I remember those ancient days past when one's email account was tied to whoever your ISP happened to be. Hence, I think my first ever personal email account was something like [email protected] Which unfortunately meant that if you changed your ISP, you had to change your email address: that wasn't going to work well in the long run!
So, like everyone else, I swiftly progressed to “immortal” email addresses with the likes of Yahoo!, Hotmail, Gmail and so on. Of course, we all knew that if the product was free you are the product, but the convenience of a web-based email account that never varied no matter who connected you to the Internet was not to be sniffed at.
Except, of course, these days we know rather more about the privacy implications of handing all your data over to mega-corporations like Google and Microsoft, especially thanks to the likes of Edward Snowden.
For the past five years or so, I've been wanting to ditch the likes of Gmail and Outlook (the Yahoo! account having stopped being relevant a decade or more ago!). But setting up your own email infrastructure is not something for the faint-hearted. There are a lot of moving parts; much administrative maintenance to do; complex software that is a real bummer to configure correctly …and on and on.
However, I have now finally kicked the Megacorporation habit, thanks to a cheap virtual server hosted in Amsterdam and the free software available from iRedMail -which, astonishingly enough- practically configures itself!!
It still isn't something I'd recommend you do on a whim, but I am now reasonably comfortable with it… and have accordingly thrown an article together describing the entire process. It's a long read, but worth it for the sense of freedom from snooping it gives me. Naturally, if the NSA want to know anything about me, they'll find it out one way or another. But at least a mere corporation can't have it for free anymore!