The G Suite Legacy Migration
After 11 years of uninterrupted email hosting of my personal domain, Google decided to discontinue the G Suite legacy edition.
The following banner is being displayed to the admin users of those accounts:
Act now and switch to Google Workspace Your access to the G Suite legacy free edition will end soon. As a valued customer, you're eligible to switch now to a new Google Workspace subscription and enjoy a special discount. Or, in the coming weeks, you'll be able to join a waitlist for a no-cost option. If you take no action by Jun 1, 2022, we'll automatically transition you to the recommended Google Workspace subscription.
Very unfortunate is the fact that they are not providing a pricing model targeted at family use. Instead, they want us migrate to a Business Starter edition costing $6 / user / month. For administrators from the early days, who have given out free domain user accounts for up to 100 users, this is not really a compelling offer to - say the least.
People currently gather in the /r/gsuitelegacymigration/ subreddit to discuss how to make sure the decade old online identity of their extended family members can be retained without breaking the bank.
I will sum up the main takeaways here.
The no-cost / waitlist option
The official statements reading the no-cost option are indicating that this will not support the usage of custom domains. Preservance of access the account is somehow implied but any details are still unknown. Its a lottery ticket.
May 16th Update: The option is available now for personal use and includes custom domains. If the banner does not come up automatically, you can use the following link to request it: https://admin.google.com/?action_id=SE_SELF_TRANSITION
The forwarding option
A compelling and potentially free alternative to keep your custom domain using Gmail is to use the new Email forwarding feature developed by Cloudflare (or Google Domains) to forward the emails to any mailbox. This could even be a Gmail account: It still allows you to create a custom alias to send emails under your verified custom email address as I did before G Suite was even a thing. In order to send emails with proper DKIM signatures however, you will need a email delivery service like SendGrid or Amazon SES and configure a custom SMTP server for the alias. The main drawback of this method is that it complicates the email setup. Under iOS users will have to create an dummy IMAP account in addition to the proprietary Gmail account only be able to send emails from their custom domain alias, because Google is also going to deprecate username/password login and therefore consequently also IMAP.
The competition option
There are Google competitors that have more appropriate pricing for families like Zoho Mail Lite which costs $12 / user / year. They even offer a free plan for up to 5 users.
Personally I try to go with the forwarding option, because I really like to keep Google as my mail provider, but also not paying the high price tag for each of my family members. I already got production access to Amazon SES, which I prefer over SendGrid, because it is not targeted on marketing and does not come with all those privacy invading features. To their credit though, they let you turn of all features that affect the email content, in contrast to other services I tested.
I will keep my lottery ticket to the no-cost option though and hope for a pleasant surprise.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated to any of the companies above, but please do your own research on the measures you take.