Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS). Any name registered in the DNS is a domain name. Domain names are organized in subordinate levels (subdomains) of the DNS root domain, which is nameless. The first-level set of domain names are the top-level domains (TLDs), including the generic top-level domains (gTLDs), such as the prominent domains com, info, net, edu, and org, and the country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). Below these top-level domains in the DNS hierarchy are the second-level and third-level domain names that are typically open for reservation by end-users who wish to connect local area networks to the Internet, create other publicly accessible Internet resources or run web sites.
The right to use a domain name is delegated by domain name registrars, which are accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization charged with overseeing the name and number systems of the Internet. In addition to ICANN, each top-level domain (TLD) is maintained and serviced technically by an administrative organization operating a registry. A registry is responsible for maintaining the database of names registered within the TLD it administers. The registry receives registration information from each domain name registrar authorized to assign names in the corresponding TLD and publishes the information using a special service, the WHOIS protocol.
Alexandra Leslie’s interest in website administration was sparked in her teens, priming her for a fast-paced career in managing, building, and contributing to online brands, including HostingAdvice, Forbes, and the blogs of prominent hosting providers. She brings to the table firsthand experience in reviewing web hosts, perfecting website design, optimizing content, and walking site owners through the steps that add up to a successful online presence. Today, she combines her extensive writing experience with technical understanding to unpack some of the most complex topics that daunt novice website owners, as well as the subjects that excite veteran technologists within the HostingAdvice readership.

Domain names are often seen in analogy to real estate in that domain names are foundations on which a website can be built, and the highest quality domain names, like sought-after real estate, tend to carry significant value, usually due to their online brand-building potential, use in advertising, search engine optimization, and many other criteria.

The practice of using a simple memorable abstraction of a host's numerical address on a computer network dates back to the ARPANET era, before the advent of today's commercial Internet. In the early network, each computer on the network retrieved the hosts file (host.txt) from a computer at SRI (now SRI International),[4][5] which mapped computer hostnames to numerical addresses. The rapid growth of the network made it impossible to maintain a centrally organized hostname registry and in 1983 the Domain Name System was introduced on the ARPANET and published by the Internet Engineering Task Force as RFC 882 and RFC 883.
Knowing the communications-specific features to keep an eye out for, and the hosts that offer them for a reasonable price, you’re all set to get started with the best email hosting service for you. Whether you’re planning the launch of Dan Jones Independent Design or setting up accounts for your 10-year-old established practice, the top email hosts empower you to communicate professionally, personally, and cost-effectively. Best of all: You can be signed up (with your free domain!) in mere minutes. 

G Suite’s Basic plan costs $6 per user, per month and gives users access to email via the Gmail browser tool, which includes email delegation, email recovery, spam protection, offline access, and attachment previews. G Suite also provides access to the business suite of Google Docs, works with third-party apps, includes 30GB of document storage and offers a guaranteed uptime of 99.9% with best-in-class security certifications.
Running in-house email servers does provide more control and wider customization as well as tracking and compliance for small to midsize businesses (SMB). But they require specialized on-site IT staff as well as the need to manually manage and support both hardware and software. A third-party hosted email service matches many of the advantages of in-house email without the expensive initial investment. The ability to manage the number of users, access the latest security protocols, and enjoy ease of connectivity and deployment of hosted solutions makes it a viable and competitive option.
FastMail is an email service provider with plans from $3 monthly, per user. Its ad-free interface supports 36 languages and includes cloud storage space and unlimited archiving space. It also offers full mobile sync with push to mail, contacts, and calendars. FastMail is the best business email provider for organizations with international workers.

While all the hosts atop our email hosting reviews tout reliable security features, SiteGround and InMotion lead the market when it comes to secure email hosting. As you’re comparing hosting plans, look for words like IMAP or POP3, SPAM filtering, virus protection, and 24/7 server monitoring. SiteGround and InMotion Hosting offer all of the above, whether you’re shopping for business or pleasure.


G Suite’s Basic plan costs $6 per user, per month and gives users access to email via the Gmail browser tool, which includes email delegation, email recovery, spam protection, offline access, and attachment previews. G Suite also provides access to the business suite of Google Docs, works with third-party apps, includes 30GB of document storage and offers a guaranteed uptime of 99.9% with best-in-class security certifications.
Technical contact. The technical contact manages the name servers of a domain name. The functions of a technical contact include assuring conformance of the configurations of the domain name with the requirements of the domain registry, maintaining the domain zone records, and providing continuous functionality of the name servers (that leads to the accessibility of the domain name).
Hosted email often comes as part of another service, such as web hosting or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Since that means there will be many extras available with these services, it's inescapable that you'll be paying for those extras in some way. Purchasing them usually means a slight uptick in that per-user price. Many businesses find that, once they're done selecting all of their needed "optional extras," their end price can often reach as high as $10 or more per user. This can start to add up for larger teams. It's somewhat like buying cable service: sometimes you need to pay for the channels you don't want to get the couple of channels that you need. There is also the old adage that "you get what you pay for" when it comes to quality. This is almost always true when considering an email host.
While most businesses will have such suites in place, it often falls to the email service to provide an additional layer of anti-phishing and anti-malware protection. Our reviews found a surprising variance in this department, however, ranging from very robust to completely non-existent, so be careful. Since it's such a huge liability for business owners, this could be one of the most important factors in terms of background features. At the very least, it's better than filing an insurance claim or outright losing funds due to simple social engineering tactics.
ICANN publishes the complete list of TLD registries and domain name registrars. Registrant information associated with domain names is maintained in an online database accessible with the WHOIS protocol. For most of the 250 country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), the domain registries maintain the WHOIS (Registrant, name servers, expiration dates, etc.) information.
The Plus plan includes a generous amount of file storage. However, it doesn’t offer email archiving like G Suite and FastMail. However, unlimited storage for archived email is available as an add-on to the Plus plan for $6.99 per user per month. The Plus plan is best for teams that use Microsoft Office products and already have an alternative email storage solution.
The character set allowed in the Domain Name System is based on ASCII and does not allow the representation of names and words of many languages in their native scripts or alphabets. ICANN approved the Internationalized domain name (IDNA) system, which maps Unicode strings used in application user interfaces into the valid DNS character set by an encoding called Punycode. For example, københavn.eu is mapped to xn--kbenhavn-54a.eu. Many registries have adopted IDNA.
The Plus plan includes a generous amount of file storage. However, it doesn’t offer email archiving like G Suite and FastMail. However, unlimited storage for archived email is available as an add-on to the Plus plan for $6.99 per user per month. The Plus plan is best for teams that use Microsoft Office products and already have an alternative email storage solution.
Running in-house email servers does provide more control and wider customization as well as tracking and compliance for small to midsize businesses (SMB). But they require specialized on-site IT staff as well as the need to manually manage and support both hardware and software. A third-party hosted email service matches many of the advantages of in-house email without the expensive initial investment. The ability to manage the number of users, access the latest security protocols, and enjoy ease of connectivity and deployment of hosted solutions makes it a viable and competitive option. 

Email isn't going away any time soon. Despite a rise in adoption of collaboration-based communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Slack, 86 percent of professionals prefer to use email for business purposes. How companies host, store, and distribute their email—that's the area that has undergone a massive transformation. Businesses are veering away from costly onsite email servers running products such as Microsoft Small Business Server and looking instead to the cloud with hosted email solutions. Businesses of all sizes have realized the wisdom of going with a scalable and secure hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution with guaranteed uptime that breaks down pricing into flexible, per-user charges. 

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.
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