Posts Tagged "mail servers"

How to Get an Email Address on Your Web Space

Having an e-mail address on your own domain—as opposed to a free webmail provider, or with your ISP—can go a long way in making your business more professional. It’s not as hard as you would think, either—there are all sorts of ways to pull this off.

Your Web Host’s POP or Webmail

Let’s start with the easiest of these. Most hosting providers provide webmail or POP e-mail accounts with their web space. Configuring these addresses to use your domain couldn’t be easier—you just open an e-mail account from your allotment on the desired domain. If it’s a webmail account, log in like any other webmail service; if you have a POP or IMAP account, configure your e-mail client of choice accordingly.

Google Apps

Your host’s default mail servers are free and easy to set up, but they’re also very basic, and the webmail interfaces can be lacking. That’s a shame, since a good webmail interface can give you all the bells and whistles of a dedicated e-mail client in a portable, device-independent form. Google has recognized this fact, and capitalizes on it with their Gmail business service through Google Apps. It’s not a free service, but it’s reasonably priced, and it allows you to maintain a Gmail account—with the storage space, uptime, and considerable feature set that entails—on your own domain.

After you’re signed up, you just need to use your registrar’s control panel to change the MX record for your domain to point to Google’s mail servers. The MX record indicates which servers e-mail traffic on a domain should be forwarded to. Basically, you’re telling the DNS servers to forward most traffic to your web space, but to forward e-mail traffic to Google’s mail servers.

Gmail is generally the best of the big webmail services, but many of its competitors provide a similar option, so keep that in mind. If you’re fond of one in particular, odds are that you can use it with your domain.

Email Forwarding

If you’d like to continue using existing accounts but still have the presentable aesthetic of an e-mail account at your own domain, though, forwarding is an option. Some registrars allow for e-mail forwarding, and some don’t; however, if yours does, you can just set that up, and it’ll send all e-mails sent to that domain to the account you specify. Even if your registrar doesn’t support e-mail forwarding, your web space is likely to include it as an option. There are limitations here—most notably, it means that you can’t manage multiple accounts on your own domain. But it can be useful to have a professional facade for your existing personal e-mail accounts.

Your Own Mail Server

Lastly, you can run your own mail server. This isn’t an option which is recommended for less technical people—but there’s real merit in it if you think you can pull it off. You get as much storage space as you want, and unparalleled control over every facet of your e-mail handling. Hardware and bandwidth requirements for a single-user mail server are very modest, so the logistics are perfectly workable; the question is if you feel comfortable doing things the hard way. No software is going to be linked here—if you’re capable enough to run a mail server well, you should already know where to look for these sorts of things, and what to look for. If you don’t, odds are good that you’d be better off with one of the other choices mentioned.