Backing Up To Gmail Is A Blessing When Your Mail Server Dies

Backing Up To Gmail Is A Blessing When Your Mail Server Dies

Earlier this year, we detailed how to automatically forward your email to Gmail as a backup solution. Doing that proved to be very useful to me when my main mail server had a temporary freak-out this morning.

Long story short: a misconfigured spam email started endlessly forwarding itself from my Lifehacker work account to my main account and filled my inbox beyond its capacity, generating bounce messages to everyone who contacted me and rendering my email address inaccessible to Outlook or web mail access. I was away from my machine when the overfilling started, so didn’t realise until the damage was well and truly done.

Despite those problems, however, the auto-forwarding rule I had set up to copy mail to Gmail continued to work, which meant I still had accessible copies of everything that had been sent to me during that time, and an opportunity to figure out what went wrong. The experience didn’t convince me to switch to Gmail entirely — I still prefer a desktop client and control of my mail domain — but as a backup, it worked pretty much flawlessly. Hit the original Lifehacker 101 post for details on how you can do the same.


  • Hey, there’s nothing to stop you using both a desktop email client and gmail via imap. In fact it makes perfect sense – the ease of web-based gmail plus the local ‘backup’ a client creates in case of the odd gmail outage. If you’re that way inclined you could just automate a pop extraction from gmail each night if you don’t just want to launch a local client to do the pop/imap integration. One or the other is definitely worthwhile just so you don’t lose email if gmail ever loses your account (as they used to do occasionally).

    This also reminds me of another thing I have used for a while which is having the ‘send from’ and ‘return to’ addresses of my google apps email account configured as a gmail group which includes not only my primary mail account but also an additional ‘[email protected]’ account. I hardly ever log into the audit account but know it has a copy everything I have ever received in there, just in case I’ve deleted something I later need (or more likely over-filtered it!).

    This use of a ’email group address instead of direct email address’ technique is extremely useful for those running google apps email within a small business who would like a copy ALL inbound mail received, regardless of whether their employess delete ‘their’ copy. Additionally as employees leave you can delete their actual account but retain the inbound email address group to ensure that email is still routed to the generic audit account. By adding another employeee’s direct email address to the old employee’s group you have easily setup a mail redirect without having to retain the old account in your system.

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