Hosted Email Options

The options for freelancers who do client work in regards to hosting websites is much simpler than finding the right email solution. While I’m a big fan of LiquidWeb for any managed solution. I’m personally a bit more of a tinkerer who likes a little more control over the hosting environment. I use either and run an Nginx-based solution or utilize ServerPilot with DigitalOcean to provide a more locked-down PHP/WordPress setup.

But when it comes to email… that’s where the possible problems begin.

Why is Email Hosting a Big Deal?

First off, we should treat our web hosting environment with great care because this is the frontline, the “storefront” of our business. We need to do everything in our power to not compromise the integrity of our web hosting area. One of the easiest ways to jeopardize our website is by having some of the emails sent from the same server as our website labeled as SPAM. It could be because someone doesn’t remember signing up for our email list or they don’t like you anymore and instead of de-friending you on Facebook they simply start labeling your emails as SPAM. Whatever the reason, once your IP address associated with the server your website is being hosted on is tagged as a SPAM originator then it because a much larger mountain to climb to fix SEO and other associated problems.

Now most of what this post is going to talk about doesn’t have anything to do with “transactional emails”. These are the emails that your server or WordPress site sends to notify people of new registrations, forgot password, status updates, etc. And for those types of email options I recommend SendGrid and/or SendinBlue.

I Need to Setup Email Hosting for Clients

If you do client/freelance work, it is important that you factor into the cost of email into the final cost of what you will be providing to the client. It may simply be setting up the email systems and having it bill directly to the client. It might be that you set the contract up so that YOU will maintain the email systems and you will bill the clients and be their go-to point for support. Either way, you have essentially five options.

The first option is to use the web hosting/control panel provided email for no extra cost. BUT this goes against what I talked about earlier and can open the door to abuse and put your website’s hosting server into jeopardy and we want to avoid this. So if I can strongly recommend one thing it would be that you DO NOT use the provided web hosting/control panel’s email system. (An example would be to set up an email account through cPanel.)

The next four options are your possible best choices for your clients.

  • Google Apps for Domains : This costs approximately $5/user/month and operates just like a Google/Gmail account with all the Google Drive/Docs, Calendar, Hangouts, Gmail, etc integration all working on the clients domain name. This is probably the most costly option but it can also be one of the more professional options.
  • Amazon Workmail : This costs approximately $4/user/month and has a strong Amazon AWS backbone with integrated calendars and emails.
  • Rackspace Email : This costs approximately $2/user/month (but requires purchases of blocks of 5 to start) and also has integrated calendars, emails, and chat.
  • Zoho Mail : Zoho ranges from $0 – $10/user/month depending on how many users you want. This is an excellent cost effective choice because it provides all of the Zoho suite of produces from Email to Calendar to Documents to much more.

Whatever you choose to use make sure you are providing the server your clients want and need.

Now onto the bonus section…

What if I’m an Entrepreneur and I have lots of Domains/Sites I’m Developing?

We all know that it is more professional to use an email address that has the domain name of the company/project we are sending from. But it can get expensive and a time hassle to setup all those accounts on systems I referenced above when you personally are going to be the one receiving all the emails. I have a solution that I love and has made my life SO MUCH easier.

I use Fastmail’s Enhanced account at $40/year. This paid option allows me to connect up to 100 additional domains to my email account to use for sending and receiving email from up to 600 aliases/addresses. This is a lifesaver because I can now manage, send, and receive all my emails for my different websites/projects and still look professional with a solid email plan.

I hope this has been helpful in sorting through different options for sending and receiving emails from your different domain names. And if I can recommended just two services it would be to truly look at Fastmail’s excellent system and Zoho’s Suite of Products.

So what do you use for your email?

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