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Home vs. Hosted Email Solutions

February 7, 2007

I saw couple of related posts today related to the subject of an in-house (not just a metaphor in my case) mail server vs. a hosted mail server. The Home Server Blog says that the vast majority of users are satisfied with using hosted email and the SBS Diva says that she thinks "email is going to creep into the small business marketspace more and more."

As I’ve mentioned, I started running SBS 2003 in our house several months ago and if money were no object I would definitely would prefer to use a hosted Exchange service. But when I looked into it the cost for our family was going to run to hundreds of dollars a year. That seems like a reasonable cost for a small business, but not for a family.

I also wanted to get some of the key benefits of an Exchange server. For us those have been shared calendars and contacts, group scheduling, the ability to set up additional email addresses for specific purposes, and remote web access.

The combination of these desires led me to make the one-time (as least until SBS 2007 comes out :)) expense of several hundred dollars for SBS 2003 (to put on an existing server box) and an investment of my time (as a hobby) to configure it.

Ideally, Microsoft would make some set of limited hosted Exchange server services available to users of Windows Home Server users at a more reasonable cost, say $50/year for five accounts. That might lead even people like me to move over.

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