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From Sendmail To G Suite Gmail

by @ 1:04 pm
Filed under: email,google — Tags: , ,

In a previous post I covered updating my self-hosted Sendmail program to the newest version with some additions such as TLS 1.2 and DKIM. The version 8.15.2 at the time of my update was nearly five years old.

Interestingly, less than two months after my update Sendmail released a new version 8.16.1 . Now it must have been a coincidence that after 5 years of hibernation Sendmail decided to release a new version only a few weeks after I had gone to the trouble of updating my install but I wasn’t about to go through the pain of building, testing and deploying the new version and all its supporting components again.

Sendmail is a rock solid MTA and I could have happily stayed with the 8.15.2 version, but as I had mentioned in that blog post there were bigger concerns about continuing to self-host an email server. I was simply burned out from combating spammers and hackers and since all my emails (including uncaught spam) were forwarded to Gmail, my server’s reputation with Google wasn’t exactly stellar.

The time had come to end self-hosting and migrate to cloud hosting and G Suite was the perfect platform. G Suite by Google is one of several cloud products that companies can migrate their online presence to, including email service for their entire organization.

In my case that decision was even easier since I already had an unused free legacy G Suite account that had been languishing for many years. The legacy account has many limitations compared to the paid versions but it was good enough to proceed with the migration.

I configured hashemian.com as an alias domain for the G Suite account and created two users to handle the 55 or so email addresses. Each user can have a maximum of 30 email aliases which is why two users were needed. After adding all the aliases to the users, I logged into Gmail with each user account and configured them to forward all incoming emails to my regular Gmail account and then to delete those emails.

The final step was to the configure the DNS MX records and emails bound for hashemian.com started to flow to the G Suite users and subsequently to my regular Gmail inbox.

Since my Sendmail install was no longer used to receive email, I blocked it from all outside traffic to stop all spam attempts from external hosts. Scanning the maillog file proved that all spam activity directed at my server had come to a halt which also had a nice side effect of significantly lowering the stress on my server.

Sendmail isn’t completely gone from my server. It’s still used to send out all internal and web page generated messages. At this point I can fully disable it and use a lightweight outbound SMTP program such as ssmtp, msmtp, or nullmailer to submit emails via Gmail’s SMTP relay service. Perhaps some day that may happen, but for now Sendmail is working fine sending outbound messages without much stress on the server, so there’s little reason for me to fully terminate it.

After over 10 years with Sendmail, it was time to hand the email service reigns over to the cloud and so far the only regret is not doing it sooner. My server isn’t the only one benefiting. I also have a lot less stress since the migration.

* G Suite is now known as Google Workspace.

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