Keep your website and email hosting separate
Is it just me, or is there something kind of thrilling about having your own professional email address like firstname.lastname@example.org? It looks so official — your business is for real and you’re ready to set the world on fire. (Maybe it is just me.)
Nowadays, when you sign up for website hosting, most hosts offer you free email boxes as part of the deal, which makes setting up your business email a snap. But when it comes to your business, it’s best to keep your website hosting and your email hosting separate.
Why keep your website and email hosting separate?
If your website goes down so does your email. Web servers go down from time to time, and hacking happens. If your email is hosted by your website host and your website goes down, you could lose access to your primary form of communication, and that can spell disaster for your business.
Website hosts are good at hosting websites; they aren’t so great at hosting email. Hosting email is not their primary focus and you may find the support you get for email lacking, not to mention the interface and functionality of the email software they provide. Seeing that most website hosts throw in email for free, you get what you pay form.
Hosting your email separately makes migrating much easier. Migrating websites isn’t hard, but migrating email can get complicated. Make it easy for yourself and keep your email separate.
What about using your free Gmail account?
Setting up your email to be retrieved and sent through your free Gmail account is an option, but it only solves the interface problem mentioned above; it doesn’t solve the other problems.
Plus, if you configure your email to retrieve mail vie POP, you’ll be waiting half an hour for Google to retrieve your emails rather than getting them immediately. Of course you can refresh your page whenever you like, but wouldn’t it be nicer not to have to think about retrieving your messages?
I recommend hosting your email through G Suite (formerly Google Apps)
G Suite offers website hosting that integrates well with the G Suite of tools such as calendar, cloud storage and collaboration. At $5 per month, it’s a fairly modest investment for ensuring reliable, quality email hosting.
Setting up G Suite for Work
- Set up your email account. Log in to create an account and follow the instructions for domain verification.
- Tell your email where to go. To do this you’ll need to modify the MX records on your domain. (MX records, or email exchange records, are a set of instructions that tell your email where to go.) Your website host should have support documentation with instructions on how to change MX records (my preferred host has them here). If they don’t, give them a call and ask. Once you have the instructions, grab the MX record information from G Suite and paste the information in the place identified by your website host.
- Test out your new email. After about 15 minutes, start testing your email. Sometimes it can take up to 24 hours for the server settings to propagate, but often 15 minutes is all you need.
This takes a little bit of effort, but not a lot, and it will be worth it in the end to keep your web and email hosting separate. Go ahead and give G Suite a try for free. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.