Secure Email & Website Hosting Services
-- Internet security is an important issue for personal and small business
websites. It should be effective, easy to set up and maintain, and inexpensive. Our cable
Internet service changed hands twice in three years (excite @ home to AT&T to
Comcast). In addition to security issues, a person or small business does not
have to worry about losing their ISP based website and email addresses and starting over
if they have an independent domain name and email and/or website hosting service. As a small business whose site focuses on home and SOHO
Internet security, we decided to take our own advice. It proved much harder than
Providers With Security Features -- These services can be used instead of or in addition to
ISP and/or website hosting email virus and spam filtering features. When our
email service provider notified us that they were closing down, we had to do
research to find a replacement. Our key criteria were IMAP service with spam and
virus filters in addition to cost, ease of use, and so on. Deciding which one is best for you depends on your
particular needs. For more background on this type of strategy, see
bombproof plan to securing your email, October 28, and
bombproof plan Part 2: Setting up your email, Charles Wright, The Age,
November 4, 2003.
Aliencamel -- $16 for
six months, 5 day free trial, anti-spam and anti-virus.
Everyone.net -- Personal
account with five mail boxes for $35 per year includes domain name, 10 MB per
box, 14 day MBG, IMAP, total
protection option includes SpamShieldPro and Sophos virus filters for $15
per year per mail box, Gold Plan technical support option is $10 per month. Or, get one free mail
box without anti-virus or a MailPlus mail box with anti-virus for $28 per year
from one of their affiliates.
FastMail.fm -- Free
account has "basic" spam/virus filters, full account for $20 per year has
advanced spam/virus filters (Kaspersky), webbug protection, and includes personal technical support, IMAP, 50 MB, and you can pick from a variety of domain names. Their online web
mail interface has useful and powerful features that you can configure to best
meet your needs.
offers a unique service (as far as we know) that provides email with 25 MB
storage, telephone access, an 800 phone number for voicemail and faxes, and more
for $15 per month. They protect
their email customers using multiple anti-virus scanning
engines and spam filters that integrate Bayesian, Heuristics, Distributed
Checksum Clearinghouses and Black Lists.
OnlyMyEmail Plus, $48
per year, anti-spam and anti-virus, 20 MB storage.
Runbox Mail Manager -- One mail box for $30 per year, IMAP, 100 MB, one month
free trial, 60 day MBG, SpamAssassin, Clam AntiVirus, includes support.
Webmail.us -- One mail box for $30 or five for $90 per year plus $20 per
year to register a domain name, free one week demo, 25 MB storage, IMAP, spam
filter, two anti-virus filters (Kaspersky & Frisk F-Prot), support included, a
new subsidiary of an existing company (October 2003).
Web Hosts With Security Features --
We had three criteria for potential hosts -- hardware firewalls protecting their
servers, server side email software filters for viruses and spam, and that these
services were included in the hosting package not as "extras". We could not find
an online hosting directory that provided this information. We had to visit each
potential host's site and see if they met our criteria. After several days and
many hours of searching, we found six potential hosts. We were all set up at our new host before SobigF hit in
August 2003. The antivirus service filtered out over two thousand infected emails the first
three days and several hundred a day thereafter until SoBigF went dormant on
September 10, 2003. The one problem we found was that some "default" email was
not being filtered. Default means any email addressed to a domain whether there
is a mailbox set up for that address or not. Allowing default email opens you up
to much more spam and infected email. Blocking default means losing contacts
that you may want as a business. As an additional safeguard, we routed all email
remaining after being filtered by the hosting service through our email service
provider account where it was filtered again. This proved wise because
about 5% of the SoBigF infected emails got through the hosting account filters. Just in case something slips through the first two levels of
online protection, we also use a low-cost hardware firewall router on our network as
well as personal firewall, anti-virus, anti-trojan, anti-spyware, anti-spam and
privacy software on each computer.