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.
Small businesses were left trying to use personal email systems for business use or investing in expensive systems not really suitable for their needs.
Today (2016) 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 solution you need to make a list of the main 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?
Small Business Email Solutions and Options
Small businesses can choose between using:
- Email provided by their Web Host
- Dedicated Email Hosting Service e.g. Google Apps.
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 screenshot showing the email service offered by Bluehost as part of the hosting package.
Notice the popular package has unlmited storage, email addresses and mailboxes.
If you look at the email features in more detail you will see that it supports both POP3, IMAP4 and Webmail access.
There are other Web hosting companies like 1&1 that in addition to providing email with their hosting packages also offer email as a standalone package.
Using Google Apps For Work
Google provide email services to small and large business under the name Google Apps for Work.
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.(screen shot below)
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.
Setting Up Your Email Accounts
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
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- No I would go with a dedicated email provider.
Related Tutorials and Resources:
- Setting Up Email Accounts on 1and1
- Understanding Email protocols SMTP, POP3, IMAP4
- How to Create Personal Email account