What would the new Email protocol be like in InfinityFree?

Hello everyone, after spending so much time on “Welcome to the shiny club of Kirby!” I wanted to share an opinion, it turns out that unfortunately when a free user goes to the mail, he meets the bad surprise that mail is not allowed.
I have a suggestion to improve the hosting and it is to return to the mail in phases:
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Phase 1:
The first phase of this protocol would be that the Pop, Imap, Smtp email would not be admitted under a few circumstances, for example, that it is for work reasons and is demonstrated by a state identification, there, the necessary email accounts would be given for InfinityFree.
If this phase is successful, phase 2 may be given.

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Phase 2:
The second phase is that only 1 email account per user is allowed and under a strict protocol but without asking for identification and more accessible, if you have a history of bad behavior with those accounts, you will no longer be able to have more accounts even if you re-create web page accounts, if there is no spam and it is successful, we will proceed to phase 3 and last.
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Phase 3:
And … what will happen next? phase 2 will most likely be continued or other changes will be decided by admin.

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I have to agree with this but admin can’t do something to enable them. He can only makes a feature request at ifastnet.

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Still not feasible, since InfinityFree features are handled by IFastNet.

It is maybe only feasible if the Admin hosts the email servers in his computer. But with 600,000 costumers, his computer(s) will experienced overload. And he need to buy dedicated computers for that to support it.

By the way, in the first place MOFH resellers are featured with Email support but then due to abuse, it is deactivated for good.

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TL;DR: The free hosting email system was a dumpster fire. We want to give our users a good service and the email system was very far from that. We’re not going to bring it back. Save yourself the time and the headache and forget that we ever offered email.

Before I can address the idea, I would first like to clarify a bit why email was disabled in the first place.

The official reason as published is “spam issues”. That’s it. No context and no explanations.

In this forum, you’ll see quite a few forum members interpreting and explaining this as “abuse” (thank you @DigibytechsOrg for providing an example). While I can’t say the service wasn’t abused, “abuse” is not the reason the email service was disabled. Anyone who says otherwise does so from their own interpretation, and not from an official statement from either iFastNet or InfinityFree.

The main cause of “spam issues” was not user abuse, but email delivery. If you’re running email infrastructure at scale, a large part of your job is juggling blacklist, spam filters, IP address reputation, sending volumes, IP warmup and so on. If you don’t do this correctly, other email providers will think you are a spammer, regardless of what you’re actually sending.

This turned out to be a nearly impossible task. Even when our email infrastructure was working as intended, most people could not send email because other email providers would not accept it. This is the main “spam issue” that prompted the deprecation of the email features for free hosting. Email is hard and while I’m sure that iFastNet could have managed to build something good if they wanted to, the resource investment required to get their would be a wild goose chase.

Even when the email systems were working as intended, and our mail server wasn’t blacklisted by most other email providers, it still wasn’t a good system because:

  • Only 10 MB of storage space.
  • RoundCube webmail only, no POP, IMAP, SMTP or Microsoft’s Whatevertheycallit Sync.
  • Very harsh sending limits.
  • Very little customization options.
  • Forced ads in emails.

So even when everything was working as intended, the email service was so horribly limited that anyone who had hoped for a usable business email service would be quickly disappointed.

And that’s when everything was working as intended. And very, very, very often it didn’t. The mail server was frequently down for days or even weeks at a time, because the email storage system choked, crashed and died again.

At some point, the whole email system broke down so badly IT WAS DOWN FOR OVER HALF A YEAR. For over half a year, we said we offered an email service but it was COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY BROKEN. No email in. No email out. No access to mailboxes. Nothing worked.

Now, tell me, would you be willing to jump through hoops, send a government issued ID to some company you don’t know, get told you get an account, wait for HALF A YEAR because the servers is down, to get 10 MB of webmail storage in a RoundCube interface?

I definitely wouldn’t. Especially when there are still providers like Zoho, Yandex and ImprovMX around who can give you a working service for free too. And some domain providers also give you some email service if you buy a domain with them (NameSilo includes free email forwarding with all domains).

The email service has been horrible from the day it launched to the day it died. While we still offered it, there were tons of complaints about the storage space, IMAP access, email delivery, uptime and more. It wasn’t a good experience for our customers or for us.

In the end, I pushed iFastNet to either do email properly or don’t do it at all, and stop shipping this mostly broken and completely useless service to my customers. They chose option 2: don’t do email. And I support this decision.

The copy on the email accounts and forwarders was changed in the last few days to make this a bit more clear.

Right now, it’s similar to the Remote MySQL, PostgreSQL and Backups section: it provides informational text and premium hosting promotion.

This solution is not sustainable for a couple of reasons.

For starters, we’re not going to do manual approval for anything unless there is absolutely no way around it. Manual approval takes staff time, staff time takes money, and you’re not giving us any money. So spending a lot of money to hire people to verify identities of free hosting users does not make economic sense for us. Please remember that even though we provide a free service, we are still a for profit company which relies on ads and premium hosting sales. Having staff manually give out premium features for free is the exact opposite of what makes sense for us as a company.

Also, here in Europe, privacy regulations are very strict. There are only a few very specific cases in which we are even allowed to ask for and process government IDs. Restricting use of an email service service is not an example where this is allowed.

Not necessarily. The features that InfinityFree can offer are restricted by the tools provided by iFastNet, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to add additional features. For example, the Free SSL Certificates system is a feature which only InfinityFree offers, not iFastNet. But it does rely on the CNAME and SSL systems provided by iFastNet.

iFastNet already provides everyone with an MX records and SPF records tool. This means it’s possible to integrate external email services, including one provided by us. So, with the tools provided by iFastNet, it is possible to provide an InfinityFree email service.

Assuming you have to buy your own hardware to scale is a quite old fashioned idea. iFastNet owns their hardware, but many big companies don’t anymore. The biggest ISP in my country is even selling their datacenters and moving their software to Amazon’s cloud platform. Why? Because it’s cheaper. Netflix also doesn’t own their hardware, and runs everything on Amazon’s servers.

And even though iFastNet owns their hardware, they have also built a sort-of cloud platform on their hardware to simplify management and improve reliability.

I have absolutely no intent to ever buy any server hardware for InfinityFree. Even though we’re not at 600k users just yet, it should be set up to scale. But concluding that you need one, huge server to do it, is also an old fashioned idea. The entire free hosting platform runs on a cluster of servers. The client area also runs on a cluster of servers.

Any InfinityFree email service should be designed from the ground up to work on a clustered setup too.

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