Do you suggest a private email service with IMAP support?

I am moving away from Google and trying to find a private email service that I can use with Nextcloud Mail. I tried Proton Mail, but it does not have support for IMAP.

I am curious to know from the community which service they use that is not Gmail.

Since I use IONOS to host the VPS that my Nextcloud is on, I use the email that comes with it.

I self-host my NC… so I don’t want to pay a VPS just to get email.

Selfhosting it all? Then sendmail, postfix, dovecot etc. However as I do not use Nextcloud mail and no self hosting mail solution, I cannot tell you how to setup with Nextcloud. However there should be easy guides out there…?

Protonmail support SMTP and IMAP through the proton bridge. However unless paying for a protonmail professional subscription, you can create multiple users and use your own domain, so this setup is only really relevant if you are a bigger organization.

This is not the case, I have a NAS for home use, some family members (4) use it and I would just like to see the emails on Nextcloud and be able to accept calendar events so it is synced with my DavX5.

Fair. Then you must setup a mail environment yourself, and use the snappymail or Nextcloud official mail app to integrate with your own SMTP and IMAP service. If Nextcloud official mail app is not supporting IMAP, then try snappy mail app?

Self-hosting email is a challenge due to the many requirements you have to meet in order to not be flagged as spam, but it’s the only way to go if you don’t want some company having your data.

If you want to self-host then I can probably make some suggestions, but I don’t think I know a service to personally recommend.

It actually support on latest version.

I am thinking this can be an option… but also can imagine a lot of work. Do you have a good experience with that?

But that’s exactly what you gonna need if you want to host email yourself. Sending email over a residential internet connection is not going to work. In order to send mail, you need a static IP address, and even those are often on blacklists, when they are in a residential IP range. Many ISPs also block port 25, plus you need a PTR record for your IP, which no ISP will set up for for you, unless your on a business plan.

Yes, but running an email server isn’t like running Nextcloud. It has a very different set of requirements. And you have to have your MX, SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and PTR all set up correctly, or you’ll get marked as spam.

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The easiest way to set up your own mail server is probably this project: It basically does all the things for you, @KarlF12 mentioned. But you still gonna need a basic understanding how email and DNS works, and you’re going to need a VPS with a public IP address, that isn’t on any blacklists, from a VPS provider that doesn’t block port 25.

With my ISP I am surprisingly lucky, no ports blocked and static IP for free. I even use their modem in bridge mode with no problem. I also understand the SMTP protocol and DNS very well IMHO (I even implemented a SMTP client back in university). But these blocklists/spam problems demotivates me to trying out. I also don’t have a good domain I can use for email. This is why my first priority would be finding a service with IMAP support at least in the next months, even if I have to pay for it in worst case.

Like @Scott_Kirkpatrick I can recommend as well. I’m using their smallest email + domain-package for years now for my family.
Nextcloud is self-hosted (using RPI4 + Nextcloudpi). I’ve setup the mail-app in nextcloud as well and this connects via IMAP to my ionos-mail-account.

I am not a heavy-user of the mail-app - maybe because of this I don’t understand, why using the mail-app would make a difference regarding “accepting a calendar event”.

Far most solid - and easiest Open Source mail server project - is iRedMail.

However you would need a VM for that, as making it work in a container, is not supported, so you will need to get your hands dirty. However if you has a spare box or enough juice to run another VM, iRedMail is by far, my recommendation.

Why instead of having your selfhosted email service, use any other email service as gmail or outlook and connect it to your nextcloud account with the Mail app?

Because they read your email.

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To me, this sounds like it’s doable, maybe you can even send mail directly from your home connection, if your ISP is willing to setup a PTR record for you. You can start with an IP blacklist check: Email Blacklist Check - IP Blacklist Check - See if your server is blacklisted. If the IP is on one or multiple blacklist, you could try to get it de-listed. If this doesn’t work out, you could still host the server at home, and use a relay / mail forwarding service, like AnyMX or Sendgrid, for outgoing mail.

In order to setup your server, I can recommend, either Mail-in-a-Box, which I’ve been using for a long time or Mailcow, which I’m using now. Both make it relatively easy to run a fully fledged mail server. Mail-in-a-box can even take care of the DNS for your domains, which makes it even easier.

If you don’t want to to host yourself, I don’t have a recommendation. Privacy oriented services like ProtonMail or Teutona usually don’t offer IMAP directly, because of how they implement end-to-end encryption. But maybe you can get ProtonMail Bridge working on your server, and then connect Nextcloud Mail to that. Integrate Nextcloud with Protonmail Bridge · Issue #97 · ReinerNippes/nextcloud_on_docker · GitHub

Otherwise you can use virtually any email service you trust, that supports IMAP, unless it has to be absolutely NSA proof, in which case you shouldn’t probably use email at all. :wink:

Because he wants to get away from Google, and because we all do want a decentralized internet, don’t we? Isn’t that the reason why we host a Nextcloud server in the first place? Otherwise we could just pay a few dollars and use Google Drive or M365 instead of Nextcloud, which would be much easier, and most likely cheaper too.

However, If you don’t want to host your email yourself, there are plenty of smaller email providers out there that offer IMAP. So you at least don’t give the already too powerful companies, like Google and Microsoft, even more power.


I will give a try soon to install Proton Bridge together with Nextcloud. I can post later results.