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I maintain a few small web projects (2-3 people) where the scenario is usually the same:

  1. The project has its own domain (example.com)
  2. There is a need to setup one or two personal e-mail addreses (peter@example.com)
  3. One common group e-mail address is also needed (support@example.com)
  4. Every person with a personal e-mail address from bullet 2 needs to be able to receive e-mails from support@example.com.
  5. Also needs to be able to reply to those messages as peter@example.com and also as support@example.com
  6. Every person has their OWN personal e-mail address at Gmail/other domain running on Google Apps which he regularly checks and he would like to be able to easily read e-mails related to the @example.com at their own e-mail address, because it won't be effective to check more e-mail accounts separately = ONE INBOX, but the e-mails needs to be categorized (Gmail labels or so)
  7. The project are on a shared hosting and are not as big to invest any money into running Google Apps on each of those.

I came with two possible solutions to this:

1. POP3 fetching


  • Setup each e-mail address separately on a mail server related to domain hosting
  • Instruct every person to use their Gmail POP3 fetching ability to fetch those e-mails to their personal account and to automatically label fetched messages with the project name.
  • Setup SMTP send as Gmail feature at every person OWN e-mail address so they will be able to send e-mails from @example.com domain

+ if a person no longer works on the project, I can just set up fetching on someone elses account and all PAST messages from domain-hosting-mail-server will be fetched to his account

- Every e-mail takes double space - at domain hosting and also at the persons OWN e-mail address - Person's OWN mail provider has to be able to fetch e-mails (but the major one like Gmail is)

- I need to check for mail storage quotas every once in a while, so the e-mail accounts at domain-hosting are not full and the e-mail are not coming anymore

- Google POP3 fetcher checks the other e-mail accounts just once an hour which can mean a difference dealing with some crisis.

EDIT: I just found that when sending e-mails from OWN gmail address even through @example.com SMTP server the e-mails are not saved at the corresponding domain outbox (they are just in the gmail outbox). Is it possible to set this one somehow? It would be a big advantage for this method.

2. Mail forwarding


  • There won't be any real e-mail account on the domain, just set of rules where to redirect incoming messages (to person's OWN mail addresses)
  • Create one real e-mail account on each domain for SMTP authentication

+ Easy to setup

+ Won't take any space on domain-hosting

- The e-mails are only at person's OWN e-mail accounts so if they walk away from the project, it can be hard to get important e-mails back - also hard to transfer to someone else


Is there any other drawback on of each of those? Which one is a more common way to do? What am I missing there in the long run?

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1 Answer

Each has its own drawbacks as you noted.

I run something similar and chose to go with the forwarder.

I also created a mailbox for each forwarding email address so there is a copy of all received emails. Don't worry about checking quotas, you should get notified when they are getting full, then you can deal with it.

The problem with both these systems is that you don't have copies of outgoing mail and even if you did, there is nothing to stop anyone with access to "their" mailbox deleting anything.

Perhaps you could investigate piping everything through your own mail server, something like http://www.openchange.org/

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