We often hear about web hosting as a way to get your business online and out into the public domain of the internet. Granted, this is an essential step, but it leaves an important question unanswered: how will you manage your business communications?
There are many free options out there, and they’re great for private use, but when it comes to business email, there’s really only one solution, and that’s email hosting.
Email hosting is easy to get set up. It’s usually an optional service that comes with your website, and you can activate it when you create your site or later. Alternatively, you can use separate providers for web hosting and email hosting.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how email hosting works and explore what it can do for your business.
A Brief Explanation of Hosting Services
We know that it’s tricky trying to understand the difference between each of the online services you need to deal with as a small business owner. This section will go over the three most commonly used services and provide a brief definition of each one.
- Web Hosting: Think of web hosting as what enables your website to exist and be discoverable on the internet. This service actually houses your website and is responsible for maintaining its connection to the internet. Your web hosting service might also include an option to activate email hosting, but you have to tell your provider that you want to do that.
- Domain Hosting: This is one of the most confusing services involved in getting your business website up and running. A domain is a unique name, like amazon.com, that identifies your website. Getting your site online can only happen if you have a domain name registered for it.
- Email Hosting: While it’s usually included with a web hosting package, email hosting is a separate service that allows you to set up a custom email address and use it to send and receive emails. The email domain name you use will match your website.
For example, if your site is mywebsite.com, then your email address would be something like email@example.com. Having an email address that matches your website makes your business look more professional. Email hosting keeps your email safe and secure and makes it accessible from anywhere you have an internet connection.
Although people usually get email hosting and web hosting services from the same provider, you don’t have to. You can have email hosting alone, with no website, which means you can get each of your services from the provider that you prefer.
The Benefits of Email Hosting
Why would you want to choose a hosting solution for your email when there are so many free email providers out there?
There are several answers to that question. The first and most significant benefit of email hosting is the email domain naming conventions that you can use. You can have email addresses that fit your business name. For example, if you run an online flower delivery business, an email like firstname.lastname@example.org would look much more professional than email@example.com.
Another benefit of email hosting is security. Email hosting can be more secure than free email services. The large providers like Google and Yahoo, while offering relatively secure services, present a more attractive target to hackers simply because of their size.
Using an email hosting provider also gives you more control over the service you’re getting. As a paying customer, you will have direct access to the support staff of your email hosting company, so you’ll be able to contact them if you have any technical or security issues.
Email Hosting Options
Now that we’ve defined email hosting and discussed some of its benefits, we need to go over some options you should look for when choosing a service.
If your email hosting provider offers any of the following options, you should consider taking advantage of them.
- Online archiving: Access to online email archives gives you a historical record of all your business communications. Some services offer 5 to 10 years of backups that you can access directly via a login portal.
- Multiple mailboxes: If you have a growing business, you’ll need the ability to create mailboxes on the fly. Make sure that your email host gives you all the mailboxes you need to support your operations.
People commonly use separate mailboxes to categorizing emails based on business functions—you can have an admin mailbox for website and service queries, a billing mailbox for payments and accounts, an info mailbox for general communications, and a bulk mailer address for advertising and campaigns.
- Bundle deals: If you find a service provider that offers web, domain, and email hosting in one package, you can sometimes get better pricing than if you purchased each service separately.
- Mailbox storage: Find out what your mailbox size limits are. A mailbox for a typical business needs to be able to store large files and huge quantities of mail, so make sure that your mailbox storage is appropriate for your needs.
- Room to grow: You never know exactly how much email storage or how many mailboxes you’ll need with an online business. Having multiple email addresses can streamline your business operations and improve its image, but the email accounts will add up quickly. Large email attachments will fill up your allotted storage space faster than you may anticipate. It’s important to choose an email hosting provider that will be able to meet your needs as your business grows.
Before you choose options that may increase the cost of your email hosting service, it’s important that you understand any technical terms involved. Make sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for. If you’re not sure about any of the details, contact the provider so that you can get a full explanation.
Find Email Hosting that Fits Your Business
Email hosting doesn’t need to be confusing. In fact, once you know the difference between the available types of online hosting services and understand common email hosting options, it’s very simple.
You can explore the market to learn about all the email hosting services that are available and select the one that’s a good match and meets your business requirements.
Whether you want to get all your online services bundled from a single provider or you have a favorite email hosting provider that’s separate from your web host, there’s a business email solution out there for you. Email hosting is usually very easy to sign up for, and you should never need to settle for a service that doesn’t offer the options and flexibility you need.
Do you use email hosting for your business?