Self-Hosting email - Hello Mailcow

Self-Hosting email - Hello Mailcow

It's been a wild ride since deciding to self-host all the things. It started with the web server, finally migrating to my own infrastructure. Now, it's time for email.

If you've read my previous article about Skiff, than you know that self-hosting email is now a necessity. Skiff was my previous email provider, and with their services closing down, it was time to figure out how to get email going for myself. Finally, I would face a challenge that most self-hosters refuse to do- but I refuse to pay crazy high prices for something as trivial as email.

So off to the races, we begin our journey. It started by seeing what options were out there. Mailu was my first choice, but after doing some more research and seeing someone recommend Mailcow, I decided maybe that was a better option. I've tried on two separate occasions to deploy Mailu with zero success, so a solution like Mailcow getting high praise was a huge green light for me to give it a shot.

To make a long story short, it was a long process but a successful one. It wasn't as hard to deploy as I thought it would be, and after some DNS fiddling, I got it sending and receiving emails no problem! I can't believe it. After all these years, I'm finally self-hosting email.

You've never seen a stack this thicc

So what do I get? Everything I wanted. Unlimited email addresses, unlimited domains, unlimited everything. I also get IMAP, POP3, exchange, and SMTP support. Absolutely busted. I get a nice little web-client also called SOGo. This is fantastic. I get support for unlimited aliases as well. It's just perfection.

SOGo lookin nice!

Just look at that- working email. And it works with my phone as well via imap. And with the help of Thunderbird, I've already imported ALL of my Skiff emails. This couldn't get any better.

Of course, there is one small problem. Because my email server is in a residential IP space, my mail is getting flagged by SORBS, which is the Spam and Open Relay Blocking System. Not all servers use SORBS, but when I tried to send mail to my buddies domain, also running mailcow (why not deploy two servers at once?) my mail was blocked! BLOCKED!?

Not a problem. I really just want to receive email from anyway. If I'm sending stuff, I can keep using mailgun for my website. Not even an issue. I can receive stuff all day. Gmail doesn't seem to block me, so that's good.

Anyway, it's been fun setting this up. Hopefully we don't have any long-term issues with Mailcow, but so far I'm thrilled with the solution. I'll update the blog if anything eventful happens, and send Fifthdread an email! lol