bandali and email

Here are my notes on email, in form of a series of questions and answers. Looking for my email address?

I emailed you but I got no reply; what's going on?

If a few days have passed since you emailed me but you seem to have not heard from me, please check your Spam or Junk folder. Although I never send spam and my mail server is standards-compliant, my legitimate emails to you might end up in your spam folder or completely rejected by your email provider behind your back, thanks to their inaccurate or overly aggressive spam filters, with little notice or recourse for appeal. Ironically, some of these providers are major sources of outbound spam (looking at you, Google), which they seem completely fine with. As such, if you are expecting an email from me but after a while you still don't see any in your inbox (or spam) folder, please try emailing me using a different email provider, hopefully one with a sane spam filter that does not reject legitimate, non-spam emails.

How can I send you encrypted email?

To send me GPG-encrypted mail, you can encrypt your message using my GPG public key.

Do you recommend any email providers?

This is a bit of a tricky question, with many possible answers. I personally have been self-hosting email (running my own mail server) for many years, which gives me ultimate control over my email, but here are some factors/questions I would consider if I were to try to choose an email provider today:

These criteria exclude the likes of Google and Microsoft and many other large and small providers, hopefully for good reason. Some people like Fastmail, but they do not meet my free webmail and jurisdiction criteria, so I personally wouldn't use them.

I've heard good things about Migadu. They seem to meet the above criteria, including offering a free webmail (rainloop), and they are also good participants in the free software community, having contracted Sourcehut to develop alps, a free, lightweight webmail for them. If I had to pick a provider, I would probably go with Migadu; but I have not used their service much, so I can't say for sure.

Lastly, I'd like to give a shout out to communities like SDF and that provide accounts (often at no cost) on their shared servers, and provide their users with a wide range of services, which sometimes includes email as well. Of course, there are some caveats: they normally don't give root (admin) access to regular users on their servers, they typically don't host email for custom domains, and being volunteer-maintained and often offered at no cost means their services are usually offered on a best effort basis with no formal guarantees for availability or additional support. That said, they can still be great resources and well worth a try. You might enjoy participating in their communities of like-minded enthusiasts and making your own contributions, and potentially get an email account too. :-)

This work is marked with CC0 1.0 Universal.