I’ve been using the Internet in its “current” incarnation since college, which was way back in the early 1990’s. Ever since those days, I’ve been stockpiling the ephemera of my internet presence which includes things like domain names, instant messenger handles (795668 represent!), logins, and email addresses. I say this not because I am special in this regard, but to serve as a warning for others in my peer group, and for those who might only have a decade or so under their internet belt: moving yourself is a pain in the ass.
I believe I’ve chronicled my attempts to move this site to a host inside my own house. If not, there it is; that’s the post. As you can see, I have the blog.scopique.online domain pointing here, which is a switch-over from the original scopique.com domain that I had originally bought and set up with a paid hosting provider. The reasons for doing all of this boil down to one reason: I needed more pain in my life. Actually, moving the website wasn’t so hard, once I figured out how to run WordPress on my home server and get it visible to the outside world (I am still having loopback issues for in-home access, but that’s a whole other ball of wax). Since the dot-com domain was still pointing to the live site, and because I had email addresses associated with it, I opted to switch the dot-online domain to point to the newly hosted instance. Of course, now I am left with the decision to either move everything back to dot-com, or keep rolling with the sub-domain-dot-online.
That brings me around to the email situation. I had a few addresses associated with dot-com, but nothing that was actually getting traffic. The addresses were set up more for the vanity of relying on “scopique.com” as a branding exercise than anything else. Still, as I am hoping to someday cancel my paid hosting plan, I need to get my other domains away from that host. The website is done, but email addresses for two domains still need to move.
I put out a call the other day through the Fediverse for thoughts on pure email hosting with a custom domain, and I received two immediate responses voting for iCloud with custom domains. Were this a situation a year or two ago, I’d have to nix these as I was not really in the Apple ecosystem at all, but now, with an iPad and iPhone, it made sense to look into. As far as options go, it was one of the (if not the) lowest cost options. My registrar, the one I am moving my DNS to, charges $2USD/month for a single Office 365 email address. One address! However, it seems to be the minimum price per address norm for email-only hosting services I was able to find. Upgrading my iCloud to iCloud+ for $0.99USD/month seemed like a no-brainer. With this, I get to assign up to five custom domains, and each domain can have three email boxes (and a few aliases if I need to fly a specific flag beyond that without needing the mailbox). I only need three addresses, really, so I signed up and after some hair-raising hijinx requiring a reboot of my phone to remedy, I got scopique.com set up with some addresses.
The hardest part was switching over from the addresses on the domain I am looking to sunset. I had about 30 years worth of accounts under one single address, and they all needed to be verified for freshness (many were offline), logged into, and changed — if I could change the address at all. It makes sense that allowing a user to change an email address would be a multi-step process, although you’ll be amazed at how many reputable companies just let you switch up and be on your way. Most required that I click a link in an email sent to the new address, but a large number of accounts sent the verification link to the old address. What if I no longer had access to that old address? I suppose I would have to call them, assuming they had phone support at all. I’m glad that I control the domain and the email address I am moving away from because I can take my time to ensure all accounts have been disconnected.