Solr search for Dovecot and WordPress

Perhaps the most-significant effect of leaving Gmail behind was the loss of its search capabilities. While I miss labels, I’ve found that filing an email into a single folder has forced me to be more deliberate, more organized. Search, however, was a feature I had to replicate.

When considering search solutions, any potential choice, at a minimum, needed to support Dovecot 2.21. Ideally, WordPress would also be indexed by whatever solution I chose.

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  1. Full-text search options changed in version 2.2, hence my emphasis on that particular point release. Dovecot Pro, which I don’t pay for, includes a new full-text search tool, which supersedes the option Dovecot provided previously.

Experiments with mailserver redundancy

When I decided to test if I could successfully configure and operate my own mailserver, I knew I’d need to account for times when that server was down. Overall, my primary server has had very few disruptions, but when this website was the only service that could be impacted, I also wasn’t as concerned about 100% uptime.

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Backing up a Gmail address with gmvault

Despite all I’ve done to move my email to my own domain and hosting, inevitably some messages still arrive in the Gmail account I’ve had for more than a decade. I’ve already configured the account to send replies from my new addresses, but I also wanted to archive the 215,000+ messages already stored with Google, along with anything new that arrived there.

Options considered before gmvault

One solution is Google’s Takeout service, which will produce an archive of everything stored in Gmail (and many of Google’s other services, too!), but this process is manual and can be very slow. Takeouts can only be created through a web interface; downloading the archive requires doing so in the browser (for authentication reasons); and since it isn’t creating incremental backups, every message is included in every Takeout. An archive of just my Gmail account takes about 29 hours for Google to prepare, amounts to nearly 7 GB (in gzipped tar format), and takes several hours to download to my laptop. I’ve then another several hours to upload the archive to my backup server. While I’m willing to undertake this process once a month to back up all services that Takeout supports–which entails two files totaling around 30 GB–Takeout is impractical for regular exports of a frequently-changing service like Gmail.

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Blocking sender IPs in Postfix

Despite all I’ve done to filter junk mail, I recently noticed one consistent spammer who was bypassing all of my safeguards. Notably, this source has a host who’s tolerant enough that the spammer went so far as to set SPF headers, to give their messages some “credibility.”

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Why I host my own email

What started as a test of whether or not I could do something became, over time, an obsession. Gaining complete control over my email was a motivator for sure, but curiosity was an equal impetus. Anyone who read my post about hosting‘s nameservers will recognize a pattern.

Managing flow

Creating multiple accounts with a single provider as a means to organize emails doesn’t provide much flexibility. Using one address or another works until one loses track, or the wrong address is shared in the wrong place. At that point, one has no ability to divert incoming messages to other destinations before they land in the inbox. Gmail and others do offer a way to forward messages after they’re received, but a reactionary approach wasn’t to my liking.

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Building My Network

Over the past three years, I’ve spent more time than I care to admit on a single project. It started off innocently. Since then it’s grown to occupy a significant place in my daily thoughts.

As you read this, you’re experiencing the product of these efforts. Perhaps you clicked on an short URL to get here. If not, your browser still had to figure out how to get to Now that you’re here, maybe you need to contact me via email. To make any of these endeavors possible, I’ve built a personal “network” of servers and had endless fun doing so.
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