting to jump off a roof, never ever drop that IP. But not everyone needs to reach people at all 3 of those companies either, so for some people even that isn't really a consideration.

    Just keep those passwords safe because one comp'd account sending email to SMS spam and your IP is banned by every brand owned by AT&T or Verizon, and that's a lot of email services you come to realize. They usually won't reply to you about it either. Sometimes Verizon will reply after a week and deny your removal request because you're sending from a dynamic IP (even though you're not), and AT&T usually just won't reply ever. If you find yourself in the middle of all of that, you really gotta know people.

    Pro tip though, if you find IP space that seems to hit all of those brands wonderfully and with ease, keep it to yourself. Don't spread the wealth. You could very well lose it if the wrong person becomes your neighbor. It's every man for himself out here.

    I'm confident enough in the hell that self hosting for outbound email is when it's really something that matters, that I'll gladly do everything I can to empower those who want to self host. I don't have to convince anyone that it's hell, go do it and if you find it to be hell then I'll be here. If you don't find it to be, no worries. Enough will find it to be that, that I'll have a job.

  • BlaZeBlaZe Member, Host Rep

    I blame @jar

    Thanked by 1jar
  • Self hosting would be good as a hobby, or mxroute if you want to risk your dick pics, but both are niche options.

    Is it a risk if you want Jar to find them?

    Thanked by 3jar Ironia dahartigan
  • big email providers kinda whitelisted themselves i guess, selfhosted email is difficult these days.

    https://www.nerd-quickies.net/2020/10/20/microsoft-silently-dropping-emails-a-sad-but-true-story/

  • Love Star Trek❤️.

  • @hyperblast said:
    whatever, indeed.

    "Even If the subject matter does not interest you,[...]"

    ;)

    Do you remember that one time?

    Thanked by 1hyperblast
  • I still self-host my email. My email reaches gmail just fine. Maybe the author of that article isn't as nerdy as he thinks he is.

  • NyrNyr Member, Community Contributor

    @desperand said: This kind of madness...

    That would not happen in normal circumstances if you hosted the VPN within a cleaner network.

    While I agree that the VPN situation has worsened year over year, one can still do 99% of normal web browsing from a hosting network just fine, exceptions being ordering from some very high-risk merchants, or visiting small websites managed by trigger-happy admins.

  • TimRooTimRoo Member
    edited September 2022

    @Nyr said:

    @desperand said: This kind of madness...

    That would not happen in normal circumstances if you hosted the VPN within a cleaner network.

    While I agree that the VPN situation has worsened year over year, one can still do 99% of normal web browsing from a hosting network just fine, exceptions being ordering from some very high-risk merchants, or visiting small websites managed by trigger-happy admins.

    Right it's basically why rolling your own VPN on a VPS is a risk unless you know the IP range is clean. If you're paying $10-20 a year on a VPS it's a decent debt scammers have already polluted it. I'm sure there's plenty of exceptions on here, but you're probably better off just buying a commercial VPN with a wide range of IPs if that's what you want to avoid. Even then that might not solve every issue.

    Speaking of polluted IP ranges, that's what causes self-hosted email problems the most, to get back on topic.

  • ArkasArkas Moderator
    edited September 2022

    That's the same article I linked to. You didn't bother clicking on the link. You're a bad boy! :smiley:

  • ArkasArkas Moderator

    @dahartigan said: VPS is still self hosting

    I think it is.

  • @Nyr said: That would not happen in normal circumstances if you hosted the VPN within a cleaner network.

    my network is clean, and good. It is happened to ANY of mine VPS. Any.
    And the most awful - they saying about "weird activity". What activity? If VPS purchased and stay idle without ANY software at all, only wireguard working there just for my needs, nothing more.

    I talk about many different networks, many.
    But! At the same time i have VPN service puchased with many locations. And none of these IPs provided by VPN blocked or i faced any captcha challange issue, etc. While these VPNs shared across many users.

    VPN - become a monopoly thing. You can no more host your own VPN on your own VPS / server. The same like email hosting. Soon people (if not already) will ban users who will use their Provider VPS / Server as a VPN for private purposes. This is sucks.

  • ArkasArkas Moderator

    Email is useless when self hosted now. If you don't use some sort of proven mail delivery assistance, forget about it.

    At least there are people like @jar and mxroute who make it painless, including mail channels.
    But there was a time before the 'big ones' took over and people could host their own emails...

    Thanked by 1jar
  • jarjar Member, Patron Provider

    @desperand said:
    VPN - become a monopoly thing.

    This is a bigger topic than I think people realize and I'd like to see more discussion on it. I'm getting pretty suspicious of almost all VPN traffic finding it's way through AS9009. Starting to make me wonder about the people that own it, like I'm suspicious of them either being owned by or vulnerable to intelligence agencies.

    Thanked by 3Arkas desperand Erisa
  • ArkasArkas Moderator

    @jar said: I'm getting pretty suspicious of almost all VPN traffic

    Exactly!!!
    @jar may I officially quote you on my weekly podcast before I do a full interview with you :wink:

    Thanked by 1jar
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