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A couple (non-free) alternative email hosting providers

I recently decided that I was tired of Gmail catching so many false positive into their spam folders (effectively breaking the forward-only old accounts I still have there for people who can’t be bothered to update their contact list) and of Hotmail silently discarding an apparently increasing amount of legitimate e-mails. Not to mention Yahoo’s crazy outgoing filters. The reason I stuck with those (well, mostly Hotmail aka now Outlook) was because of the large amount of storage at a hard to beat price, with also quite decent – yet perfectible – interfaces.

But time passes, storage gets cheaper, web technologies get better, and, well, I thought maybe paid offers got decent now. So I went searching for some. With just one criterion: I didn’t want it to be under French or US jurisdiction. I found this nice, few months old discussion from someone with a similar query, and ended up trying 2 solutions:

1) runbox.com: they’re based in Norway and care at least a bit about privacy issues. They offer a 14-days trial. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that their webmail interface is seriously outdated, plus they didn’t provided advanced forwarding features and DNS options that I was hoping for. Storage is quite expensive, too, with not really decreasing prices ($34.95/year for 5GB, $49.95/year for 10GB, $79.95/year for 15GB).

2) fastmail.fm: the company is based in Australia, but the servers are mostly in US… yet they said they only respond to legal requests filled in Australia. I guess that will be good enough, that’s better than Gmail/Hotmail/Yahoo anyway, plus I encrypt important e-mails anyway. The name sounded familiar, and indeed after looking at their Wikipedia page I read they were own by Opera from 2010 to 2013, which is probably how I heard about them (I tried Opera Mail a while back).
Their webmail is really quite smooth, much more than Hotmail (which has been very slow and a bit buggy for me since the migration to Outlook), with the only drawback that it wastes a lot of horizontal space. Storage is decent for the larger offers (1GB for 20$/year, but 15GB for 40$/year or 60GB for 120$/year), and on the top of that they seem to provide a huge amount of advanced features: they can handle your domains’ DNS (NB: up to 50 domain names), or you can just point your domain MX records to them, then you can create aliases (up to 500 aliases) and forward them externally (just like I do at the moment with my own server, except that I probably don’t do it optimally and often end up in a spam folder), etc. Really, a lot of options, on condition that you take at least the 15GB offer (the smaller ones have more limited features, notably no custom domain name). They say you can easily upgrade AND downgrade whenever you want, too. And finally, this comes with a 60 days trial so you can look around and see if all goes well for you without the precipitation of a shorter, 1 or 2 week long trial. I’m only on my first day, so there’s probably some more cool stuff that I haven’t found yet 😉

On a side note, Rackspace provide a 15GB mailbox with unlimited archiving for 2$(mailbox) + 3$(archiving) per month, but they require a minimum amount of 5 mailboxes, so 25$/month. Plus of course they are US.

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