Reclaiming email ownership

⚠️ This blog post is a little bit technical, sorry in advance!

Read quite some stuff this past few weeks about email.

  • Self hosting email is great but it has nothing do to with privacy. If you send emails to your contacts at, let’s say, @gmail accounts then Google has your emails (unless you encrypt them. Which requires knowledge from both sender and receiver to do this).
  • Self hosting email is hard. Gmail does a great job at spam filtering, doing that yourself at that level is not trivial.
  • Using your @gmail account for all your online services is a bad idea. Should Gmail close your account, ban you or someone hack it… you’re in deep shit.

There are 2 types of emails

It’s worth mentioning I think there are least two kind of emails you receive:

  • Read only: these notifications you get from places like your bank, electricity bills, Facebook… You are not expected to reply to this emails, so they are read-only.
  • Replies: Conversations, emails you need or want to reply.

With this defined…

Where do we go from here?

I own quite some domains so I decided to start using my alias in the services I sign up on. Especially for the above mentioned read-only emails.

How does setup work?

In my domain Registrar (Google Domains) I’ve created an alias ( that simply forward all incoming email to my personal Gmail account. Nothing else.

The thing is, I don’t need or want to send emails from What I need is to have the option to change the DNS and point this new alias (custom domain) somewhere else (different provider, self-hosted, you name it).

With this setup, should something happen to my personal @gmail account, I can still get access to my incoming emails by changing the mentioned DNS configuration. Just changing where they are forwarded to and you keep receiving them.

As mentioned before it’s not about privacy, Google will read every email and I’m fine with it. It’s about options, to have more control over this crucial part of my life.

I hope I made some sense and maybe have encouraged you to own a custom email address.


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