Moving My E-Mail To Google Mail For Domains

After ten years of codestore.net I'm now thinking of moving email for both the codestore domain and rockalldesign.com to Google Mail For Domains.

Why Move?

Good question. My email setup as it stands isn't broken, per se, so why try and fix it. The only real reason is that POP3 access to my inbox is slooooow.

Current Setup

For the last 7 years or more my setup has been to have email for both domains delivered to the codestore Domino server and then to my own Mail File. From there I download it to Thunderbird via POP3, while leaving a copy in the Notes Mail File, which acts as a kind of backup.

I don't use the Notes client for email.

It all works well, but I find myself checking mail while out and about more and more. Either via my Android-based phone or my iPad or (if I'm really desperate) via an internet browser direct to the Notes mail file.

When using POP3 on my mobile devices to connect to the Domino server it can take what feels like an eternity to check for new mail. It's probably less than a minute in reality but when you just want to quickly check for mail it sure feels like forever as you sit watching a spinner go round and round.

Day-to-day use is fine as Thunderbird checks for new mail every 10 minutes and the POP3 delays just get added on to this interval and go un-noticed.  It's just when I'm not at the desk that I find myself thinking there has to be something better.

Something Better

In total I probably have about 6 or 7 email addresses. Two are them are Notes-based. Others are on Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail (my "throw-away" address) and my own POP3 server. It's when I compare these other setups to my Notes-based one, which is the most important and most-used of them all, that I see how it's lacking somewhat.

Why Google?

Hmm. Mainly because it integrates so well with various and many devices. Read a mail on my phone and it's marked as read online etc. But also because I know they offer this service and I can't off-hand think of any other similar service.

For the last couple of days I've been setting up an account with Google Apps for Business for Rockalldesign.com and testing it out. I really like what I'm seeing.

  • It works how I'd expect email to work.
  • Through Google's IMAP support I can download (and hence backup) and sync my mail between the internet and my laptop.
  • Sent mail gets stored on the web. Currently sent items are only stored on my laptop and not in my Notes mail file.
  • Similarly if I send a mail from the internet while out and about it will sync to Thunderbird's sent folder when I get back.
  • Read/unread status of messages is synced between laptop, web and mobile devices.
  • Google Mail has tight integration with Android

What's to lose? Anybody know any reason I should think twice?


    • avatar
    • Paul
    • Tue 21 Sep 2010 05:19 AM

    No, go for it. I changed over a year ago and have no problems.

    • avatar
    • Binsky
    • Tue 21 Sep 2010 06:40 AM

    And not to forget the spam filter which is available. I have it also since couple of years. Not one problem so far.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Tue 21 Sep 2010 06:48 AM

      Actually, Prominic.NET who host this server and email use Google-owned PostINI to catch spam, which has been brilliant over the years. So I doubt I'll notice an improvement.

  1. IMAP would also work through a Domino server. The only advantage I could think of is that you cannot share the yellowverse meme that Google is evil but you probably don't care much about this anyway.

    I don't like the Google mail interface (personal preference).

    I have my own Linux boxes mostly running Postfix / Courier and RoundCubeMail for Web Access (which I hardly ever use). IMAP gives me full access on all (including mobile) devices. This setup has been working for me for years. I don't do this for my own accounts alone so I have to maintain a mail infrastructure anyway (including disaster recovery and backup).

    Having said that the Traveler server I also use for some client work is working quite well and Domino web mail really looks nice nowadays (especially the light modes).

    Google imho so far offers the most complete offering.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Tue 21 Sep 2010 06:57 AM

      The GMail UI is something I've slowly come round to liking over the years. Didn't get it at all at first though.

      I've paid for Premium apps and removed the ads and added a custom logo, so it doesn't look half bad now.

      90% of the time I'll use Thunderbird anyway...

      Another thing I'm hoping to get away from is the nagging worry I've had for a while that my self-managed mail servers are blacklisted. I've never really trusted any email I send to arrive.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Tue 21 Sep 2010 06:59 AM

      On IMAP for Domino. I've always known this was an option but I'd imagine the same speed issues would exist (maybe even more so?). Not blaming Domino or Prominic or anything. I just happen to be on the other side of the Atlantic to my mail server, which doesn't help.

  2. I did a similar migration more than a year ago. To copy the mails I used ImapSync: http://freshmeat.net/projects/imapsync/

    • avatar
    • Jorge Coelho
    • Tue 21 Sep 2010 07:45 AM


    My parents own a small construction company and about 5 years ago I transferred their e-mail in the same fashion you are planning now. It's nice not to have to worry about the infrastructure and to get all the bonus features for free. I know have employees accessing e-mail quickly from mobile devices, any computer with Internet access, etc.

    I also really like the UI. One other point worth noting about the Gmail UI is that you can actually bring in mail from other accounts. I also have other accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) and I linked them all into the one mailbox and label any messages coming in from those sources to automatically distinguish the origin.

  3. I think your POP3 performance is suffering from an overly large Inbox. I've seen numerous reports where having lots of mail in the $Inbox slows down the server.

    Try cleaning it. (perhaps automatically?) I don't mean deleting it, just removing it from the Inbox folder.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Tue 21 Sep 2010 07:59 AM

      I should have thought of that before I guess.

      I'm on a path of no return now though. I like what I've seen too much to go back.

  4. Eh? "Path of no return"?

    In first sentence of your post is: thinking of moving email

    Wow, powerful brainwaves...

    • avatar
    • Keith
    • Tue 21 Sep 2010 08:39 AM

    Jake, I've used both IMAP and POP from Domino, and I can say that the IMAP performance is pretty good. I haven't used POP in years and avoid it when I can. I can second the recommendation to clean out your in-box - POP is an ancient protocol and does not no well with large in-boxes.

    I also run my own mail domain on Domino and have actually been quite happy with it. Unlike you I use the Notes client for e-mail. My wife uses Apple's Mail.app (via IMAP) and she likes that as well.

    As for mobile accesss, Lotus Traveler meets our needs just fine (we use Nokia phones). We're switching to iPhones later this year so again Traveler will fit the bill.

    • avatar
    • Pups
    • Tue 21 Sep 2010 09:35 AM

    Might be a dumb idea, but why not auto forward all emails that u get in ur notes acct to ur Gmail acct and check there?

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Tue 21 Sep 2010 03:23 PM

      That would probably work but I want whatever email solution I choose to be rock solid and have no room for error. Auto-forwarding sounds to me like it's just adding an extra hop in to the equation and a another point at which it could fail.

      When you run your own business on the back of email you can't afford (literally!) to risk not getting them all.

      • avatar
      • Jeroen
      • Wed 22 Sep 2010 04:21 AM

      If delivery in different boxes remains needed, I'd let google pop those alternate boxes into your google mail.

    • avatar
    • jake
    • Tue 21 Sep 2010 12:02 PM

    go for it. I did it and I haven't looked back. Google calendaring alone is reason enough. Also, set your IMAP clients to NOT save to "sent" folder, GMail will automatically do it for you and save the performance.

  5. We did it 2 years ago and have a number of clients we have setup to use google mail as well. Clients have been very happy with it, its a no brainer, especially if your using droid.

    • avatar
    • Jono
    • Tue 21 Sep 2010 05:37 PM

    I am currently involved in a project to pilot google mail (and apps) with the mind that if successful we would migrate all our users (10,000+). Cloud computing has come along leaps and bounds and will no doubt challenge traditional apps (MS Office etc) soon. Google seem to be ahead of the game at the moment. Good move I think Jake.

    • avatar
    • Jeroen
    • Wed 22 Sep 2010 04:20 AM

    I did the same two years ago; never looked back

    • avatar
    • Erwin
    • Wed 22 Sep 2010 05:56 AM

    Am I missing something? In my experience Lotus Notes 8.5 does all the things you have on your Google feature list. With Traveler it is really impressive how e.g. an iPhone magically synchronises mail/contacts/calendar with the Notes client or iNotes. Never experienced performance issues. The GPRS bandwidth is sufficient, if you don't try to view attachments.

    • avatar
    • Erwin
    • Wed 22 Sep 2010 05:56 AM

    Am I missing something? In my experience Lotus Notes 8.5 does all the things you have on your Google feature list. With Traveler it is really impressive how e.g. an iPhone magically synchronises mail/contacts/calendar with the Notes client or iNotes. Never experienced performance issues. The GPRS bandwidth is sufficient, if you don't try to view attachments.

    • avatar
    • Erwin
    • Wed 22 Sep 2010 05:57 AM

    Am I missing something? In my experience Lotus Notes 8.5 does all the things you have on your Google feature list. With Traveler it is really impressive how e.g. an iPhone magically synchronises mail/contacts/calendar with the Notes client or iNotes. Never experienced performance issues. The GPRS bandwidth is sufficient, if you don't try to view attachments.

    • avatar
    • Liam McLaughlin
    • Wed 22 Sep 2010 07:49 AM

    You also need to think about your exit strategy - what do you do if you want to move away from google in the future - how do you get your data out...

    But fortunately help is on hand...


      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 24 Sep 2010 04:42 AM

      My exit strategy is covered by Thunderbird, which, like with my Notes mail, keeps a synced local copy of my inbox. If Google died tomorrow I'd have copies of everything.

  6. I'm with Erwin. I am using dual 8.5 client (one from home), msuite for mobile, inotes for web. I am very happy with it. I may also extend my messaging client to integrate with my own CRM application, etc.

    I am using GMail too for personal use. Messages are being redirected with my other garbage e-mail accounts. Idea of registering all contacts into google irritates me as well.

    On the other hand, I am providing services about Domino and I should be in close contact with Notes/Domino. So, it's a must for my own job.

    I Hope, you like your new environment :)

    • avatar
    • Flaz
    • Wed 22 Sep 2010 01:19 PM

    What about privacy?

    You know, the answer of the question "Why is that all free?" is ads. Business then.

    I used GMail for years and noticed that when i didn't surf so much, all ads inherit topics about email messages sent and/or received. Honestly, I don't like this so much. My stuff (including e-mails) is my stuff. Generally I've nothing to hide, is just privacy.

    BTW, my work email is directly received by my Domino server.

    My personal e-mail by a Linux-box at home, Postfix/Dovecot and Thunderbird via IMAP.

  7. have you considered all the other things besides mail, like contacts, calendar and tasks for example ?

    We use gmail here with Outlook here and I found installing the MAPI based connector was much better than IMAP.


    • avatar
    • Flaz
    • Fri 24 Sep 2010 02:31 PM

    BTW Jake, with R8.5.2 there's also Trash and Sent syncronization via IMAP!

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