Managing Email with Flywheel and Pobox Email Forwarding

Late last year, I migrated this site to Flywheel for managed WordPress hosting (which I talked a little bit about in this post). I’ve been incredibly happy with them for a number of reasons, each of which I cover at a later time; however, one of the features that they do not offer is email hosting.

Straight from their support channel:

At Flywheel we believe strongly in working with “best of breed” providers for everything we do, and we view ourselves to be a “best of breed WordPress host.” As such, we do not currently host email for our clients. We make a deliberate effort to focus on building a great WordPress hosting environment – and being the absolute best at it.

I love the mentality and the vision they’re after, but this does leave us needing to look for an alternative host.

They mention Google Apps, Zoho Mail, and Rackspace Email as alternatives, but the last thing that I wanted to do was setup yet-another-email-address.

I have a handful of email addresses all of which forward to a single Gmail box that allow me to respond from the address to which the email was sent, and I wanted to duplicate that for this particular domain.

So I tried one of the recommended solutions for a couple of months, and I couldn’t get it to jive with my workflow (for a number of different reasons, none of which I’m covering here).

This ultimately lead me to try out Pobox.

Pobox Email Forwarding

They market themselves as lifetime email, but this is what hooked me:

Our accounts have lots of flexible features, to reflect how you use email.

Our helpful, human customer service staff can solve your email problems, from mail for one to organizations of thousands.

Pobox Email Forwarding

All I really needed was the email forwarding feature so that I can set it up to send all email to my Gmail account, and it would allow me to respond from said email address.

The short of it is that I’ve been really happy with it, and it only costs $20/year. Well worth the price.

My Favorite Feature

Truth is, I don’t know if I have a favorite feature. That is, the service does exactly what it promises to do, and it does it well.

That said, I do think that their spam filtering is something that stands out. In short, they have their own configuration mechanism that allows you to toggle how aggressively they look for spam before sending it on to where ever you have it directing mail.

So, naturally, I wanted to test how Google’s stacked up against Pobox’s native filter. Though Google’s spam protected is strong, it’s missed a few that Pobox has let through (when I disabled it, that is) so their spam protection mechanism is solid, and has varying degrees of aggressiveness that you can use.

Anyway, if you’re currently with Flywheel or with a host that doesn’t offer email and you’re looking for an affordable alternative, I recommend checking out Pobox.

7 Comments

Hey Tom,
Thanks for sharing. I face similar issues for some of my sites. Regarding your setup, when you reply to emails that were sent to you from emails powered by Pobox, when you reply, is your Gmail account displayed or the email address of the one powered by Pobox?
Secondly, have you ever tried something like mailgun.com. Since they have filtering, etc. I am guessing we can use it for the same purpose as yours.

    is your Gmail account displayed or the email address of the one powered by Pobox?

    Gmail

    Secondly, have you ever tried something like mailgun.com. Since they have filtering, etc. I am guessing we can use it for the same purpose as yours.

    I haven’t – in fact, this is the first I’ve heard of ‘em :).

      You should also check out AWS Simple Email Service(SES), and Mandrill. SES uses a fancy proprietary content filtering system so your emails never end up in spam folders, and has special digital signatures for security. Mandrill is owned by Mailchimp and integrates into your existing account and has an awesome UI. Both services offer thousands of emails per month free as well.

        Definitely familiar with Mandrill – I’ve used it for a few projects – but Amazon’s solution is new to be. I may have to look into that :).

        Flywheel sends all your WP transactional email through Mandrill automatically. A great feature I didn’t even know they had until I was puzzled to see my mail coming from MC servers without me setting it up. (I was about to.) :-D

Thanks for the rec. I use Google Apps for my hosted accounts that don’t offer email, like WP Engine, which I’ve been happy with. They integrate well with all things Google, not surprisingly, whose products I seem to be using more and more of whether I realize it or not, and it’s certainly affordable. $5/mo for 2 email addresses, I think. I’m about to set a Ghost site up for someone with Digital Ocean, so I’ll give Pobox a whirl and hook them up with that and see what they think .

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