Friday, August 03, 2007


Screwed E-Mail

I have my own domain that I've been using for e-mail for the past few years. Most of my e-mail goes there, and then gets forwarded to a Yahoo! mail account, which in turn gets downloaded to my Macbook. This gives me a couple of nice features: I can read everything in the nice Mac Mail app when I'm at home, but I can also access everything via the web when I'm elsewhere.

Another nice feature was that I had the mail server configured such that would get to me. This made it easy to essentially create new e-mail accounts whenever I needed a new one. For example, if Microsoft wants me to register for something, I'd give them "" as my e-mail address. Since every website in the world wants my e-mail address, I figured that doing this would give me a way to create a different e-mail address for everybody who needs to contact me, making it easy to filter out stuff that I didn't want.

This worked great, until today. Today, my hosting provider, A2 Hosting, decided to disable the feature that automatically forwards everything to one place. Now, I need to create accounts or forwarders for every single address that I'd like to handle.

The problem is that I've been doing this for a long time, and I don't have a list of all the addresses I've used. Every business and every website I've interacted with in the past couple of years will no longer be able to contact me, unless I can remember them. So, now I'm not going to be getting a lot of e-mails that are important to me. I'm screwed.

The provider disabled this feature due to spam. It is too easy for spammers to just randomly generate e-mail addresses for every domain, and there is a cost to the provider for every e-mail they forward. I do sympathize, but it doesn't change the fact that I am now screwed by their policy change.

So, I think I need to find another hosting provider, so I can start getting e-mail again. Anybody out there happy with theirs?

Alternatively, I suppose I could write a script to find all the e-mail addresses for which I've received mail for the past couple of years. Switching providers sounds a lot simpler.

I'm very happy with 1&1 - good pricing, and it's been very reliable.

They support catch all email accts:

The only limitation I've found so far is that all their accounts only support 100mb SQL databases - a limitation that's causing my grief for at least one of my sites right now, although I'm working on parsing it down.

If you need SSH, CGI, Cron (and a few other tidbits I suspect you want/need) you do need at least their business class plan, though.

Let me know if you want a referral to 1&1 - happy to oblige.
I've been happy with Textdrive for my hosting. I don't have any _real_ domains, but I have been using the trick you described with them for a while now.

I got them when they were offering a 'lifetime membership' and I get something like 15 domain names, reasonable storage and bandwith (for my low traffic sites) and no monthly charges.
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