I recently came across this notice by @lnxwalt which led to this article which led to me looking at Rackspace hosted email which also led to a small discussion and me going over the details of FastMail again. (What the hell, why couldn’t I have gotten to the point with that sentence???) I’ve not had much luck with maintaining an email server. I did have one setup and running quite well for a bit but, and update somewhere along the line broke it and I was never able to get it going again. Also, a few other failed attempts to get a server going has left me without a working email for my domain.
These failed attempts to get an email server going and the fact that I didn’t want to rely on any third party for my email has also slowed down my de-googlification. Of course, I won't completely close my gmail account but, I'd like to switch to mostly using my own email. I had looked at a few of the paid webmail providers more than once and just hadn’t pulled the trigger on one. I wish I would have gave them a more serious look before. It’s been a snap to get one up and going the past couple of days.
After giving a few of the providers consideration, I ended up going with FastMail. Hopefully the rumors of Facebook buying Opera Software are just that, rumors. Otherwise, I may be looking elsewhere fairly soon. Also, I mostly chose FastMail over some of the other providers due to cost. I've started with a three month Family plan with an "Everyday" account so I can test it out. The Everyday account comes with 800M for email and 600M for files and at the three month rate, costs $9 US (actually it was $8.90 ...). This cost can go down some for longer term commitments as well. Also, the Family plans allow for using your own domain have ftp/webdav/XMPP... Bonus!
After setting up my initial user and other various settings, getting it setup with my domain (which currently goes through DynDNS) was quite easy. FastMail has fairly extensive help files and the one for setting up your domain was quite helpful. I entered the proper details in the DynDNS web interface for the MX records (and XMPP stuff as well) and after a few moments, all was good. DynDNS initial propagation time on most things is usually very quick, so I didn't have to wait long. My email was up and running and working quite well.
Once that was all working, my next step was to get my webserver talking to the FastMail SMTP. I already had Postfix setup and running in a local only setup. In the end, I now have Postfix sending everything to FastMail. The FastMail wiki has a section for setting up Postfix, also, this post was a decent resource in getting this going. The only extra thing that I needed to add to postfix's main.cf file was
local_transport = smtp
With this setting, my Drupal/Friendica/StatusNet/etc. send its emails to my FastMail account instead of staying local. Everything going to the same mailbox. w00t!
The last bit I needed on the FastMail/DynDNS side of things was to set up DKIM signing so that my email address is a little less likely to be identified as spam. FastMail sets up and provides the public key that needed to be entered in the DynDNS interface. Prior to that being set up, gmail would append "via messagingengine.com" to my email address. Afterwards, it can properly identify my domain.
Once that was all good, I also configured a Roundcube install so that it would pull from FastMail. Not really necessary but, I quite like Roundcube and find the new "Larry" skin quite nice.
All in all, I'm hoping that this setup will work quite well for me. The initial setup has been quite smooth and compared with my experience with maintaining an email server, I'm loving it. ;)
Thanks @timttmy! :)