Google Apps: GMail for your domain

August 16, 2008 at 12:34 am Leave a comment

I currently run my own mail server, but I don’t expect to for very much longer.

Why run your own mail server?  There are a number of good reasons, but in my case it was mostly so that I could run an IMAP server, consolidating both my email and my wife’s email on a server, and backing it up there on a regular basis.  This isn’t as good of a reason anymore, as I have Time Machine on our Macs, along with a regular scheduled full backup once a week.  Plus, I’d like to re-purpose the machine running the mail server.

Problems with your own mail server?

1. Spam.  It’s relentless.
2. ISP’s that rule with an Iron Fist!  Most won’t let you run a mail server that accepts incoming mail.  To get around this, you can have a public mail server elsewhere, then run a tool on your mailserver to pick up mail for all of your email accounts.
3. Probably many others, but it’s really late and I can’t think of them.

Back a few months ago, I decided to try to solve problem #1.  Having heard about GMail’s stellar reputation for spam filtering, I modified all of my email accounts (on the external mail server) to forward to two gmail accounts.  This severly cut down on my spam.  Unfortunately, Apple Mail has a tendency to occasionally send emails sourced from the gmail account (and not my private domain name), so this wasn’t the best solution, but it worked to cut down the Spam.

Tonight, I got as much email as Abraham Lincoln reads each day.  In case you failed history, he’s dead, so that means he’s not reading any email, the exact number that I’ve gotten today.  Thinking that this is probably not a GMail issue, I suspect that the 3rd party I’m using (that ends up forwarding to a gmail account) may be having mail server trouble.  I wouldn’t think too much about not getting email, except I typically get at least a few emails that I’m interested in a day, mostly receipts from on-line purchases, shipping notifications, etc.

While looking tonight for a solution to my issue, I discovered Google Apps.  It’s a free service that basically gives you GMail, but @yourdomainname.com instead of @gmail.com.  (It offers a lot more features like Calendar, Docs, etc., but this is my main interest currently.)  It does have the drawback of being limited to 6 GB per email address, but if you need the full 25 GB, you can buy their premium service.  In my case, I’m not expecting to get to that high of a usage.

With this service, mail is delivered directly to google’s mail servers for your domain.  This will eliminate all possibility that the problem I’m seeing is related to the 3rd party ISP I’m using to get and then forward all my email.

Since GMail supports IMAP, my iPhone can match the mail on my Mac.  (Theoretically, at least.  I’ve not tried getting GMail on my iPhone using my own domain yet – Still in the process of moving my IMAP mail over to the GMail account (from mydomain.com).

For important emails, I can pull them down to folders on my Mac, so they get backed up too and can be searched via SpotLight with ease.

This has the potential to let me finally take down my mail server once and for all.

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Entry filed under: General, Mac, Networking.

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