How to Set up a Free Business Email

obr2By Hiren Mehta — Last Updated: 20 Jan'17 2017-01-20T04:11:22+00:00

Are you thinking of starting your own business but are on a small budget? Maybe you are just trying out a new idea and you don’t want to spend too much money right away.

At Cloudwards.net, we’ll show you how you can give your communication a more professional look by setting up free business email.

Maybe you already have a website up and running but now you want to be able to communicate using a customized email address. After all, the more channels that are available for your customers to reach you, the better it will be for your business.

When you’re introducing yourself and your company, you want to give people an email address that shows you’ve put some effort into it. Rather than have mike1984@hotmail.com, it’s better to have something like mike@mikesdesigns.com: this address will make you stand out and is easier to remember, to boot.

 


What You Will Need

  1. An up-to-date browser
  2. A list of desired mailboxes for your business, such as “info,” “support,” “sales” etc.
  3. (Optional) A domain name of your choice.
  4. (Optional) A working email client, which you can use for certain paid features

Setting Up a Free Business Email Address with Your Own Domain

Should you already own a domain, there are some great providers that will let you set up email either for free or a nominal fee:

G Suite, which was earlier known as Google Apps for Work, offers a 14-day free trial which includes mail, calendar, docs and many other services. So you are buying not just an email service but a full, cloud-based productivity suite for your business. It offers support for mobile devices too.

With Office 365, you get 50GB of storage per mailbox. In addition, you can make use of Microsoft Teams, Exchange and the business editions of Skype and OneDrive. You will, however, need to go for either the premium or the essentials plan, as only these two offer custom domain email hosting.

These two options both include a small fee, while the following two are free except for advanced features.

Zoho, which offers several services, also has an email system. It offers a clean and ad-free email interface for up to 50 users, free of charge. Each user gets a 5GB inbox.

At Mail.com you can either set up an email account with your own domain or get a custom, free personal email address. In either case, you get up to 50GB of storage with mobile sync, team access and 2GB of cloud storage. 

With these providers in mind, let’s take a look at the steps you’ll need to take to set up your own business email.

Step 1: Buy a Domain

We’ll assume that you don’t have a domain yet: In some cases you can either get one through the email service you have chosen, otherwise you can just get one through another provider. The pricing can vary depending on the domain type you choose (such as .com, .net, etc.) but will be typically less than $20 per year.

Step 2: Set Up Email

If you have bought your domain and email hosting from the same provider, it is likely that you can get started immediately creating email accounts from your control panel. They may not be immediately usable though, because a new domain can take some time (usually around 72 hours) to become active.

Step 3: Configure Your Email Client

Now you are all set to begin using your email accounts through the browser. However, if you need to send and receive messages using your preferred email client/mobile app as well, then you will need to add each of the accounts there.

The most common way to do this is using POP3 and SMTP. POP (Post Office Protocol) is a way to get messages from your mail server to your email client. You can choose the frequency of automatically checking for new messages as well as whether to leave a copy of the messages on the server once they are downloaded to your system.

Along with POP, you will usually need to set up SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) settings too. This is needed to send mail.

At the bare minimum, you will need your login credentials, server addresses (URLs) for incoming and outgoing messages and their port numbers. These settings vary from one provider to another. Once you have this information, you will need to enter them into your email client or app.

You can do this using the built-in mail app in Windows 10. Those who are using the Apple Mail app need to refer the instructions given here. This will work for iPhones too. The same settings will also be needed if you want to get these messages in your Gmail or Yahoo email address.

Step 4: Set Up DNS

This step will be usually necessary only for those who already have a domain. DNS (Domain Name System) works like the sorter sitting in a post office, who classifies each letter according to the recipient’s physical location.

When you buy a domain and want to set up email, you need to configure DNS so other mail servers can find you. This happens with a MX record, which points to your email server. Think of it as something similar to a post-office box number, where you can be uniquely identified and thus receive mail.

Of course, nobody except you, the actual domain owner, should be able to set up such a mailbox for themselves. So usually the email hosting provider will ask you to verify the ownership of your domain. This can be done in many ways, using CNAME records, TXT records or even plain HTML.

Armed with this information, you need to login to the control panel of your existing domain and edit the DNS settings. Most domain name providers offer easy ways to do this. Changes can take up to 72 hours to become effective. Keep this in mind before handing out your new email address.

Setting Up a Free Business Email Address without Buying a Domain

If you neither have a domain nor want to buy one for now, you can opt for Mail.com. There you have a choice of more than 200 domains in different categories where you can set up your free business email account. Many of these domains don’t have a corresponding website, so they are just a place to send and receive mail.

It’s likely that the domain name in your email address will not be linked to a website, so should your contacts decide to visit it, they may be greeted by a warning that the domain has been parked. Though it may seem trivial, it is something to keep in mind for those who want to prioritize appearance.

There are three benefits to using Mail.com:

  • You get generic, often short and easy-to-remember domains
  • You can get started with your communication even before naming the business
  • Your domain name is likely to be free of any trademark violations

You may need an email client as it is helpful to have access to a copy of your email in case you are not able to use the browser, or worse, you are not able to go online. Chances are you already have one or the other email client software installed on your computer. Most smartphones too have some or the other preinstalled app to handle email.

This is of course optional and the lack of having such software will not prevent you from having a free business email address. Let’s begin setting up your mailbox.

Step 1: Fill Out the Registration Form

The first step is the easiest: just fill out the form and go on to step two.

Step 2: Verify Creation of the Account

Once registered, you will get a confirmation message on the next screen. This will need to be repeated for each address that you want to create.

Before actually opening the inbox, Mail.com will encourage you to go paid, listing the benefits of doing so. At the bottom near the left edge, you will have a link to skip this and continue to the inbox.

Step 3: Familiarize Yourself with the Home Screen

You will now see the home screen, where a preview of your inbox will be shown, along with your full name and your newly created email address.

This completes the essential steps needed to use your free email account.

Step 4 (Optional): Set Up POP3/IMAP Access (and Other Premium Features)

POP3/IMAP access is available only to those having a premium account with mail.com. Even if you want to automatically forward all incoming messages to your existing email address, that feature is not available in a free account. Premium mail costs $29.99 per year.

Conclusion

If you want to have domain, web hosting and email services from the same provider, you can shop around and find a provider that takes care of this for you. If you are looking to buy productivity suites that offer a lot more than just an email service and brand recognition is important to you, G Suite and Office 365 are more suitable for you.

However, if you don’t want to spend anything more after having bought a domain and need nothing more than email hosting, you should be going for Zoho’s free plan. Mail.com is suited for those who do not want to use a custom domain for now.

Let us know what you thought about this guide in the comments below. Thank you for reading.

2 thoughts on “How to Set up a Free Business Email”

  1. Please note, as of Jan 2018 – Zoho are no longer offering free IMAP or POP services rendering their free email offering completely worthless.

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