Today you’re gonna be getting a rundown of the ‘Rakena Email System’ - and how stingy I truly am when it comes to paying for email services. (And maybe some pretty sketchy economic analysis.)

Why do you care so much about email addresses?

As some of you might know by now, I run a private mail setup for my family - using the rakena.co.nz domain, which I own. (There’s some bootleggers too, like quicktable.net, greemdev.net, and abyssal.gg)

I was always attracted to the idea of professional, private email - being able to send email as jackson@rakena.co.nz, instead of, say, jacksonrakena@gmail.com. It suggests that the sender is important/professional enough to have a custom domain. And my dad likes it too for his business communications. A double ego win!

Normally, most companies looking for email would have it provided by their internal IT departments, usually in the form of something like Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), or, in the case of my high school and my (current) workplace, Microsoft 365 (Exchange). Unfortunately, these are both some pricey options, with them both clocking in at around $4-8 New Zealand dollars per month.

So instead, I’m going to make a comparison between a few small providers, namely Migadu (which I use at the moment), MXroute (a rather worthy competitor), and the aforementioned options.

The criteria

The criteria I’m looking for in my dream mail provider are summed up in this list, in order of how much I care:

  • Price
    • Preferred: Bulk storage-based pricing (i.e. $X/month for Y GB, instead of $X per user, per month)
  • Features
    • Webmail client (web access, ease-of-use, style)
    • Federation with SAML/OIDC single-sign-on (for use with my in-house IAM provider, Rakena IAM)
    • Out-of-office (holiday) autoreplies
    • Quality and speed of spam filtering
    • Setup: How long it takes to add an email account to my family members' devices (iPhones especially, Windows and Mac laptops)
  • Security
    • DMARC, DKIM, SPF, the usual suspects.