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      Good! I’ve also recently switched from Gmail to a different provider with my own domain (which allows you to switch providers easily in the future!). Never did it before because I was afraid of it being a lot of work, but it was much easier than I thought, and I have a LOT of accounts. Managing them in some password store helps keep track of things. I won’t delete my Gmail mailbox though, in case I missed some. I recommend others to switch too.

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        Could you please tell us which provider you switched to?

        I have used GMail/GApps and Office365 as mail providers for my domain, and I have my issues with both, wishing to switch as well. I have checked multiple providers but have not found any perfect fit yet.

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          Of course. I switched to Soverin as recommended by a friend. They are based in the Netherlands, hosting in Germany. They provide a proper non-rate-limited mailbox with plenty of storage, aliases, forwards, a calendar and some other features. As far as I can tell as an outsider, they have arranged things quite well with security, transparency, hardening, backups and whatnot. Not to forget, they even have helpful support. I must say, I’m very happy so far.

          I primarily use Thunderbird and Aqua Mail (Android) through IMAP/SMTP. Soverin also provides a fully featured Roundcube web interface, but it is a little slow in my experience for quick email reading. So, I’ve set up my own Rainloop instance as a much simpler and quicker alternative which connects to the mailbox as well for accessing it on devices I don’t have a mail client configured on.

          It may not be as fully featured and quick as Gmail for example. But I still receive email within seconds through Soverin, awesome. This new setup is also much less bloated, which I like as my frustration with the Gmail/Inbox interface grew throughout the years.

          It might seem I’m selling Soverin here. I’m not affiliated with them though, just a happy customer. I do definitely recommend if you live around Europe (the Netherlands/Germany)!

          What are you looking for in a provider, and/or what do you definitely dislike?

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            I’m looking for the usual stuff:

            • CalDAV
            • CardDAV
            • decent web interface, 2FA
            • custom domains, with <5 users.
            • reasonable pricing
            • reasonable attachment size limit (20+MB)
            • sufficient storage (1+GB)
            • DKIM and stuff
            • spam filtering
            • flexible filtering (sieve?)
            • WebDav
            • no backdoors for NSA/BND/FSB

            Red flags are

            • access only via custom apps (eg. protonmail, tutanota)
            • home grown crypto (tutanota)

            My problems with GMail are:

            • Google
            • UI is not particularly good, but gets worse with every “innovation”

            My problems with O365:

            • Microsoft
            • UI is not particularly good, but gets worse with every “innovation”
            • Other “valued added” parts of the bundle are not working as intended (eg. OneDrive client on windows is terribly broken, Forms is buggy, the GApps counterpart is much better)
          2. 1


            3 month old warrant canary - not inspiring confidence :P

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              Weird, it’s just a few days old for me.

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                Try shift-reloading a few times, looks like a load balancer caching issue :P

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      Interesting, I’d also like to be less reliant on Google, but apparently my use case is near 100% different.

      • Google App Engine - nope
      • Google Analytics - nope
      • Google Fonts - nope
      • YouTube - nope
      • GMail as main account - nope (I have one, but only check it every few weeks)

      But here’s the kicker, I am an Android user and I don’t see myself switching to Apple in the near future - I usually pay ~300 EUR for a decent new mobile phone, and I refuse to pay 600-1000.

      So while I’d usually say I’m kind of not relying on Google, not using the services on mobile is too much to ask for me. But apart from the photos part (which get backuped to Google Photos) and location history (which I really, really love) my online life is decoupled from Google quite a bit.

      I’ve also tried using DuckDuckGo at times, but the search results always make me cry. Maybe I’m holding it wrong.

      TLDR: Depending on how exactly you use a service and how good the alternatives are, it’s either easy or hard to change. Bah :)

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        I’ve also tried using DuckDuckGo at times, but the search results always make me cry. Maybe I’m holding it wrong.

        My experience is that Google search got a lot worse, so DDG doesn’t seem so bad anymore nowadays. Until very recently I used !g a lot with DDG, but no longer.

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          Unasked-for pro tip: g! is the same thing as !g, which is super nice for us using DDG on mobile while also having the “insert space after punctuation marks” setting turned on (i.e. trying to write !g becomes “! g”, try to find that space, and then backspace…)

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            Also note, you can put the g! or !g anywhere in the search, doesn’t need to be at the front, its nice to just go g! to have a quick look at what google finds if you’re not finding anything of note.

            And to the tree parent’s post, I find google search less and less useful every year for finding technical things personally. I rarely have to use the bang operator for google in ddg lately.

        2. 2


          It’s almost as if Google has been actively lowering the bar for competitors the last few years.

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        I’ve gone from all-in Google fanboi to using almost none of their services, including on Android. I’m running LineageOS without Play Services. Things are surprisingly good, except:

        • OSM is OK but has nothing on Google Maps, and other location-based apps (eg Uber) seem to not work
        • Push notifications don’t work for a lot of apps
        • I still use GCal, and setting it up (with DavDroid) is possible but frustrating, especially when you have a lot of calendars (I have about 8)

        Despite that I’m happy with the move. It’s a bit like the early Android days - not exactly polished but usable and a bit of a challenge.

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          Have you installed MicroG? That ought to solve your problems with other location-based apps by letting them use another location provider (like Mozilla’s). I think it also includes a push notification shim of some kind.

          Davdroid works really, really well with NextCloud calendars, and while setup is not super-easy, it doesn’t get any harder with lots of calendars than with one.

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            I’ve been meaning to try MicroG, but haven’t yet. Thanks for the reminder.

            I’m somewhat tied to GCal until I migrate my wife off it (and G Suite in general).

      3. 7

        and I refuse to pay 600-1000

        Used to be in the same boat, but I see it differently now. You either buy a $300 phone from a Chinese company with pretty flagship-like specs, but it mines all your data or you pay $600 - $1000 and you buy a phone with flagship-like specs and it doesn’t mine your data. That’s what Apple’s biggest selling point is to me. You get privacy, but it doesn’t make everything unpolished or near unusable.

        You’re paying the 600-1000 price tag, just not upfront.

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          I love LG from S.Korea… (have both LG5 and LG v20) . I changed battery recently ($9 bucks for a new from e-bay) added an SD card. Getting updates. Love video/sound/photo capabilities (may be not as ‘flashy’ as Samsung, but core quality is very good).

          Having a very thin phone, that slides into a pocket of my tight-fitting jeans –> is not something I value (not that age group, or body type :-) )

        2. 1

          I might be misunderstanding your hint about the Chinese company. I use a Nexus 5X now (sure, it might be manufactured in China.) but in this case I see Google as the only company, no other one. Also not sure about my two HTC ones before that. They were all under 300 EUR.

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            It was just the worst-case scenario. A Nexus 5X is a bit better, but using Google services on an Android phone is still pretty bad from privacy perspective. Maybe you should still reconsider and ask yourself if the extra money isn’t worth the privacy. Like I said, you’re just paying with you data right now instead of with your money. That’s Google’s MO.

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              The extra cost for the Apple route is not just monetary; you’re also paying by giving up the ability to run the software of your choice on it.

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                I got an Android to develop software on.

                Have not done so a single time.

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        Duck Duck Go finds what I’m looking for most of the time, but I agree that Google is far better. If you care about privacy, consider installing the Tor browser. Google searches via Tor are more private, and this also lets you do Google searches outside of your personal Google filter bubble. Sometimes Google’s filter bubble prevents me from getting the results I need. The differences in search results can sometimes be astonishing and revelatory, so I recommend trying it.

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          Just use StartPage if you want Google’s quality but (more) private queries.

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          Yeah I absolutely agree, but Google has learned my interests (programming and games) good enough that it gives me good results. DDG is usually clicking 3 pages, then going to Google - every time I try it :(

      5. 7

        Google App Engine - nope


        Google Analytics - nope


        Google Fonts - nope

        Just, uh, host the fonts?

        YouTube - nope

        For consuming video yep, for uploading you might try Vimeo

        GMail as main account - nope (I have one, but only check it every few weeks)

        I have just been slowly moving each and each service off gmail to my own domain.

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          Not sure wink was asking for alternatives to the five services they don’t use…

      6. 4

        I’ve found DDG frustrating at times, too. I’m slowly learning how to better leverage it, though. i.e. I’ve automatically started changing my search queries in ways that help it figure out what I mean more easily: quoting certain words or including additional words that I wouldn’t normally include when doing a Google search.

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          The quotes, added words, and using - to remove results improves any search engine. Including Google.

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            I realize that. My point was that although the results from Google were better w/o those additions, you can work around DDG’s inadequacies by doing the things I listed.

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            With Google you can’t be sure anymore. Sometimes it works, sometimes not it seems.

      7. 3

        I’ve also tried using DuckDuckGo at times, but the search results always make me cry. Maybe I’m holding it wrong.

        DDG results range from better than Google to absolute garbage, but on average I find them workable.

        However, I realized to started to depend on all kinds of Google search features that are not available in DDG. For example, when I type the name of an establishment in Google, I automatically get the hours and a real time graph with waiting time.

        I wouldn’t have thought that trivial things like that would be important for me, but apparently they are, and I switched back to Google search.

      8. 3

        I’ve found mainly that DDG is ok in general but really terrible at certain specific kinds of searches. If you’re searching for an error message, specific line of code, bug report for a program, that sort of thing… Google is far better. For most other things DDG does just fine, and the ! shortcuts are real handy.

      9. 2

        It’s interesting that you love Location History so much; what do you like about it?

        1. 3

          Well, for example looking up trip routes from a vacation. “When did I do home office 2 weeks ago? Monday or Tuesday?” “How long was this bike ride?”

          Nothing critical, just stuff I like to know and look up.

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            Interesting, I also love the idea of having that data, but I hate the idea of other people also having my data, especially of a theoretically sensitive nature.

      10. 1

        You can get a used, but perfect condition, iPhone 8 for less than 400 GBP, so maybe ~300 EUR is possible. The resale value is much higher, so I think the long term cost is comparable.

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          But you’re still locked into Apple’s walled garden that way.

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            I wish people would not parrot out thought terminating cliches like this. Locked into what exactly?

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              I’m not the GP but I wouldn’t buy an iPhone because the only way to install apps on the phone is from the App Store, which makes something like F-Droid impossible. AFAIK the only way to install ‘non-official’ apps is to buy a Mac, sign up for a developer account, and then compile and self-sign apps.

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                So you can install whatever you want; it just costs $300 (mac) + $99/yr (in true Apple fashion).

                Alternatively you could write a script that refreshes your certificates every night and do it for free!! (+the cost of a used Mac)

                Alternatively alternatively you could buy one of those sketchy “signing services” that force you to install a VPN so that they don’t get caught and use that.

                (Observation: Closed source software on non apple platforms is often worse than their open source counterparts. Practically no open source software exists for apple platforms, but the software quality is generally higher with some notable exceptions. I don’t know where I’m going with this, so it’s just an observation.)

            2. 4

              Locked into what exactly?

              Locked into not being able to run your own OS, and not being able to run your own programs without paying more (I understand you can install your own apps for 30 or 90 days, but you still have to pay for a developer license, IIRC).

          2. 1

            I use Dropbox for file storage, Gmail and Office365 for mail, OmniFocus for TODO, OneNote and Keep for notes, WhatsApp, Slack and Teams for chats, CrashPlan for backup, Google, Amazon and Apple for books, feed.ly for news, 1Password for secure info. where am I locked in?

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              Yes, you are quite free to choose from any of the flowers Apple permits in the garden — but you are not free to choose something Apple does not permit.

      11. 1

        You don’t need to use Google services with Android. I’ve flashed LineageOS on my touch phone with FDroid software and I’m pretty happy with it. Edit: haven’t noticed this already got mentioned.

    3. 4

      I used mail-in-a-box with a 1gb linode.. worked well. FF, DDG for search. Started all a year or so ago, honestly don’t miss any of G’s services. Had written this back in ’13 -> https://medium.com/@hitchhiker2010/weve-given-google-far-too-much-power-32ba2b38c219

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        I used to self-host my mail server on Linode and would occasionally hear that my emails were being marked as spam (even after setting up SPF, DKIM, etc.). Have you had this issue? Maybe it was just bad luck w/ the IP I was assigned.

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          I used to self-host, but I had problems with email not getting through. I switched to pobox.com. They have a decent webmail service, decent spam filtering, and their business model does not involve harvesting personal information or advertising. Instead, I pay them $50 per year. They are pretty strict about keeping their IP address range “clean”, so that their addresses don’t get added to DNS blackhole spam filtering lists. So my email isn’t marked as spam. In order for a hosting service to provide you with clean IP addresses, that service needs to perform mandatory spam filtering on any email sent from their addresses.

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            I similarly stopped self-hosting and now I use FastMail. I’d love to move back to self-hosting though if I can find a good hosting provider.

        2. 1

          I self host using mailinabox with a super cheap vps on vultr. I had about 2 emails get marked as spam in the beginning but never had any issues after.

    4. 4

      If someone doesn’t like the DDG results, I recommend getting Google search results anonymously, using https://startpage.com.

      They pay Google to get the search results, but don’t pass along any personally identifying information, then make up the money by selling their own ads, which are unintrusive. It’s good.

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        Also, you can get startpage results from Duck Duck Go by adding !sp to your search, so this should probably be your go-to when DDG doesn’t give you the results you want.

        In my experience, though, the only reason Google results are ever any better than DDG is because of the personalized filter bubble. I don’t find anonymized Google results to be significantly better than DDG at all.

    5. 3

      essentially squat the username lest someone else take it over and cause me trouble down the line

      As far as I know GMail does not reassign local parts anymore, so if you feel like it you can delete it. But maybe it is still wise to keep it, in case someone contacts you there or something.

    6. 3

      I’m all for people deleting their Google accounts and staying away from Google. I’ve done it too.

      Just a note though- I don’t think Google recycles email addresses. Here’s a link on it, and there are many more: https://webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/90014/if-i-close-my-gmail-account-will-somebody-be-able-to-register-my-previous-mail-a

    7. 3

      Not sure if it’s worth knowing, but Google doesn’t release usernames back into the pool once you delete the account. I deleted an account like 10 years ago that I wish that I could get back and regret deleting, but nobody can have it now :’(

    8. 2

      I rather want to do this, but would you believe that my biggest roadblock is thinking of a domain I like? Or at least, one that I like, isn’t taken, and is easy to spell out to people over the phone…

    9. 1

      I’ve done the same a while back.

      • Switched from Gmail to iCloud mail (Apple had given me the @me.com at the time which is nice)
      • Also changed all my account’s email address to the @me.com
      • Started using Duck Duck Go
      • Use an iPhone instead of an Android phone, I already use Macs so that wasn’t a hard switch
    10. [Comment removed by author]

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        I cannot downvote this comment enough. Regardless of your position on Google, privacy, or self-hosting, I really don’t appreciate this way of talking to people.

        1. -1

          I also downvoted it, tagging it as “troll” for lack of a better option. “nonconstructive” or “needlessly offensive” or something would be better though.