Home – New Forums New here? Share your story hi from gord : Qn about email+web hosting needs

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    Gordon Anderson
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    Hi,

    Firstly, I wanted to say hi, and thanks for all the great motivational comments and advice on the forums !

    A bit about me :

    I’m gord, software developer and architect of many years, interested in tech useful to SMEs and startups.

    This is the kind of thing I create, when I’m not building software for clients :
    > lokenote.com : share location notes
    > gridmaths.com : grid paper, helps kids learn math
    > tagninju.com : quick time tracking with tags

    Email turnkey :

    Also wanted to ask about the need people have for email + webhost in a ‘turnkey’ SaaS package.

    This being the Snowden era, maybe small businesses want to move away from google hosting their business emails ?

    Would love feedback from other soloists, if you a moment and see this as an issue.

    My recent experience :

    I did some development work for a client, creating a site so their customers can sign up with a monthly subscription. It handles paypal IPN messages properly and then sets the user up, sends a welcome confirmation email etc.

    That was all good, but their other sites were getting marked as malware. I saw they were on a very cheap host with dubious security, so I recommended we move their handful of sites all across to a proper VPS with better security controls.

    As part of this migration, they needed email set up, so I actually spent a couple days nutting out all the details : installing and configuring postfix + dovecot + apache + mysql, with several domains on a single linode host. Along the way I learned you need opendkim to sign the message, plus spf and reverse DNS magic so your outbound emails look legit and above board [ non spam ]. All in all, quite a bit of time to set this up, even if you are a technical ‘geek’.

    Common need :

    It seems to me a very common need to have company emails for the 1 to 5 people in your small biz – this would be something I’d love to be able to grab off the shelf, ie. pay $30/month, fill out a webform, configure people and press [ Install ] and have it all just work.

    There have been many discussions on the forums here about CRMs for managing customers, generating invoices and getting a basic marketing site up with eg. a wordpress or joomla CMS.

    Maybe an offering like this, packaged together, would hit the core needs :
    > CMS, eg Joomla, for editing your web content
    > webmail, eg Roundcube
    > CRM, eg sugar or vtiger
    > wiki for intranet, business processes, staff page
    > basic pageview stats

    All powered by opensource under the hood, such as linux, apache, postfix, dovecot, running on a decent VPS such as linode.

    Viable ?

    So, what do you think… Is this a good product niche… would this save time for your business ?

    My feeling is there is probably a sweet spot that would cover 80% of the most common needs, and support the early years of the business. Or do the needs of soloists vary much more widely ?

    Thanks, if you read this far, doubly so if you take the time to comment, should be some nuggets for all of us.

    gord.

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