tl;dr: I’m switching to Mailcheap for email, and keeping Dreamhost …for now
Like everyone else, I rely on my catch-all email. I’m also surprised at the reasons given by Dreamhost to discontinue the service. How do they know its “overwhelming volume of spam”? Is that inference or are they inspecting data transmitted?
I’ve spent a lot of time in the last three days doing my research and I want to share what I’ve learned and have you challenge my decisions before I finalize them.
Self Hosting: Not recommended
My first thought was to migrate everything — mail and hosting — to Linode and do it all myself. Bootstrap a few Docker images into cheap VPS. Transfer my DNS away. Then I put on shades as I walk away while Dreamhost explodes in slow motion behind me. The pros are absolute freedom. The cons are well, everything is up to me — the worst kind of freedom. I’m not a professional sysadmin. And the turnkey solutions for email are good but still nascent. And to quote a wise devops manager, “the worst thing you can do on the internet is run your own mail server.”
But I did it anyway! YOLO! For the low-low cost of $20/month I set up a Linode box that can handle all my mail just the way I want.
The problem is that I am clearly over my head.
My personal mail is super-important. The stakes are high. Doing it right is something that is totally worth paying someone else to do.
Another Hosting Provider: Mixed Bag
Well, if Dreamhost isn’t perfect, then maybe some other provider will be? I’ll use Hostgator as an example, but feel free to put [other hosting provider] in its place. Hostgator isn’t a 1-to-1 replacement of Dreamhost. There are a number of problems just with migration of configuration much less the actual data migration. It would take a lot of time for me to move DNS, migrate data, and then end up in basically the same situation I was in before. I’m beholden to some hosting provider and whatever services and level of service they provide.
I don’t want to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Managed Email Hosting: A Focused Answer
To clearly state the top concern: Dreamhost email hosting isn’t what it used to be and I’m willing to pay to have a better email solution. I chose Mailcheap over Fastamil because I have multiple domains and Fastmail only supports a single domain. Zoho is worth a look, but its becoming a feature-rich “Workplace” service and I want a focused solution for email.
I’ve signed up for an account on Mailcheap, but it’s taken more time for Mailcheap to activate my service than its taken me to configure my Linode.
I’ll come back to report more findings later.