Removal of Google Analytics Tracking from all Mailsac websites, effective immediately

Google Analytics (GA), the ubiquitous web analytics service provided by Google, has been removed from all Mailsac properties. GA is used to see which pages people visit, how frequently users return to a website, and where they were referred from.

Despite Google Analytics being the de facto tracking service on the internet – mostly because it is entirely free – we decided it was not a good fit for our users.

Frequently, disposable email services are used as a way to avoid spam and tracking. But the free GA product by Google is actually an information gathering honeypot, extremely lucrative for them. By some estimates, GA is on 65% of the top 1 million most popular sites on the internet.

It is worth noting that Mailsac does not use Facebook analytics, nor any other 3rd party trackers. We do leverage the privacy-focused – and paid – Cloudflare Analytics, which is included with our DNS and caching service. We also track minimal usage metrics on the server side of Mailsac.com, for billing purposes.

Mailsac was created over 10 years ago with the goal of providing a reliable disposable email platform for software testers. We serve no advertisements, sell no data to 3rd parties. We rely on users to pay us for providing a good service. From the time of Mailsac’s creation – until recently – we did leverage Google Analytics as a tool to understand website load. As a “free” product, GA helped keep costs down and worked well. We have come to understand that “free” meant we effectively shared our users browsing habits with Google, for the purpose of serving ads. So we no longer do that.

Screenshot of mailsac.com on 2022-04-28 in Safari showing zero trackers

Deprecation of Outbound SMTP Service

Outbound SMTP service will no longer be supported by Mailsac.

What Does this Mean for Me?

Mail will no longer be able to sent from Mailsac addresses or custom domains using the outbound Mailsac SMTP service.

If you are sending from the REST API, compose email form, or Unified Inbox we encourage you to seek out other SMTP sending services. Mailsac has always supported direct SMTP from anywhere, without a mail relay, as well.

Reasons for the Change

Email delivery is not an easy problem at scale.

Our customers, especially quality assurance teams, are using Mailsac as a receive-only service.

The likelihood that Mailsac’s outbound messages are delivered to the intended inbox has been trending lower over time, despite increased effort.

We made the decision to focus our efforts on improving our core product – disposable inbound email for testing.

Recommended Providers of Outbound SMTP Service


Maintenance Notice: Database Upgrade

Date and Time

Friday May 6th from 13:00 through 14:30 UTC

Expected Downtime

There may be intermittent service interruption while database failover happens (60-120 seconds)

Reason for the Change

Mailsac is upgrading to a larger database cluster to ensure service availability during peak load.

Customer Changes

No customer changes are required.

Self-Hosted Mailsac UI

This tutorial references code published at https://github.com/mailsac/mailsac-self-hosted-ui

The Mailsac Self-Hosted Temporary Email User Interface is available in a GitHub repository. This project provides a self-hosted user interface for viewing disposable email. It uses mailsac.com as the backend email service.

Mailsac.com Limitations

Mailsac already offers disposable email without a need to sign up for an account. What need does this application meet that Mailsac doesn’t already provide?

Mailsac has limitations on what can be viewed without signing up for an account. Only the latest email in a public mailbox can be viewed without signing in. Mail in a private domain cannot be viewed without signing in with an account that has permissions to the private domain.

Use Cases

There are two use cases that customer’s have brought to our attention that Mailsac’s service doesn’t satisfy. Both stem from a requirement to allow users read-only access to an inbox without the requirement of creating a Mailsac account.

Class Room Use Case

An instructor may want students, who are young in age and don’t have an email address, to sign up for an account with a web service used in the class. The Mailsac Self-Hosted Temporary Email User Interface application provides a simplified interface for students to view email sent to a private mailsac hosted domain without the need to sign up for a mailsac account or email address.

Acceptance Tester Use Case

As part of the sofware development lifecycle there is a need to have software tested by users. Temporary email has long been beneficial to testing. The Mailsac Self-Hosted Temporary Email User Interface makes this easier. Users can test applications using email addresses in a Mailsac hosted private domain without the need to sign up for a Mailsac account. Furthermore, because the application is self-hosted companies can use a reverse proxy to enforce IP allow lists or put the application behind basic authentication.

Running the Mailsac Self-Hosted Email User Interface

Local

With NodeJS installed this application can be run with the following commands.

npm install && npm run build
MAILSAC_KEY=YOUR_MAILSAC_API_KEY npm run start

You will need to generate a Mailsac API key. To generate or manage API Keys use the API Keys page.

The application is now running and can be accessed via a web browser at http://localhost:3000 .

Any public or private Mailsac hosted address the API key has access to can be viewed by entering the email address in the text box and selecting “view mail”.

Screenshot of Application with no domain defined

Domain Option

You can prepopulate the domain by using the NEXT_PUBLIC_MAILSAC_CUSTOM_DOMAIN environment variable.

NEXT_PUBLIC_MAILSAC_CUSTOM_DOMAIN=example.mailsac.com npm run build
MAILSAC_KEY=YOUR_MAILSAC_API_KEY npm run start
Screenshot of pre-populated domain

Vercel Hosted

Vercel is a platform as a service provider. Their service makes running your own Next.js application easy.

The Vercel Getting Started guide is easy to follow.

  1. Fork this repo.
  2. Sign up for a Vercel account
  3. Grant Vercel permissions to read all your repos or choose to grant permission on the forked repo
  4. Import forked repository into Vercel
Screenshot showing import of forked repo
  1. Configure MAILSAC_KEY environment variable
Screenshot of environment variables

  1. Deploy application
Screenshot showing deployment success

After a successful deployment you can click on the image of the application to be taken to the live application.

NOTE There is currently no authentication on this application. Anyone with the URL will be able to view emails and domains associated with the Mailsac API key that was used. Operations will be tracked in the Mailsac account in which the API key is associated with.

You are free to deploy this app however you like. Please keep the attribution to Mailsac.