Most web hosting companies today offer email hosting services as well. It is a service provided by companies that own and manage email servers that facilitate the sending and receiving of emails. These servers are often configured differently from the web servers and are set up mainly with the email needs in mind. Not every organization is large enough to own and run its own email servers, making email hosting services a steadily growing need as more and more organizations around the world are looking at an active online presence.
With a plethora of free email service providers, why do you need to pay for email hosting? When you get an email ID from a free email service provider, your email ID would read as email@example.com, where “serviceprovider” is not your business domain name but the name of your free email service provider. For businesses, this can create a down-market, “cheap” impression and can hurt your brand. Another factor is security that can be managed and configured to your organization’s needs with email hosting.
Selecting an email hosting service
Almost every web hosting service provider today offers email hosting services. These services look the same on the surface, so how do you decide which email hosting service to choose? Is the cheapest email hosting service a compromise or the best option? Here are some of the factors you should consider while choosing your email hosting service provider
- IMAP/POP and SMTP Access: Check the type of email access your service provider offers. IMAP and POP (or POP3) are protocols used to “read” or access emails, SMTP is the protocol used for “sending” email messages. Make sure that your email hosting service provider that allows you the flexibility to choose the protocols you need to configure your emails.
- Exchange and Webmail: Although most do, not all email hosting service providers allow webmail access to your email. Even those who allow webmail access are not always set up to provide Exchange email that most enterprise clients need. Make sure that the email hosting service provider allows you webmail access and/or exchange email depending on your need. This will allow you to check and respond to email on the move, from public computers, even when you do not have your own computer, laptop, smartphone, or your regular means of accessing email available for whatever reason.
- Email Filtering: Filtering allows you to organize your emails based on preset rules. This can be of great help when you receive a lot of emails and need to organize them as per your convenience. Make sure your email hosting service provider allows you to set up email filters that suit you.
- Security: Security measures differ between different email hosting providers. The spam filtering, anti-virus check, firewall, etc., can make a difference between hassle-free email and constant problems. Evaluate and assess the security measures provided by your email hosting provider.
- Auto-responders: The ability to set up auto-responders can automate most emails that you receive through your website. Whether you can set up auto-responders or not, how many auto responders you can set, etc., can be significant differentiators between email hosting service providers.
- Other features: There are a number of other features that you can compare depending on your need. These could include the ability to set email aliases, setting up a catch-all email account, email forwarding, setting up of email distribution lists and email marketing features offered by the email hosting providers. Often businesses ignore this till the need for one of these services arises only to find out that the service provider either doesn’t support the need or offers it at an additional cost.