Liberated

I just completed a task I had been longing to accomplish for some time: moving away from dependency on Gmail.

I’ve replaced my Gmail with a dedicated email service. It’s paid, but works just as well as Gmail while allowing me to use my own domain name (perrysun.com). More importantly, it’s one less thing for Google to track regarding my user habits on their domain.

Yes, I do have to pay a monthly fee now ($2), and I no longer have the convenience of Google automatically adding events and flight itineraries to my calendar.

But I also avoid some annoying restrictions around Gmail. Like the fact that certain folder or tag names are prohibited because they’re reserved for Google’s own usage.

Take “Social”, “Promotions,” or “Forums,” for example.

Or “Purchases.” Nope, you can’t use this name for filing away emails of your past online purchases. It’s an annoying reminder that Google can do whatever they want with their products.

That, along with privacy, is the price you pay for having something free.

But now, with an independent, commercial-free email service, I can name my folders however way I want. And no worries about my emails being tracked or scanned by anyone.

Email folders

Note that I haven’t closed out my Gmail account. I’ll keep it around indefinitely to trap spam email, but will no longer use it on a regular basis.

What alternate email services are available?

If you’re looking to get away from Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo and want to be more independent, there are several options available. Fastmail and Proton Mail are two great email hosting services.

If you have a website for business or personal reasons your domain registrar may offer their own email hosting. I’ve opted to sign onto a premium (paid) service with Gandi.net, my domain registrar.

From a business standpoint, having a @gmail.com, @hotmail.com, or @yahoo.com as your email point of contact is a bad idea. It just isn’t professional and gives the impression you’re a cheapskate. You really want your own domain in your email address.

For this reason, if you haven’t already, I strongly suggest going over to domainr, checking if your name is available as a domain, and then promptly registering it.

From there, you can sign onto a new email service provider and tie your new domain name to your account.

If you have years of emails and several gigabytes of data accumulated, these email services are not going to be free – expect to pay at least a few dollars a month for the privilege.

But remember that you’re also gaining privacy and independence.