Today marks a bit of a milestone for me. I've been with Pair.com since 1998, hosting my haughey.com domain and email. They have served me well, with the longest downtime being about 24 hours when the changed data centers around 1999. I've always recommended them highly as they offer a lot of features, but in the past couple years I had trouble justifying the $35 a month I've been paying them while I already had my own servers to pay for. I could have moved the site to my shared linux server ages ago, but what held me back was moving my personal email.
Changing DNS is always a pain and changing mail servers is often asking for trouble. I've kept paying Pair while I put this inevitability off, but with the loss of Knowspam coupled with my attempts to budget my money better, today I made the change. The web stuff is now hosted on the same box as this blog and for email I'm now forwarding all @haughey email to gmail.
I've long been impressed with gmail's features and flexibility. It's great to be able to jump onto any computer and check your email in a browser, and now that they've added pop support (I wished for IMAP, but for offline email reading, mirrored POP makes sense), I can keep reading email in an application when I don't want to have a browser open all the time (or when I want to use a better email composing interface). Gmail's search can't be beat and that was another factor in the move.
Of course, before I changed email servers for the first time in 7 years, I tested it out, forwarding what little email I get at @metafilter addresses to gmail, and it's worked out great. I just bit the bullet and did the switchover of haughey.com DNS and got my first forwarded email minutes later (remember when this used to take 48 hours?).
About the only downsides I can see have to do with my From: address always being my gmail address. If Gmail let you customize that, you could basically use Gmail as a mail server while still maintaining your domain identity. I'm wondering how hard it will be unsubscribe via email from lists, since I can no longer send things from my old address, and I'm also concerned about everyone in the world that has white listed or filtered my haughey.com From: address.
Of course, those concerns are minor compared to the limitless storage and flexibility Gmail offers.