Common Questions & Answers about Helm

How does Helm work?

The Helm Personal Server automatically establishes a connection with the Helm gateway service to provide it with a static IP address (similar to a phone number for your server). This service also handles all the network configuration required to run an email server out of your home. You’ll then be able to configure your email clients on your mobile devices and computers to connect to the server just like you would with any other mail provider. More details here.

Does Helm (the company) have access to my emails?

The architecture of the system has been designed so that it’s not possible for our company to access your emails. Email senders now support sending emails over an encrypted SSL/TLS channel where the email is only decrypted once it reaches your personal email server. Our company is not able to decode these emails because we don’t have access to the encryption key. In the limited situations where the sender’s email server doesn’t send the email to you over SSL/TLS, our company does not log or store these messages and therefore we are still not able to access them.

Does the Helm Personal Server work with my current email address?

Users with Google Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Microsoft Hotmail/Outlook and other cloud services without custom domains will create a new email address with a custom domain of their choosing.

If you have an email address with a custom domain that you own, you will be able to use your Helm Personal Server with your current email address. During the setup process, you will be able to migrate the DNS management for the custom domain to Helm and create the same email address on your Helm Personal Server.

Can I use a domain I already own with the Helm Personal Server?

Yes, if you already own a domain you can use it with your Helm Personal Server. During the setup process you will be prompted to have Helm register a new domain for you, or to use an existing domain. If you choose to use an existing domain you will be presented with the name servers that you will need to set with your domain registrar in order for email to be routed to your server correctly.

Does the Helm Personal Server support webmail?

At this time, there is no support for webmail. Instead, users can use clients for MacOS, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android.

Do I need to turn Helm off at night?

No, your Helm Personal Server has been designed to run continuously.

What happens to my email if my power or Internet service goes out?

In the event of a power outage, your Helm will safely shut itself down. An on-board battery provides it with enough power to ensure that your data is secure. Once power is restored, Helm will turn itself back on and resume normal operation.

While offline, emails sent to you will not be delivered. This does not, however, mean that they are lost. If your email server becomes unreachable for any reason, the sender’s email server will periodically retry sending the email at a later time. Email servers are generally configured to retry rapidly at first and then back off and increase the time between retries.

Once your email server comes back online and a retry is performed, you will successfully receive the sent email. If your email server is offline for an extended period of time, the sending server will eventually give up and send a bounce message to the person who sent you the email.

Why does Helm require a subscription?

Internet service providers normally don’t provide their customers with networking capabilities that are required to run an email server. In most cases, upgrading to an expensive business class internet service is needed. The subscription service that is part of the Helm service handles this for you without you having to upgrade your ISP.

We handle all fees associated with domain registration and renewal when you create a new domain for your Helm. In addition, we also provide storage for offsite encrypted backups and include access to new features, service and security patches.

How do backups work?

When backups are enabled an encryption key is generated on the email server and each night a backup is performed by encrypting the email server content and uploading it to the Helm backup servers. During the backup process the email server will determine what changes have occurred since the last time a backup was performed and only the changes are uploaded. Since Helm has no access to the key that was used to encrypt the backups it’s critical to store the encryption key in a safe location. Access to the encryption key will be required to restore from the backup.

What happens if my Helm is lost or stolen?

In the unfortunate event that your Helm is stolen or becomes damaged through a disaster, a new server can be quickly brought online and restored from backups. Backups are encrypted with a key that only you have.

Where do you ship?

Helm currently ships to anywhere in the United States. Unfortunately, we cannot ship to PO Boxes, Army Post Office (APO) or Fleet Post Office (FPO) addresses.