We all agree that email is crucial to modern life.
But what email should you use?
Everyone gets email when they sign up for high speed internet service … the problem is that you’re tied to that internet service for that email address. If you switch service providers, you could lose the address. Even worse, if your provider goes out of business, you could loose access entirely. Sometimes the email provider charges a fee for better service and/or removing advertising.
Yes, you could use Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or AOL, but you’re still tired to the provider. Plus, you don’t often get to choose the best address (email@example.com just isn’t that sexy).
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get an email address that belongs to you forever?
Here’s a relatively inexpensive way to get an email address that belongs to you and isn’t dependent on your ISP.
Although there’s a bit of extra work and cost involved, it’s worth it in the end because it belongs to you.
- You get to choose the best email address (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- The domain can be moved to another domain registrar.
- The email service can be moved to another email service provider.
- You can host your own web site / blog.
- Most domain registrars, that provide DNS, will also provide a website redirection service. This allows you to create a domain like ‘www.yourdomain.com’ that redirects someplace else.
- Your own custom domains adds an air of authority and professionalism to your email address.
First, you need to get an internet domain. You can register the domain through Google, GoDaddy, NameCheap, name.com, Register.com, or even the venerable Network Solutions. My preference is Google (for reasons that will become apparent). Most .com, .net, & .org domains cost about $12 / year. Other top level domains (TLD) are available also: .us, .co, etc.
When choosing a domain, don’t go with something cute or racy. Go with something that you identify with but is relatively nondescript. This is one of the reasons I got fallingrock.net. If you’re lucky enough to have an uncommon name, go for your last name or some combination of your first & last name.
After you’ve registered the domain, you need to get email service.
Technically you don’t need full internet service … most domain registrars provide the ability to forward email to another address. With this you can have your email@example.com forward to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My personal recommendation is to use Google’s G-Suite. It costs $50 / user / year.
I recommend Google for domain registration & email service because …
- Domain registration is tightly integrated with the email service.
- You get the full capability of GMail, Google Docs, Sheets, Drive, etc.
- It’s easy to configure the email service & domain so your messages can’t be easily used by spammers.
- Google has very good spam identification mechanisms.
- There’s a lot of really sophisticated options available if you’re interested in tinkering.
Another alternative is Microsoft’s Hosted Outlook for Business. It’s slightly cheaper than Google ($4 / user / month), but doesn’t integrate as nicely as Google.
Many other web hosting providers offer similar services. I’m just a big fan of Google’s offering.