Post initial setup, a primary concern will be the log-on issue. If your organization is fine with a separate log-on for your email provider, then this step will be quick. However, that's not typically what businesses want or users expect. In general, users expect to sign onto their desktops and have their email and file sharing sign-ons happen as part of that one-step process. Not surprisingly, this is called Single Sign-On (SSO) and it's enabled in one of three ways: through the use of a back-end directory service like Microsoft Active Directory (AD); an identity management service, like Okta (one of our Editors' Choice winners in that category); or several compatible web services that include SSO along with other apps and email services, like Google G Suite Business and Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium (two of the top providers reviewed here). Which method you choose depends on how your business is configured today and your long-term cloud services strategy. It's definitely a conversation you'll need to have either with your in-house IT staff or your outside IT consultant.
Data protection is another key email security concern. Inboxes often contain GBs of business-critical and personal data, so not just hackers but also legitimate marketing companies can make big money off mining email data—and this sometimes includes the very company that is providing the email service to you. Fortunately, most companies, including your hosting provider, are pretty good about keeping out of private data, but it's important to be aware of when these policies have failed. Security breaches are commonplace and it's important to know how your data is being managed. To protect yourself, be sure to inquire about data safety capabilities on the provider's side, especially around encryption and malware scanning. But be sure to implement additional measures on your side, as well, including encryption for those using local email clients as well as deploying personal virtual private networks (VPNs) to folks accessing their email from multiple locations.
An important function of domain names is to provide easily recognizable and memorizable names to numerically addressed Internet resources. This abstraction allows any resource to be moved to a different physical location in the address topology of the network, globally or locally in an intranet. Such a move usually requires changing the IP address of a resource and the corresponding translation of this IP address to and from its domain name.
A fictitious domain name is a domain name used in a work of fiction or popular culture to refer to a domain that does not actually exist, often with invalid or unofficial top-level domains such as ".web", a usage exactly analogous to the dummy 555 telephone number prefix used in film and other media. The canonical fictitious domain name is "example.com", specifically set aside by IANA in RFC 2606 for such use, along with the .example TLD.
Even if you’re not running a burgeoning business, there’s the personal branding component to what an email host can offer. Maybe you’re a graduate student building your personal portfolio and publishing your resumé online when your realize Corporate Hiring Managers are less likely to respond to [email protected] Wouldn’t it be nice to reach out from [email protected] instead? Or maybe you’re establishing a side biz to bring in some extra cash. Would you rather folks considering you for freelance work reach out to [email protected] or [email protected]?
Even businesses with dedicated on-site IT staff have seen the wisdom of moving their email service. The advantages include per-person cost averages, cutting-edge security, cheap email storage, and simple ease of connectivity and deployment. While these advantages hold true for most organizations, there are not only exceptions but also hidden "gotchas" you should look for before selecting a cloud-hosted email provider.
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The cloud certainly makes delivering email to your users easier but, for the vast majority of organizations, there's still going to be some setup required beyond simply activating the service. At a minimum, a domain must be purchased and configured to point to the new email host. The service provider can make this process very simple or they can make quite hard; this is something you should watch for in the provider's customer support forums as well as in our reviews. In most cases, there is a validation phase that will require some technical familiarity, though a few providers go so far as to walk even neophyte users through it step by step. Other solid services bolster excellent support with tutorial articles and videos that also walk you through the process. The worst will leave you to figure it out on your own.
If unlimited domains, email, and storage light up your board, iPage is your best bet. As you’re setting up your custom email address at your new (free) domain, you can take advantage of email forwarding tools, autoresponders, SPAM filtering, and virus protection. Therefore, iPage’s service is our top pick for unlimited resources and irreplaceable value in an email host.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the organization that governs the rules and regulations for domain name registrations. ICANN requires, for various reasons including to determine ownership of a domain should a dispute transpire, that a publicly accessible database be maintained that contains the contact information of all domain registrants. In layman's terms this means your domain name will be searchable by anyone and those search results will include your full name, physical address and other contact information. In order to protect your privacy in this regard, Domain.com offers WHOIS Domain Privacy which then masks your information using our own and implements a procedure for you to control who is able to then gain access to your contact information via a WHOIS search. Whenever you buy a domain name, no matter what domain name registration service you use, you are subject to the same ICANN rules, for this reason it is important to use a reputable service who cares about your privacy. Domain.com always recommends enabling WHOIS Domain Privacy.
If you’re a startup or a small- to medium-sized business, iPage offers low-cost options that are great for small or growing companies on a budget. With your free domain name registration, you get hosting for unlimited domains and emails, plus $150 in free advertising credits, should you need to market a new website as well. The host’s email tools include webmail, autoresponders, email forwarding, and security features like SPAM filters and virus protection.
Zoho Workplace’s Free plan includes webmail-based email and single domain hosting for up to five users. While the plan includes 5GB of storage, free email addresses, and attachments up to 25MB, it doesn’t include the advanced email functionality found with Zoho’s paid plans such as internet message access protocol (IMAP) and post office protocol (POP) support, or integration with other tools like Zoho’s in-house document writer, chat, and video conferencing.
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Zoho Workplace is a business email provider that offers a suite of personal productivity tools, advanced analytics, and integration with third-party apps that businesses can start using for free. Zoho is best if you’re looking for a free email address as part of a larger office productivity service featuring reporting and the ability to scale without changing providers.