This week I have an update and a conclusion to my previous issues with Google’s email service.

I posted my problem in , and actually got responses in a reasonable amount of time. One, a Platinum Product Expert, suggested Google had been sending warning messages to my admin account, and advised I see the G Suite legacy free edition page for options. I went there, and clicked on the “I used my account for personal use” button as I had done in the past, but nothing happened. At first, I thought this was just lip service, but later I’d find I was mistaken. Another, a Diamond Product Expert, suggested I should have gone to Google takeout before transferring my e-mail, which irritated me as my primary goal at the time was to get my e-mail working again so that I might not miss any important messages. He also mentioned that the admin account was getting messages for almost a year, and said if I wasn’t getting those messages, it wasn’t the admin account. He suggested I try admin@yourdomain.

Screen grab of email telling me my free trial had ended

Between these two, I had all the clues I needed to solve this problem. I had set up GMail as my primary mail server in June of 2021. Since I’m an individual, I only ever want to deal with one e-mail address, with another on a different service as a backup. For this reason, I granted my primary e-mail address admin privileges and never bothered ever using the admin@yourdomain account again. Google’s default behaviour was to turn my free account into a paid account with a 14 day trial. I recovered and went in to that account, and lo and behold, found the warning messages I wasn’t getting. Then, using this account, I went back to the GSuite Legacy edition page, and clicked on the “I used my account for personal use” button, and it worked this time. My account was available for me, and I was able to get all of my e-mails back. I want to give credit to bkennelly, the Platinum Product Expert, and to Brandon Hatfield, the Diamond Product Expert, for taking the time and providing me with the correct direction.

Screen grab of Google Workspace personal use button

This process taught me a valuable lesson; the first of which was the folly of relying on Google’s web mail for storage of my e-mails. Some of my e-mails contain important information, such as product activation codes that I may wish to refer to at a later time. Google can change their terms of service at any time, and during the process of recovering my administrator account and then my e-mails, I was forced to click on the “Agree” button of their ever-changing terms of service at various steps along the way. There really was no other choice; they had my e-mails for ransom. By using a non-Google mail client such as Thunderbird, I can sync all of my e-mails to a local computer within my control. Had I done this, I would never have had to even bother with any of this; I could have just deleted my account with Google and walked away from the whole affair, with a copy of my e-mails intact on my own computer. However, to my credit, Google has made the use of a third party e-mail client difficult over the past few years. I wonder why, hmm…

Another lesson is the folly of trusting a company like Google, who have been known to offer products and services and then just end those products or services. Think Stadia, Google+, Google Reader …the list goes on and on. This does not seem like a business that is utilizing best business practices to develop innovative and new sources of revenue; this is more like a business run by a group of college dropouts with wealthy parents who are sitting around brainstorming and coming up with half baked ideas that end up getting killed when mom and dad decide it’s time to cut them off because it’s time for the family to buy a new boat. That’s the way it looks to me. I’m probably wrong, as I often am, but this is my place on the world wide web, so I’m allowed to be wrong here.

I had originally switched my primary e-mail to Google Workspace as an experiment to see if I could save a few dollars. Since 2008, my e-mail was hosted by the same service that provided web site hosting and domain name registration. I can host my own web site server using my residential internet connection, but it’s nearly impossible for me to host my own e-mail server. Many internet service providers block the necessary ports. They’ve had to do this because scammers have written malware that turns people’s Windows computers into spam bots. There are ways around this, but the proliferation of spam means that even after I’ve configured everything correctly and set up spam filters, it will become a regular task just to stay off of e-mail black lists every time my IP address changes. I’ve been there, done that, and I just don’t have the time. After my experience, I can’t say that relying on free e-mail providers like Google is a good option, because one day they might change their terms of service again and it might not be there anymore. Relying on my Internet Service Provider’s “Free” e-mail isn’t a great idea, because if I ever change ISP’s one day, my e-mail address will stay with them, not me. That’s why I believe the least crappy option is to pay for hosting with a domain name that I own. I decided to continue with the same hosting provider I’ve been using since August of 2008, a hosting provider which has been around since July 2004. Their cost for website and e-mail hosting is competitively priced to what I might pay for e-mail hosting alone. The prices have not gone up over the years, so there was no roping me in with a low-ball offer and jacking up the rates later, and they’ve been rock steady reliable. They give me the ability to give out e-mail addresses to family and friends under my domain at no additional cost. They don’t require me to constantly agree to ever changing terms of service In fact, this whole experience has motivated me to start up my own hosting provider service with them, because after many years of trying out different things, I honestly believe this is the ideal solution.

So here’s my pitch: If, after reading this, you’ve decided you want your own e-mail address at your own domain, and wish to have your own web site to go along with it, consider going with the kind of reliable, affordable hosting I’ve been using since 2008. Not only can you get an e-mail address for yourself, you can provide additional e-mail addresses for your friends and family. You could set up and host your own ad free Wordpress site and get more for less than what Wordpress charges if you wanted to. I honestly do not believe there’s a better deal than this. You can even try it out for free without giving away your credit card details, because I hate slimy sites that do that hoping you’ll forget, so I wouldn’t do that to someone else. If you don’t already own a domain, these prices are also competitive for domain name registration. Click here to see for yourself.