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Domain Email Hosting Alternative (to GMAIL)
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l008com
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Oct 1, 2014, 01:37 PM
 
For years now, I've been encouraging all of my small business clients to use gmail for their email hosting. They get to use their domain names, but have the massive infrastructure of google behind them. And it generally works great (if you ignore the EMAIL imap folder that pops up). But there is one deal-breaking problem that keeps popping up more and more. Google only allows 15 simultaneous connections to any one account at one time. Now keep in mind that most IMAP clients will make 4 connections at once when they are downloading new mail. And everyone has a computer, an iphone, an ipad etc. But the real problem is that most small businesses have at least a few email addresses that multiple people check. So now you have 3 Macs, 3 iPhones and 3 iPads all checking the same google address, over IMAP. Each client making ~4 connections at once. And suddenly connections start getting dumped with the dreaded "Too many simultaneous connections"

There doesn't seem to be any way around this. I've gone on the google support forums and am told the problem isn't google, the problem is we're using email wrong

So now what I'm looking for, is a different email hosting service. Something similar to gmail for business, something that can host domain email, but something that doesn't have a connection limit, so the entire staff can check the "[email protected]" email address if they want to.
     
Doc HM
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Oct 1, 2014, 06:16 PM
 
Office 365. End of.
This space for Hire! Reasonable rates. Reach an audience of literally dozens!
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 1, 2014, 06:19 PM
 
I hate to say it, but have you looked at Office365?
They seem to have no such connection limit and if you go for the SMB package you get Office as well on up to 5 devices per user. The worst thing about it at the moment is when you call support they go completely overboard. Every single one of them wants you to save their direct line and email, (though you'll never get back to the same one as a rule) you have to go through two or three people every time you call and when you're done they all want to talk to you again to make sure you are happy. Its pretty annoying but it beats them being useless I guess.
In fact the connections + Office + 24/7/365 phone support makes it a better product than Gmail IMO.

One caveat, get the right license plan at the start. You can't go from an Enterprise plan to the SMB without migrating to a new account because it IS still Microsoft we're talking about and that would be way too sensible right? Other than that I have to hand it to them, they are doing pretty well.

Oh one more downside is the Home/Student licenses for Office Mac mean your MS Document Connection app won't let you access Onedrive/Sharepoint, you have to use the web interface until the Onedrive business app comes out. Also Onedrive/Sharepoint has two names for no good reason and different departments dealing with each.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Phileas
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Oct 1, 2014, 08:41 PM
 
Edit: Never mind, should have read the OP properly.

On the subject of Office, we looked into it as an alternative to Google docs and just couldn't do it. Typical MS nonsense with too many hoops to jump through.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 1, 2014, 09:57 PM
 
Like what?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
l008com  (op)
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Oct 2, 2014, 12:04 AM
 
Hell hasn't frozen over yet, so office 365 is off the table. Any other suggestions, other than a simple web hosting account with someone?
     
Snow-i
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Oct 2, 2014, 12:46 AM
 
Office 365 is awful. You can lose an entire day just trying to get to the "right department" even for simple requests.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 2, 2014, 05:21 AM
 
You could install Kerio Connect and run your own server, its pretty bullet proof. Kerio will do SAAS actually so you don't even need to run your own these days. Its a great cross-platform alternative to Exchange.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
ghporter
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Oct 2, 2014, 07:08 AM
 
I have a LOT of available email addresses from my small web hosting setup. It's MY domain, and I can have at least 100 addresses active on that domain. Email doesn't count against the traffic count, either. I use 1 and 1, but a lot of web hosting services do this for very reasonable annual fees (I think I spend less than $60 for 3 domains..). Sure, Google has their huge infrastructure, but most web hosting services ain't too shabby in infrastructure and support. Just sayin'...

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Phileas
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Oct 2, 2014, 09:32 AM
 
One of the biggest benefit of google's services is the fantastic spam filtering. I get zero spam and our email addresses are published all over the web.

I also really, really, like the gmail web interface. It beats every single mail app on the market for functionality and convenience.
     
Doc HM
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Oct 4, 2014, 01:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Office 365 is awful. You can lose an entire day just trying to get to the "right department" even for simple requests.
Get it set up (not hard) and it's rock solid. when did you last manage to contact Gmail support on the phone?

Oh yes right...
This space for Hire! Reasonable rates. Reach an audience of literally dozens!
     
Snow-i
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Oct 5, 2014, 08:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
Get it set up (not hard) and it's rock solid. when did you last manage to contact Gmail support on the phone?

Oh yes right...
Gmail? Wouldn't recommend that either.

O365 is great when there are no problems. If you have a problem, you are up shit creek and depending on your business you could lose thousands before the problem is solved. For a nominal difference in cost, you could just go hosted exchange (there are myriad providers) with support that can actually correct issues when they arise.
     
ghporter
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Oct 5, 2014, 10:15 PM
 
Please explain these "problems" you've had with Office 365. I want to know what to watch out for myself. In my experience, even though they take some time and often non-intuitive work (plenty of it) to configure, Microsoft's Office products do "just work," at least until someone a) screws around where they shouldn't, or b) MS comes out with a new version that changes everything (the new interface in Office, with the "Windows" (Home) button is a prime example of that). I'd really like to know what sorts of issues "just happen" with Office 365.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Phileas
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Oct 7, 2014, 07:02 AM
 
Gmail support (for business) is fantastic. We get support callbacks within five minutes at the very most. Problems are solved via hangouts and screen sharing by staff located in North America.
     
Snow-i
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Oct 7, 2014, 01:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Please explain these "problems" you've had with Office 365. I want to know what to watch out for myself. In my experience, even though they take some time and often non-intuitive work (plenty of it) to configure, Microsoft's Office products do "just work," at least until someone a) screws around where they shouldn't, or b) MS comes out with a new version that changes everything (the new interface in Office, with the "Windows" (Home) button is a prime example of that). I'd really like to know what sorts of issues "just happen" with Office 365.
I've had issues falling into the following categories (keep in mind, these are my clients issues - we've dealt with quite a few on O365.

-Licenses not properly sticking to user accounts causing myriad issues with office and exchange, despite appearing to be correct on the O365 CP.
-Various exchange problems with DNS, mail routing, auto discover, and funky spam filtering behaviors. Not all were Microsoft's issues but trying to track an issue down is next to impossible with Microsoft's support. The one particular instance that comes to mind is a law firm sending emails to our client that weren't making it. It was obviously an issue on the law firm's end but their IT kept claiming otherwise, and it took Microsoft 2 days and 5 different reps to confirm that emails weren't getting to Microsoft's servers. 2 days of no email between a housing developer and their attorneys, no matter's who's fault, is unacceptable.
-Provisioning issues where the order was provisioned incorrectly causing issues with migration/gaps in service

I cannot stress to you enough that most of these issues are minor in a normal exchange environment and only became "disasters" because of Microsoft's piss poor support. We decided to move away from O365 and go with our own private cloud setup for our clients as we just could no longer have faith that our clients that we put on O365's "Business Class (ha!)" services would receive the service level they required to keep their operations humming.

We are now a Microsoft SPLA provider and offer exchange and office for slightly more per user than Microsoft's O365 with support turnarounds measured in hours instead of days. All but one of our clients moved from O365 to our hosted solution, and all are happier for it.


We weren't the only partners not happy with Microsoft's issue handling.
After Office 365 Cloud Outages, Partners Calling For Better Communication From Microsoft - Page: 1 | CRN
Count us as one of those partners.

Moving to Office 365? Prepare for the huge pain of archive migration | InfoWorld
Migrating mailboxes to O365 was 1000x harder and more expensive than it had to be.

Don't even get me started on what a steaming pile Lync is. Privately hosted it can be good, but the O365 implementation couldn't even replace iMessage for us let alone integrating with our phone/email systems.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 7, 2014, 02:23 PM
 
I want to move one of mine from E1& E3 plans to the medium size business plans. They won't do it on auto, I have to create a new account and migrate everything across by saving pst files. Thats a total joke. Otherwise I haven't had issues with DNS or much else, but their call centre in the ass end of nowhere is not tremendously helpful I agree. Its not that they don't try, they just don't really know what they are doing and they struggle to communicate so often don't understand your issue fully.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
ghporter
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Oct 7, 2014, 05:00 PM
 
Snow, those are some substantial issues, and way worse than anything I've seen with MS's stand-alone (not licensed like 365) applications. And that could be a big part of the issue, since the problems you listed are all license or license validation-related things. Like the software is OK as long as Redmond doesn't keep it from working because their license checking stuff doesn't work...

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Snow-i
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Oct 7, 2014, 08:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Snow, those are some substantial issues, and way worse than anything I've seen with MS's stand-alone (not licensed like 365) applications. And that could be a big part of the issue, since the problems you listed are all license or license validation-related things. Like the software is OK as long as Redmond doesn't keep it from working because their license checking stuff doesn't work...
Yeah. a lot of times with a big implementation you are bound to run into some such off the wall issue. My gripe with O365 is that for these minor issues, getting Microsoft to recognize them takes hours on the phone (hours I absolutely do not have to give), and getting them fixed is even worse. You can roll the dice and be just fine most of the time, but there are better ways for nominal extra cost.

From what I know they've made a lot of improvements to the service itself, but my business clients have a need for business class support. That's what separates business use case scenarios from common consumers. Microsoft does not provide and leaves us partners with no power/authority to do so either.

I can't tell you the number of times we sold a client on O365 just to look like idiots when going through these nightmarish support scenarios. No thanks, I would like to be able to control the experience my clients receive when I sell them a solution, or at least have faith that our partners will take care of them. You get no such feeling from Microsoft. Dare I say it's worse than Comcast.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 7, 2014, 10:58 PM
 
Sadly they are now screwing up their standalone licences in order to push people to the subscription model. You can't transfer Office 2013 to a new PC unless you tell MS the old one died.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
   
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