Email has become just as essential to large and small businesses as the telephone.
In the early days of the Internet email solutions were mainly targeted at large businesses with dedicated systems like Microsoft Exchange.
Personal users opted for free services like Hotmail and Yahoo Mail.
Small businesses were left trying to use personal email systems for business or investing in expensive systems not really suitable for their needs.
Today (2017) business grade professional email is available, at very low cost, by using externally hosted email systems.
In fact, this type of solution is becoming so popular that even large companies are moving away from installing and running their own internal email systems to using third party hosted solutions.
Understanding Your Email Requirements
Before you can decide on the best email solution for your business you will need to understand your main email requirements like:
- How many email users will you have?
- Will you be sending/wanting to send large attachments e.g. files, pictures etc
- How confidential is the email-? Standard email is as secure as the the standard post.
- Do you already have an email solution that you need to migrate from?
- Do have users that need access from a remote location?
- Will you be using email on mobile phones (smart phones)?
- Do you have users that need to access each others email?
- Do you currently have or will have very large mailboxes (>2GBytes)?
- Do you need to keep emails for a certain time period?
- Do you need calendars, contacts and/or tasks?
Your Domain Name
Regardless of which hosting options you choose you will need your own domain name.
Domain names are cheap ($10) and are available from many domain name registrars including 1and1.
It is important that you choose a professional looking domain name and which for a business is usually simply the business name.
See this my choosing and registering a domain name article for more details.
Note: You don’t need to be registered company to get your own domain name.
Small Business Email Solutions and Options
Small businesses can choose between using:
- Email provided by their Web Hosting Provider
- Dedicated Email Hosting Service.
Email And Web Hosting
Most small businesses already have a website, and all web hosting providers provide email services as part of the web hosting package.
It makes perfect sense to use the email facilities that comes with the web hosting service.
The number of email addresses,,mailboxes and storage space varies considerably between providers, but you can usually purchase more if needed.
Here is a screen shot showing the email service offered by 1abd1 as part of the basic hosting package.
Notice the basic package has 500 email accounts and addresses.
It supports POP3, IMAP4 and Webmail access. See Email protocols
Using An Dedicated Email Provider
If you don’t have a website and just want email there are many other email only options available.
The bid advantage of using Google is that they provide Apps like word processor, spreadsheets presentations, file sharing, cloud storage and more as part of the package.
However setup is usually a little more complex than when using the web hosting option.
Again it is important to be aware of your exact requirements.
My Business Email
For my consulting business I use Email provided by my website hosting provider (1and1) .
Setting Up Your Email Addresses
The set up of the email accounts and addresses on the hosting provider will vary according to the particular host, and the management interface they provide.
However the process generally involves:
- Creating a mailbox and Assigning an address
- Assigning a password.
- Setting quotas – optional
- Configuring Forwarding -optional
- Configuring autoresponders -optional
Common Questions and Answers
Q- Can I host my website with a web hosting company and my email with a different company still using the same domain name?
A- Yes but you will need to edit the MX records on the domain name registrar website. Most will allow this but the amount of control you have varies between providers.
Q- I have a web hosting package and domain registered with a web hosting provider and it doesn’t let me edit MX records what can I do?
A- You can change the domain name registrar to a provider that does allow this.
Q- Can I access my email using a mobile phone (smart phone)?
A- Yes if your providers supports IMAP or POP3 access. Almost all do!
Q- I use Gmail for my personal email can I access my business email using my Gmail Account?
A- Yes. Gmail,Yahoo and Outlook.com support remote access to third party mailboxes. See consolidate email in Gmail
Q- I need 5 email addresses for my business and expect to send and receive approximately 100 emails per day can I use my web hosting email services.
A- Yes this is probably your best choice
Q- We have 500 employees and expect to send and receive 10s of thousands of emails per day can I use my web hosting email services.
A- If your web host only provides email as an add-on service then I would say no. However 1and1 offer enterprise level email services so you can still use them but may need to upgrade your mailboxes.
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