These days there are SO many options for setting up your all important email, so what do you prefer?
There are many choices here, but let’s simplify as much as possible. So you may have a business email address and it could be set up in various ways. You could have a simple gmail that you’ve set up yourself – “email@example.com”. Or you could have one that was given to you when you set up your website hosting – “firstname.lastname@example.org”, called a hosted webmail account.
What are the pros and cons of these and why should you choose one over the other? And what happens if you need to change them? Is there another option?
Choice 1: Hosted Webmail
This is the standard email included with a hosting account. The emails are stored on your hosting account, and accessed via a link something like mymail.coppertops.ie with a username and password that you’ve been given.
This is the simplest way to set up your mail.
There is no extra cost once you’ve paid for hosting.
Your work emails are separate from your personal emails.
Your email is tied to your hosting, if you want to move it can get tricky.
Hosted webmail interfaces can be pretty limited in their functionality (some are better than others!)
Choice 2: Forwarded mail
This is similar to hosted webmail, except that mail is forwarded from your domain or hosting account to another email account, for example on gmail. Depending on how it is set up, the emails may be stored only in the email account they are forwarded to or also on your hosting account.
Access your emails in a familiar interface, with the full functionality of gmail or similar
Can be fiddly to set up and can result in untidy email headers which don’t look as professional as you might like.
Choice 3: Google Apps
Heads up. This is my personal favourite!
With Google Apps, you set up an account with google for your domain. You then set up your domain registry or hosting to send emails for that domain to Google.
Within Google Apps you set up your user accounts. For each user you can add email addresses called aliases – emails sent to an alias will go to the user’s inbox along with emails sent to their standard email address. For example, email@example.com could be set up to go to the user who handles support queries. Or firstname.lastname@example.org could also receive emails sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you work by yourself you can set up so that all emails go to your inbox, but you can then use different email addresses for different purposes. For example, email@example.com – you can set a filter for emails sent to that address in your inbox and partition out your emails in that way to keep your inbox organised with minimum effort.
You can also add domains, for example if you have a .ie domain and a .com domain you can add both to your Google Apps account. This will mean that emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com will be sent to the same inbox. So where a visitor sees a different domain for your site and uses that in an email address the email will still be delivered successfully. They can be entirely differnt domains, or just different extensions. Once you add them to the domains on your account Google Apps will do the rest.
Handles multiple domains easily without extensive setup.
Handles multiple email addresses for the same user without fuss.
The interface! Gmail has a powerful interface, now you can use that for your domain based email with all that entails (filters, search, labels, conversations…)
Brandable – Add your logo to the interface
Scalable – Add new users as your business grows, easily. Your admin account has full control over what they can access and can even set a standard company signature to appear on emails below the user’s own.
Includes Drive (30GB per user), Calendar, Google Docs/Sheets/Slides for editing and Hangouts.
Access to additional Apps via the Google Marketplace. Apps for all aspects of your business, which can be integrated with your Google Apps account. You can set access to each app for all of your users or for individual users.
Access to your mail pretty much anywhere! All you need is a browser and in addition most mobile/tablet devices have a Gmail app which allows you to add additional accounts so you can switch between any that you need to monitor. You can also access your mail using IMAP, so if you prefer to use Outlook or similar that will work too. In fact, Outlook has a connector that will sync your entire Google Apps account – mail, calendar, tasks, notes, contacts. There are also great mobile/tablet apps for calendar and drive.
Storage. Gmail was famously one of the first to offer significant amounts of space to its users of the free service. Google Apps gives each user even more space and is even more scalable if extra space is required.
Cost. It’s not a huge cost but it isn’t free. It costs $5/month or $50/year if you pay yearly for the standard account and for unlimited the cost is $10/month or $120/year.
Your data is stored with Google. This will bother some people more than it will bother others, but it needs to be mentioned.
I think the upshot is that the first 2 options give you email whereas the second gives you supercharged email with lots of extras which turn it into a suite of software for your business. A suite of your software which you can access within a browser anywhere you need it. For that reason, I’d recommend Google Apps to anybody who can cover the cost in their monthly budget.
If you would like some assistance in setting up any of these options, please get in touch. We tailor all of our solutions to your specific needs and email is no different so we can advise you on the best setup to let you get the best out of your email account.