Article by Jerry Low
Geek dad, SEO data junkie, investor, and founder of Web Hosting Secret Revealed. Jerry has been building Internet assets and making money online since 2004. He loves mindless doodling and trying new food.
A self-hosted email (ie. [email protected]) shows the world your business and professional. A generic email (ie. [email protected]) project inexperience – or worse, raise doubts on whether you are a real company at all. Even if you are just a blogger running one-man-show, you should consider setting up a self-hosted email. Imagine yourself sending newsletter, you want your email looks good in your subscribers’ inbox.
In this article, we will learn how to host your own branded email and check out some good email hosting companies.
Before we begin, here are the things you need to own a self-hosted email account.
Once you have these two, you can perform a simple “add email” setup at your host. For this article, we will demonstrate how to setup a self-hosted email account in cPanel.
Images I used in this article is the old version of cPanel, the process is exactly the same with the latest version cPanel.
Similar to a good web hosting – reliability and flexibility are two most crucial factors. Other essential elements for a good email hosting include:
Sometimes users get confused between email and web hosting. The truth is there’s little difference between a email and web host.
There are companies that brand themselves as “email hosting only provider” and there are companies that bundle email into their web hosting services. To save cost, most small businesses host their emails together at their web host .
Some times you’ll need to host your email on a different server (ie. your original web host does not provide email hosting).
The configuration is simple and I have done it a couple times when I switched my web host from Hostgator to WP Engine. All you need to do is to update your MX record (following steps below) to route email messages through your new email servers.
MX record stands for Mail Exchange Records. Mail Exchange is simply another name for server whose primary function is to send and receive emails. A domain’s MX record can be seen using various free lookup tools available online (for example, MX Tool Box http://www.mxtoolbox.com/); and can be only changed at the domain registrar (where you register your domain name, ie. GoDaddy, Network Solution, etc).
mail.yourdomain.com. IN A 184.172.183.xxx yourdomain.com. IN MX 0 mail.yourdomain.com.
Check your server IP or domain realtime black list status with MX Tool.
If you don’t know your mail server’s address, start with a MX Lookup. Or, just send an email to [email protected]
Now that you have everything you need to know about hosting your own email at your own domain. It’s time to pick up the right email hosting. The following are my recommendations – based on my test results* and usage experience.
We signup and test web hosting services ourselves. Till date, we have tested (with the help of Pingdom and Uptime Robot to track server uptime; and Bitcatcha to measure server response speed) and reviewed more than 60 hosting companies. You can learn more about the hosting companies we reviewed in this list.
|Host||Class||Host Website?||Unlimited Emails?||Spam Protection||Price||Learn|
|InMotion Hosting||Budget||Spam Assassin||$3.99/mo||Details|
|Liquid Web||Premium||Gatekeeper Scan, Message Sniffer, and more||Hosting fees + $1/mailbox/mo||Details|
WHSR receive referral fees from some of the companies mentioned in this article. It takes lots of effort and money to create useful content like this – your support is highly appreciated.
Below we will take a closer look on the price and email features provided by these providers.
Based in both Lost Angeles California, InMotion Hosting has been around for more than 15 years..
The hosting company is outstanding in many ways – we have rated them as one of the best for the past years. This website you are reading now and my team member’s emails are all hosted at InMotion Hosting.
Manage emails from InMotion AMP
InMotion Hosting Uptime Record
InMotion Hosting Speed Test
BlueHost has been around since early 2000’s. The brand “BlueHost” is well-known among webmasters and it is officially recommended as the “Best WordPress Hosting” by WordPress.org.
Email hosting at BlueHost is extremely affordable, with plans starting as low as $2.95 per month.
Accessing BlueHost Webmail
BlueHost Uptime Record
We’ve been using A2 Hosting since 2013 and we are extremely happy with its performance.
The folks at A2 Hosting are heavily obsessed with their server speed and pride themselves as the fastest host in the market. The host stores everything in SSD and comes with 10 GB redundant networks, 64 GB of RAM, and 12-core server.
Note that we are recommending A2 Hosting services because we think they are a very good web host in overall.
Their price is relative higher compare to the previous two option. If you are looking for a simple and cheap server to host your emails – then InMotion Hosting or BlueHost maybe the better option.
A2 Hosting Server Uptime Record
A2 Hosting Speed Test
Founded in 1997 by Matthew Hill, LiquidWeb wholly owns and manages three data centers with over 550 employees.
While you can setup a normal email at LiquidWeb just like BlueHost; you can also get a premium business email hosting with additional cost. LiquidWeb offers three different premium email hosting plans: Standard ($1/mailbox/mo), Plus ($2/mailbox/mo), and Microsoft Exchange ($10/mailbox/mo).
* Hosting cost is not included in this price. Liquid Web Premium Business Email is not sold separately.
LiquidWeb Email Hosting in a glance
RackSpace was voted as the Best Hosted Exchange for 2011. The company provides 14 days trial period back then and I tried their services briefly.
The company remains as one of the industry leaders today and offers reliable enterprise-level email hosting services.
RackSpace Order Screen
Note that RackSpace requires a minimum order of $10/mo. This might be a big turn off for individual users or small businesses.
While my team members’ emails are hosted at InMotion Hosting, my personal email account is hosted at Microsoft 365.
I did not include Microsoft 365 in the list above because
It was confusing to setup and use Microsoft 365.
In many occasions, I can’t access certain configuration page after multiple admin logins.
The company has a strange way of documenting their tutorials and help files. In many occasions, I had to bumped around the company sites (like this, this, this, and this site) just to get some simple answers.
And Microsoft (for some reasons) have changed the name of their service multiple times over the last seven years.
The email system sync flawlessly after setup. But the user experience (especially during troubleshooting) isn’t as good.
We have also published a number of actionable guide for those who are searching for a host.