Website Improvements

I think I should make sure @JoshData and @jesse4216 should be in the conversation here, since he’s the maintainer, and he’s the UX designer that offered help.

I have setup a test WordPress site: , and have added some of the stuff to it. I am hoping we can market Mail-in-a-box a little bit better with some site improvements, because I would really like to see more people switch from the Big Companies to Mail-in-a-box. The world needs people who care about privacy!

Okay, now that I’ve opened up the topic, back to what you were saying, @jesse4216 on the other thread that was getting off-topic:

So one of the things is that I want people to know this is a legit thing. A big problem that I see is that a lot of tech people who don’t care about privacy and trust big companies will piss on any projects that are smaller than Big Companies. So I would think increasing confidence by looking a little bit like a big company’s website would be a good thing.

We have too many words and not enough pictures. People like pictures and things to please their eyes. The current website gets the job done, but it doesn’t really look appealing. I would like to see broadening our horizons to “tech dummies”, so even more people can take advantage of freedom.

I am also thinking about our tutorial system. A mailserver may have costed $12/mo a while ago, but it doesn’t anymore. DigialOcean has blown this figure out of the water. It now costs $5/mo, and you have super cheat top-level-domains (the “.com”, “.net”, “.org”, “.gov” parts of domains, in lamen’s terms) that can cost as little as $1/year.

So I am thinking having super-simple walk-through’s would be beneficial. Maybe do something similar to what big companies like Namecheap and Godaddy do where they entice people to enter a domain they want, then proceed to check if it’s available, but in our case, take them to Namcheap (namecheap has excellent customer service and solid policies (last time I read them) that allow you to switch registrars without any pain), then take them to Vultr (I hear Vultr has better networks, SLA agreements and customer support than Digital Ocean, for the same price) to create an instance.

See my summary for an extra idea:


Now, I know the easiest way to accomplish the walk-through (on our side) would be tutorial-style, but I would definitely like to eventually see where it works more magically than that (for the end-user), but it would require PCI compliance, as setting up for someone would require taking the payment information, relaying that to Namecheap and Vultr/DigitalOcean, then creating a VPS instance, getting SSH access, running the installation command, then sending the customer access to both services, then making sure we wipe all their information clean from our systems. So there are two major risks with this: security, and making sure the person understands that Mail-in-a-box is not responsible for what happens after everything is set up and deleted on our side.

Now, a benefit from doing the service above is that it magically creates a server and domain that the person wants, which increases Mail-in-a-box’s user base, and while we’re at it, we can ask very nicely for donations. But this is more of a topic for “Adding more support”, since we still need to figure out a legal entity and due process for decisions for Mail-in-a-box.

Anyways, I would start off with trying to put this proposal together. @jesse4216, do you want to private message details to admin access to the server?


Some of those improvements sound great. I’m really focused on just getting the Ubuntu 18.04 version out, so I won’t be able to help here or review pull requests about the website until after that’s done. Until then, my main advice is to keep any proposal for changes simple. The most important thing is that the Mail-in-a-Box code base (including the website) be understandable and maintainable.

Just my 2c but there’d be several benefits if you went with one of the static site builder options (plenty out there to choose from these days). Doing it this way, the site could be stored entirely in git, meaning community contributions to the content would be much easier. Also, the site’s hosting requirements would be way lower, perhaps on GitHub pages or something like Netlify (which would be free). The maintenance and security aspects should also be less demanding than something like Wordpress.

However, since you’re volunteering your time, I don’t want to be telling you what to do :slight_smile:

@Haggis, yes, I agree. I was thinking about creating a wordpress site then exporting the static HTML, but it’s probably going to not be maintainable. I also tried for a couple of hours and hated putting it together, because Wordpress seems to suck.

I’ll have to look at Netlify later.

I am reposting here a post that I made to the github for the website as it may be useful to include in any website redesign.

Hi @JoshData Of late so many issues in the forum have been related to DNS - namely using two (or more) domains, secondary dns, and external DNS. I would like to suggest that we rewrite the installation guide to have a brief overview so that people can determine which way they need to proceed and then to edit the guide to have a different path for the methodology chosen.
I understand your position on how it is not necessary to use external DNS and I agree for the most part, but it seems that there are too many people wanting to follow a different path, so let’s make it easier for them (and less work in the forums chasing DNS issues!), Thoughts?

@alento Sounds great!

@haggis Totally right. The website needs to be clean, static HTML. I host the website on my own Mail-in-a-Box, so it has to continue to be possible to do that.

While I see that directing users to particular services is useful, especially for those that don’t have much experience, this would remove something that MIAB is great for; choosing where your data is hosted, which service you use, which DNS you use.

If you would like to direct the user, direct them to a range of services and give them choice, rather than to one specific provider - I think that would be a better solution more in tune with the nature of the project as I see it.

Hello. Good initiative! Concerning wordpress and static sites, you may be interested in
I have been corresponding with the developer for a few months as well as getting involved in his project. For some, it is a great way to get your work done with the benefits of both wordpress and static hosting, speed, and security.