In this lesson, we’ll talk about emails and learn:
Welcome! I’m Leighton, your webmaster. Today, let’s discuss something else you can host besides a website — emails! Where do you go to create an email address? Perhaps you thought of Gmail, Yahoo, or a similar site… You would be correct. But what about for your business? Where do you go for that? Remember the web hosting server we talked about in the previous lesson? Your server lets you create hundreds email addresses for no extra charge! This is included in the cost of the hosting account. You basically have 2 options: Forwards & Mailboxes.
Forward — This is where all emails get forwarded to another mailbox. No emails are stored on the web server. They get redirected to your Gmail, personal account, or wherever you want to send them. This way you don’t have to keep up with another inbox and password… The main drawback though is that you can’t send emails from a forward. So if your [email protected] email address forwards to your Gmail, any responses will come from your Gmail, which really doesn’t look all that professional.
So why create an email address on your server? Why not just open up a Gmail for your business? Great question! Lots of startups go the Gmail route. But can you think of any major corporation that uses @gmail.com for their email accounts? How would you react if you received an email from a Gmail account that was supposedly coming from a reputable business like McDonald’s or Apple? Hopefully, that would raise a major red flag. See, anyone (including spammers and hackers) can register a free Gmail account. So the professional solution is to own a company domain name and create your email address on that. It’s important to have a professional email address for yourself, but what about your website design business? How do you handle email accounts for your clients? Each business you create a website for will probably need its own email address. Some will want multiple for their employees. Some will simply ask for forwards and others will want mailboxes. Let’s hop into a web server and see how to create an email address.
Demonstrate IONOS > Email
Now that the account is created, how do we access our emails? We have a few options: (1) Webmail. For IONOS, this is webmail.ionos.com. (2) Mail Client. These mail accounts can also be added to iOS Mail, Outlook, Windows Mail app, or any other email client that accepts IMAP. IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. IMAP basically allows you to add your emails to your desktop, tablet and phone, and all emails stay in sync across all mail clients. It’s really nifty, but it’s been around for a long time, and there are higher-end solutions available. Like what? Where do you go when your client needs their emails upgraded? 2 solutions come to mind. Google Workspace and Microsoft 365.
Demonstrate: Google Workspace (formerly: G-Suite) comes from Google. It’s described as Gmail for Business. Think of Google Workspace like the business version of Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar and Meet. Let’s look at the price. Most people go for the $6/user/month plan. Not bad! But if you have a team with several email accounts, the cost can easily rack up. As a web design business, you will setup this account in your client’s name, and they will take care of the billing responsibility. You don’t foot the bill for this, but your service is setting up their account and offering support when necessary.
Now, let’s look at the other option, Microsoft 365.
Demonstrate: Formerly known as Office 365, this is Microsoft’s small business solution. For $5/user/month, you get enterprise-level emails, calendar and contacts, in sync on all your devices. This is a cloud-based productivity solution for businesses.
So those are 2 solid business email solutions from Microsoft and Google. How do you install and setup their emails? It’s really quite simple. See, the emails are NOT hosted on your server. They are hosted on Google or Microsoft’s servers. So all you need to do is add a DNS record to redirect the emails to their servers. The specific DNS record is an MX (Mail eXchanger) record. Just one line of code that says all emails should be handled elsewhere. Remember the phone book illustration? DNS records are like phone books? Well, when you lookup where to send emails, what does the phone book say? It says, for emails, go to Microsoft. Or go to Google. That one line of DNS code makes that connection. So far we’ve discussed both the free, hosted emails and the paid, dedicated emails. How do you know which to choose? How do you know whether to stick with the hosted emails on your server or purchase these fancy email accounts? This is KEY: For many small businesses, the hosted emails included with your web server are sufficient. I typically only look to Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 when a client has out-grown their hosted email accounts and need a higher-end solution, but they’ll need to pay for that privilege, usually about $5/user/month.
That brings up another key point for this entire business course: Now that you’re thinking, not just as a web designer, but a business owner, you can take that opportunity to… up-sell! Make a small profit. The emails cost you $5/person/month, so why not charge your client… $7 each? Make a $2 profit on every mailbox? Or, for the free hosted emails, try charging a few dollars per mailbox. The client doesn’t need to know this is free for you to create. In fact, look at that as a fee for your time, expertise and support. Think like a business owner, and you’ll find small opportunities to create profit, and each small profit adds up.
Before we conclude, we need to touch on one more important point. Let’s say you take on a client, and they already have multiple mailboxes full of emails? What do you do? First, assess the situation. Do they use IMAP? Google Workspace? Microsoft 365? You need to figure that out. If they use Google Workspace or Microsoft 365, great! Your job is far easier. All you need to do is copy the existing DNS records so the emails will continue to go to the correct email account. Otherwise, if they use IMAP’s hosted emails, you’ll have to move them to your server, so start by making a list of all mailboxes, forwards, and passwords. Second, you have to back them up. That means opening up Outlook (or a similar program) and exporting all mailboxes (including INBOX, SENT and custom folders) for all your client’s accounts. Sometimes, that’s light, and other times, it’s huge. Third, create the new mail accounts on your IONOS server. You can take this opportunity to create new ones and delete old unused ones the client no longer wants. Fourth, swap the DNS record so new emails flow into your IONOS hosting server. Finally, import the emails you backed up so your clients’ won’t lose any precious emails. You definitely don’t want to lose anything for your client.
So what are your options on the Cloudways Managed Cloud Hosting platform? Unlike shared hosting, many managed hosting platforms do not include email hosting out of the box. Therefore, the setup is slightly more advanced. In that case, think of email and web hosting as 2 separate services. That means you have to bring in 3rd party email hosting, like Google Workspace (formerly G-Suite) or Microsoft 365. Fortunately, those solutions are terrific, so that would be your first choice. Just choose and connect one of those. Other than that, Cloudways does have a partnership with Rackspace, one of the industry’s leading cloud service providers, to give you email hosting with the click of a button in your Cloudways account. Their prices are simple: Each mailbox is simply $1. Create as many as you would like for only $1 each. Your emails are securely hosted with Rackspace but managed by Cloudways. Your clients can access their emails via IMAP or webmail, and stay synchronized across all of their devices. Let me show you how Cloudways email hosting works, how to connect your domain name to Rackspace, and how to improve email deliverability with Elastic Email.
DEMONSTRATE Cloudways Email Hosting: Features Page. Support Page. Platform Addons Page. DNS. Elastic SMTP for Email Deliverability.
What have we learned?
I’m Leighton, and now you know… email accounts!
Open up your hosting server and create your first email address! Add it to your Outlook, Mail app, or whatever you use for your emails.