Questions about web hosting and email limits
January 13, 2022 10:30 AM   Subscribe

My web hosting service is imposing email storage limits, is this normal, and what solutions are there?

My old hosting service was acquired by someone else a few years ago, and this week I got notice that my grandfathered plan is being phased out, and I am exceeding email storage limits (1 Gb). I have a few websites that I run, but they are very low traffic, and I mainly use the web server for file storage (so that clients can download their files whenever they'd like) and for my email, which goes back 20 years, and is about 5-6Gb in size. Working in audio, I have a decent number of attachments in those emails, and sometimes clients refer back to things from years ago, so I don't want to delete them. I use a shared server plan, since my sites get very little traffic, and that isn't likely to ever change.

I guess my specific questions are as follows:

1 - Is it "normal" for a web hosting company to limit email storage, even if they provide unlimited storage for websites?

2 - Is there a good way to download an archive of email and have it be accessible through a standard email program? I use thunderbird, and have always kept everything online so I could access it from several different computers, but I guess I don't need to continue to do this.

3 - If I did need to switch providers, are there recommendations for a web host with unlimited (or at least 10Gb) email storage as part of their web hosting?
posted by markblasco to Technology (5 answers total)
Switch thunderbird to POP (selecting to leave a copy on the server) and let it download the mail to a local mailbox. This can take a long time if your host throttles the connection. Depending on your host your mail might already be in a mailbox file that you could just download.

Free Gmail is 15gb.
posted by Mitheral at 11:17 AM on January 13

Yes email limits are normal, but 1GB is stupidly low in 2022. But email storage limits and and website storage allocation are unrelated.
posted by cgg at 1:26 PM on January 13

I have a 25GB limit on my email plan at PolarisMail. It's costing me $1/month.
posted by COD at 4:37 PM on January 13

Just one of my mailboxes is 214GB.... it takes minutes to uncompress and even longer to load into a mail application.

Send them an email and ask for them to create you an 'mbox' file of your mail and plop it into your directory. Download that, figure it out. Then fire up the old server based mail, select messages older than say 1y and delete them to get down to below the 1G limit.

Then figure out how to keep it up once every couple of months or so.... get old messages and add to your local archive and delete from server while being able to keep the recent on the server and easy remote anywhere accessible. But that part is the secondary concern.

Ask them to give you a dump. Make sure you can work with that dump. Delete the old. Keep up with the new normal of backing up your mail locally. Navigate that bit after you've gotten your old mail down first.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:48 PM on January 13

Like others said, it’s not unusual to have limits on email space but 1GB is not a lot these days. Assuming your email is on your own domain, I’d look at moving it elsewhere - you can keep your web hosting where it is if you’re happy with that and just point the domain’s “MX” records to a new email host.

I recently moved from my email host that was closing to Fastmail - it costs $5/user/month for 30GB of space and I’ve been very pleased so far. Really good webmail interface for the times I need it, excellent documentation, and a way to import all of your email from your previous email host, which worked well. Here’s their documentation for moving to Fastmail, including how to import old emails
posted by fabius at 5:32 AM on January 14

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