Getting your email when you can’t get your email

What do you do when you have an email problemThis week some preparation has paid off and although my email server is impacted by a DDOS attack I can still read anything sent to me.

You can read more about DDoS in my recent article, including how to prepare for it, but now we will focus on getting your email.

So, how do you get your email when you can’t connect to your email server?

Here you may have a couple of options depending on your email provider. First the easy one and further down the page the one that relies on your hosting company. Then lastly an option to outsource everything to Google.

Simply forward a copy to another account

Fortunately, I had already set up email forwarding on my main account and it was still possible for my email server to forward on the email it received. I was then able to read this copy of the email the alternate account.

Like many people I have more than oneĀ  email account, my personal one and my business accounts. When I am running around on the go it is not always convenient to check lots of different email accounts so I have my business email copied to another account. As a result over the last couple of days when my business account has been impacted – I have been able to read the emails that have come in via my personal account.

I could have picked up my email by removing the need to connect to my mail server securely. But, as you know if you have read many of my posts – that would really go against what I believe in. My secure email was impacted as I use the shared SSL on the server (I could avoid this by having my own SSL but have not needed it for anything else so far).

So – an easy way is to send a copy of your email to another account (obviously hosted somewhere different… I use hotmail for example). It is much easier to delete and extra email than wonder why you are no longer receiving them. In addition you can set up a rule to send all of these to a separate folder so you can manage them easily.

Log onto your hosting provider and find the ‘forwarder’ options.

More options if you have a good hosting provider

Luckily my hosting provider (BlueHost) were on the ball and after a short while had allocated new IP addresses out to sites on the impacted host. This means that my site has a different address to the one under attack and can keep working.

I contacted BlueHost support and they told me this new IP address (in hindsight I could have found it out myself by running the ping command but that’s another story). I was then able to enter this IP address into the hosts file on my computer to let it know that the server to connect to securely was in a different place. This is a bit more involved but let me keep using a secure SSL connection. Not all hosting providers will be able to do this or allow it so make sure it is one of the things you consider when choosing who to go with.

The big advantage to this method is that you can continue to send emails securely which the easier method does not allow.

Editing your host file may be too techie for many people but it is good to know it exists so you can suggest it to your techie friend if you find yourself in this situation. Also make sure that you undo this change when things return to normal.

Lastly consider Google Apps

Another option is to move all your email to the Google infrastructure. Google offer a service where you can use your own domain name through GMail. Your customers see your own email address and domain and you have the support of the Google Apps infrastructure. There are free and paid accounts with different features that you can examine here on their account comparison page.

Here’s to getting your email securely, even when you can’t.

Brian
your ‘Peoples Geek’