Why & How we launched ForwardMX
There is a story behind every startup and new product, this article will shed some light on ours from the idea until the release day and even the day after.
A lot of the content in this article is already part of our about page, but we are going a little more into details here to make it worth the read.
Where the idea came from
Obviously we are not the first who ever thought about something like this. In fact there are a lot of great services doing this and more out there. But none of them perfectly fit our use case. I dont wanted to pay a lot for a bunch of features i dont need and i also dont wanted to put trust into something that is just a side product without privacy terms or anything from something else. Nether do we wanted to trust our emails into any single server systems which are proned to fail at some point.
My use case is not very special. I am a domain & side project hoarder. I dont receive a lot of mails on most of my domains, but on some i do. I usually dont need to answer, and if i do i am happy to use my personal email for that to create additional trust. So all i really wanted was something that sends emails from all my domains into my central inbox. By using a central inbox it is easy to never miss any relevant emails and dont have to check dozens of different inboxes
So obviously i had to create something on my own
How it was build
The application you just see is written in Ruby on Rails with Bootstrap for the frontend and Postgres as database. The email servers on the backend use Postfix. On domain & alias changes we do not replicate the database to the servers but use a git deployment system to push the data to the servers. This gives us a better control and a smaller performance fingerprint
This is essentially how this all works. It is not exactly magic, but not easy either. Emails must be failsafe so we also have health checks & a lot of monitoring that make sure our system works and you receive all your emails.
Building this application and the backend took a few weeks. Testing that it all works as expected a few more weeks.
Launching something is never easy and always takes a while. I learned this with prior projects so i do not stress me here ether. We posted on Reddit /r/sideproject & Hacker News. Both only give a little feedback and only a few visitors. Later we addid /r/webdev to the list and surprisingly got a lot of feedback and interested people. Even 2 customers. The next day my account was banned from that subreddit and i could not even answer to a few followup questions. What a shame, even more a shame when you look at the sub and notice it is full of blog spam but somehow a honest self promotion for a product that the people there were really interested in is not allowed.
We did not stop there and added ourself to some some Startup sites like Sideprojectors. Most of which we wait for confirmation. On our plan is ProductHunt in the next few days but first we want to incorporate some feedback we got.
The day after
As mentioned we aquired 2 customers so far, what is more than we expected. Both (hopefully) are happy with their current Free Trail. The system works well and everything is stable so far (it would be a surprise if not) and we fixed a few smaller bugs (mostly interface bugs). So far everything went great and we hope it will just become even better within the next few days, weeks, months and years!
Thanks for checking our product out! We hope you'll enjoy it!