I’ve been with 1and1.com for hosting for many years and by and large have been happy with their services. (Note, not necessarily their service, but their services.) One thing that 1and1 had always done well was spam filtering. Until recently that is.
Either they have changed their real time blacklists, had a few points of failure or spammers are simply getting better — maybe all of the above, simply put, the amount of spam I was receiving on an hourly basis was greater than my legitimate email. I contacted 1and1’s support staff on multiple occasions, tried different settings and such, but was still getting about 20-30 spam messages in my inbox every day. Something had to be done to keep my email clean and return it to be a useful tool.
Spam adds up to lost time very quickly for me. I check mail often at work and like to be able to respond in a very timely fashion to requests, issues, and such. Spam makes me not want to check my personal email but every hour instead of continuously. So many times the email notifications would be for nothing worthwhile at all. Worse, I was losing legit email in the midst of all of this garbage, too.
I didn’t give up on getting email under control even though 1and1 wasn’t able to resolve the issues. Instead, I decided to use Gmail; my domain’s email is now managed via Gmail’s Business Apps program. Given I only need about 4 email accounts, I’m also able to get by with the free version. I know other people who use all of the Google App features, but for me, getting a handle on spam is worth it all by itself.
UPDATE: As of November 2012, Google has stopped offering this free version. We were very lucky to be grandfathered into the free setup. If you’re having trouble with spam, the $5 per box per month charge is still a great deal in our view.