Running a separate email domain

For as long as I can remember, I have always had my primary email hosted with my Isp, which was @Home at that time. It has become Ziggo since then but luckily they didn’t give up on my @home alias.

I thought it was time for a change and now I’m the proud owner of a domain with a new tld: broenink.email. I’m expanding my broenink domains, so far I own thijsbroenink.com thijsbroenink.nl and thijs.xyz and now also broenink.email.

There are a few considerations why I decided to go for this new approach. First of all, new tlds are the future. There are appearing new ones often nowadays which is also why I registered thijs.xyz already. Google has shown this new tld can be successful by pronouncing their mother company Alphabet on abc.xyz. And when you’re choosing a domain for email, why not use email as tld itself, so it’s clear to everyone what it’s used for.

Another consideration for me to not just keep a single email address is for spam reasons. I can now sign up on websites with for example thijs@dropbox.broenink.email for Dropbox. I can use a subdomain as alias so I know where spam mails are coming from. If there is a leak or I am receiving spam from a website I trusted, I can lead it back to that site by proving the from address. And I can block certain domains if I don’t want to receive any mails from them anymore. It gives me full control on which emails I want to receive from whom.

That is the why; now the how. I’m still working things out on how to block certain domains. For now, I have a wildcard cname record in my DNS setting, which allows every subdomain to be accepted by an sending email client. For the email service itself, it would be best to install Postfix with SpamAssassin, but I found this to much of a hassle, so I went for a cloud approach: Zoho Mail. They offer mailing for businesses with a single custom domain for free. And they also support subdomain stripping, which forwards every subdomain to my primary email inbox. So thijs@dropbox.broenink.email gets forwarded to thijs@broenink.email. And finally, I don’t have to worry about webmail interface, because Zoho already delivers that. And all for free.

If anyone has a tip or similar (better) approach, let me know at thijs@betterapproach.broenink.email !

Edit: I created two scripts to add and remove CNAME records directly into DigitalOcean. They override the wildcard CNAME record and forward mails to google.com, in which Google will answer with a Mail Delivery Failed. This allows blacklisting certain thijs@subdomain.broenink.email subdomains (code is on Github).

r = requests.post('https://api.digitalocean.com/v2/domains/'+domain+'/records',
 data={"type":"CNAME","name":value,"data":"google.com.","priority":"null","port":"null","weight":"null"},
 headers={"Authorization":"Bearer "+api_key})

Domain registrar Versio.nl: is it really that cheap?

For this blog I needed two new domains, thijsbroenink.com and thijsbroenink.nl. Having a few domains at TransIP already, I wondered if there isn’t a registrar that offers the same services as TransIP for a lower price. After some searching, https://versio.nl came up as competitor.

Until recently I always registered my domains at https://transip.nl. They offer a nice simple customer panel with great support for a reasonable price: a .nl domain costs €3,99 first year and €7,49 each year after.

Versio offers .nl domains for €3,24 first year, and €3,99 for each following year. They offer .com domains for €8,49 first year, and €8,99 each next year. TransIP indeed seems the more expensive one for long term: TransIP costs €3,99 (€7,49 next year) for .nl, and €7,99 (€9,99 next year) for .com. By transferring all my domains over from TransIP to Versio I could really save some bucks.

However, versio.nl isn’t as cheap as they tell you.

  1. Their prices are without 21% taxes (btw). After selecting my .nl and .com domain, the price suddenly went up with 4 euros.
  2. They charge you for each paying method. iDeal is the most common way to pay in web shops in the Netherlands, but they charge you an extra 1 euro for this. Same thing for Paypal, credit card and all other payment methods.
  3. I chose for Paypal as it had the lowest price with 80 cents. The Paypal login form said at the bottom: “You won’t directly confirm your order; you can check your order at the webshop’s website before placing it”. Well, not with Versio. I logged in and instantly payed them and registered my domains. No time for second thoughts.
  4. This one surprised me the most: I registered both .nl and .com domains at the same time, yet my .com domain suspends one month earlier than my .nl domain! Apparently each .com domain you register at Versio is only for 11 months, not for a full year.
    I asked Versio for a comment and they said it it’s their cancel-period, they need to know if it will be extended a month before experiation to discuss with their supplier.
 Versio says one year; they mean 11 months.

So folks, what do we learn here? If you go for Versio, be sure you know what kind of company you’re dealing with so you don’t get disappointed. Despite all above, .nl domains are still cheap there; just remember taxes and transaction costs are not included in the price.

For .com domains: do not register them at Versio. You won’t pay for a full year but for 11 months, and with €8,99 they are definitely not the cheapest. A better choice would be https://transip.nl: they offer .com for €7,99 (€9,99 next year) for a full year.

Oh, and if you are considering their hosting plans: make sure you read this first.

Now let’s hope they won’t suspend my domains…