Johan Sørensen

Migrating from Google Apps email

I’ve long been a paying user of Google’s Apps for Your Domain, in particular the email aspect of it. I don’t care for online documents, spreadsheets, buzz or whatever random flailing product they shove down your throat, only email. The web based gmail client showed the world how web applications should be done, for better or for worse.

One thing is the constant slowdowns, the 10-30 seconds waiting time for something to happen. The other being a matter of trust. Is it really wise to have so many things hosted and logged with one single provider? One who so obviously has only figured out how to earn money one one thing; namely selling your content and data for advertising? I decided it wasn’t.

I almost like the gmail interface, it’s one of the better web apps out there. But it still has all the flaws of a web app, along with questionable motives from its provider.

So in an effort to minimize risks, or at least distribute them a bit further, I decided to change my personal email provider away from Google to

My personal email address (first name @ has mostly been functioning as a dumpster for all sorts of email: some personal, but mostly mailing lists and automatic notifications from various projects I’ve either worked on, with or somehow needed temporarily knowledge of the development of. In other words, and non-practical implementation of the hoarding syndrome. Which sucks. So, a few days ago I unsubscribed from every single mailing list except a few and deleted seven gigabytes of archived email (of which I’ve contributed only a few megabytes), changed my MX records and am now only using through IMAP. Click. Click. Done. Almost.

The migration was slightly annoying as Google has some pretty strict bandwidth and/or usage limits in place, preventing you from downloading all your email at once (ding ding), so the actual migration consisted of downloading all IMAP mailboxes over a few days, and re-uploading them to the IMAP account (fastmail didn’t have any arbitrary limits in place preventing me from doing with my own data as I saw fit).

Email was a solved problem long before Gmail. My email is now stored offline and owned by me, I can move it anywhere I want to. With modern tablets and smartphones, “access anywhere” is also a solved problem.

Distributing your online “cloud-ness” is a must, don’t put all your personal data with one provider, no matter how much you trust them. It’s like backups; if you have them all in one place, you’re going to get burned sooner or later.