Serving more than 15 million members, Bravenet provides a full-service hosting option for people looking for the complete package. In addition to a drag-and-drop site builder and unlimited storage, the Canadian company is one of the only free web hosters with an email marketing platform. Customers can also enjoy community-building features such as message boards, mailing lists, blogs, contact forms, polls, and other tools.
Bluehost (established in 1996) is the most reliable beginner-friendly web hosting out there. The cheapest plan starts from just $2.75/mo (if you pay for 36-month in advance), renewals start at $7.99/mo. With the basic plan, you can host 1 website. The plan includes a free domain for 1 year, 50GB SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, free SSL and 24/7 live chat support.
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That means that, even though there may be multiple virtual machines on the same physical server, you are in an isolated environment with dedicated resources (RAM, Storage) and virtually allocated CPUs that no one else can touch. Plus, with root access, you can make technical changes that would not be allowed on a shared hosting plan. You get the advanced performance, control and flexibility usually reserved for dedicated servers, but at a much lower price.
Next, set your mailbox quota. This is the storage you can use with each email account. If you purchased the Basic Plan, your get 100MB of storage with each account. So, set your mailbox quota at 100MB. However, if you’ve purchased the Plus or Choice Plus plan, you get unlimited storage with each account. So, select “Unlimited” under the mailbox quota box. This way, you never have to worry about exceeding your quota.
To get a professional email address, you often have to purchase email hosting. Email hosting plans may only be a few dollars a month, but they grant you more control. For example, most have a control panel where you can adjust spam filters for a more secure email account, assign or delete employee email addresses, wipe email from devices that may have been lost or stolen, and create password rules employees must follow for more secure company accounts.
You can take it one step further and add the original email address (the domain one) as a “Send mail as” address under Mail Settings > Accounts and Import. This means that when you reply to an email you received at that address then it goes back from that address. This means that people feel more secure too, as it’s always odd to send an email and have it replied to from a different address – and sometimes somewhat suspicious.
Setting up a business email address on your domain has lots of branding and administrative advantages. Think of your business email as a marketing tool – it’s likely the first impression your clients will get from you when you initiate contact. Using your domain in the email address means prospects and customers have an immediate reference point as to who you are and can search for your business online. By contrast, sending emails from a free email service such as Google or Yahoo will diminish your credibility and professionalism.
Do you plan to sell products or services? If so, you'll want to invest in a web hosting service that offers Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). An SSL connection encrypts the financial information that shuttles between users' web browsers and your website, thus safeguarding the transmission of the purchasing information. Some hosting companies include a free SSL certificate when you sign up for a web hosting plan, while others charge close to $100. You can save some money by shopping around for services that offer the cheaper SSL plans.
This is how I started doing hosted e-mails, but I recently switched to using Google Apps. If you have a small business (up to 10 users), you can use Google Apps 100% free. Gmail handles the mail, your e-mail has your domain associated with it, and you can link that e-mail up to other Google features (Google docs, Google voice, add-on apps like a CRM or accounting). Best of all, I can sync it all effortlessly with my android phone, so now all of my e-mails still come to my phone… but they’re sorted neatly by account.