Take back control of your email address

The internet initially started out in a decentralized way. Everyone was encouraged to run their own web services. And among the limited number of users, a lot of them were able to. But as time passed by, more and more corporations took advantage of the internet and contributed to its centralization.

Personal blogs became Facebook, the Usenet became Reddit, XMPP turned into messengers like WhatsApp. And of course there is email. Even though it is based on open protocols and therefore decentralized at its core, it has long stopped fulfilling its initial vision. Services like GMail or iCloud dominate the email provider landscape and leave little room for other providers.

This creates multiple problems directly affecting you. For one, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these companies are actively spying on you, amassing data on everything you do on their platforms. Besides that, you’re also creating a reliance on the provider.

All the online services you register for are bound to your email address. And when that email provider disappears, you lose access to your online accounts or in the best case scenario have to go through a lengthy recovery process.

You can tackle both of these issues by signing up for a privacy-respecting email provider and combined it with my own domain to be able to switch email provider in the future.

Switching Email Providers

Registering a Domain

Imagine you registered the domain example.com. You can then use yourname@example.com as your email address. Ultimately, this allows you to be more independent of your email provider, as you can just switch to a different provider later on while still keeping your email address intact.

There are dozens of domain registrars and a quick online search will lead you the right way.

Email Cloaking Service

Fortunately, there are services which allow you to create a unique email address for every online service you use. That unique email address then forwards all emails to your actual email address. Should you ever receive spam through the generated email address, you can simply deactivate it. And poof — the spam is gone.

These are the email cloaking services I currently know of:

All of these services can be used for free under varying conditions. They are all open-source, which means that you can also run one of them for yourself. If you have the knowledge to do so, this is the best option.

Bringing an End to your Email Nightmares

Email isn’t perfect, and it probably will never be. But we can at least try to make it a tiny bit better.

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