Email is a decentralized, non-web messaging transport.
Indiewebcamp creators currently posting to their sites via email, and/or POSSEing to email:
... more posting POSSEing here ...
Due to its popularity and ubiquity email is extremely widely supported.
Of particular interest is the fact that many native applications (especially on iOS) include it in their share/export/action menus by default. This could be an excellent UI to piggyback on for quick and easy posting to our own sites.
questo.email is an indieweb/email bridge that aims to be a hub for all kinds of interactions between indie sites and email addresses, including email-to-webmention and webmentions-to-email.
Bad for more than two people
Whilst adequate for some one to one conversation it scales extremely badly to conversations with more than two people.
Bad for collaboration
Not web identifiers
Bad for identity
Encourages Constant Distraction
Unreliable DeliveryEmail delivery, especially with your own domain, has shown to be anecdotally unreliable due to overzealous spam filters' false positives, e.g.: https://twitter.com/dangillmor/status/579770619367170049
Is there a way to find out if my email is ending up semi-routinely in spam filters? Several folks recently said they didn't get my messages
Can I point my domain to my VPS(/web server) but still use hosted email services? I don’t want to run a mailserver
Yes, your domain name can resolve to the IP address of your web server for HTTP traffic, but direct mail agents to look elsewhere. See also DNS.
Email Services by Type
Here are various levels of email services available from different providers, roughly ordered from easiest/cheapest/friendliest to most powerful/technical.
Custom domain email providers
Custom domain email providers have the ability to set up an email account to send email as if it is from your own personal domain.
You have to separately configure your domain (perhaps at your DNS provider or web hosting provider) to forward domain sent to your domain (e.g. email@example.com) to whatever email provider you use.
IndieWeb community members using this approach:
Main article: Gmail
Gmail (gmail.com run by Google) is a free email service that has the ability to set it up to send email as if it is from your own personal domain, optionally using the SMTP server from your domain host (web host).
FastMail(https://www.fastmail.fm/signup/personal.html) is a paid email service that has a range of options from only giving you a @fastmail address to others that allow you to have your own personal domain. Other differentiators are with how much email you can store.
Pawnmail(https://pawnmail.com/) is a service dedicated to provide "Email hosting for custom domains" that gives 2GB storage "free forever" to anyone. It provides a webmail client along with SMTP, IMAP and POP3 access.
Mail as a Service
Mandrill is a service for sending and receiving emails run by Mailchimp. Its free plan is generous enough to easily cover the needs of an individual posting to their own site.
Note: Madrill does not charge for inbound email. See: https://twitter.com/sandeepshetty/status/463330411636994048
Beware: I have experienced some inconsistencies in the mandrill responses. Namely that sometimes attachments are in the msg.attachments key, but I have also seen them in msg.images. I am currently using
Other Inbound Email Providers
There are other email PaaS companies which offer similar inbound POST request hooks instead of using Mandrill. More details coming soon.
Mail Forwarding Services
IndieWeb community members using this approach:
MailRoute allows you to specify its mail servers in your domain's MX records and then specify what server domain or IP Address to forward sanitized emails to. It offers spam filtering, greylisting and a number of other features. Once you have an account and have configured it for your domain you are then ready to setup your local MTA.
Handling it Yourself
Mail in a Box
Running your own mail server
A MTA (Mail Transfer Agent) is a process that runs on your server and accepts incoming SMTP (port 25 generally) connections for mail delivery. Running your own MTA is fraught with trouble and can be so very time consuming that even people who run servers for a living generally use a forwarding service to handle all of the messy bits.
The example I give here will be to use Mailroute as the forwarding service and Postfix as the local MTA, but other combinations can be used.
I use Postfix primarily because it comes from all of the OS Distros with a very sane set of defaults that you enter during setup and it just works. The reason Postfix becomes a drop-in tool is because of the work that is being done by the Mail Forwarder you setup in the prior step.
The key bits to configure is to tell the installer that you are using Postfix as "Stand-alone Internet Host" and then make sure the main.cf entries for mydestination contains your domain and relayhost contains the domain name for your Mail Forwarder.
Anyone can send fake email from any email address. You need some way of determining that inbound email does indeed come from who it appears to. Possible solutions include: