Everything you need to know about email hosting

16 Oct 2018 / Freeparking Team

Email hosting is as an online hosting service responsible for the operation of email servers. Unlike free email or advertisement-supported email, email hosting services provide premium emails. If you already own a domain name and are in need of an email service, you can always sign up for an email hosting service that will make use of your domain name.

The services of an email host are used by individuals or small and medium-sized businesses. In the case of larger businesses, they often run a personal email hosting service with the help of software, such as  Postfix  or  Microsoft Exchange Server.

Email Hosting Explained

Email hosting is an internet hosting service that operates by renting out and operating email servers. Premium email services are unlike what Yahoo, Google and other free webmail platforms offer.

Email hosting providers cater to the needs of users who require more advanced and expansive email services, such as small and medium-sized businesses with large email traffic. It’s also suitable for organisations which are in need of an email with their own domain name so as to distinguish their businesses. In the case of certain large organisations, instead of opting for email hosting services, they simply set up and utilise their own email servers.

Many web hosting providers offer email hosting as part of their services. But this is mostly provided as POP3 email and only comes with basic features, such as spam/virus protection. For companies and brands, what is offered by free email or advertisement-supported email is inferior to what is delivered by professional email hosting.

With professional email hosting, an organisation can be at ease concerning email functionality and security. It also provides the company the opportunity to focus on core aspects of its organisation while its email services are effectively managed by the email hosting provider. Other benefits  include access to robust webmail features, such as unlimited forwarders and aliases, backups, archiving, large attachments, IMAP/POP3, online storage, contacts management, more effective spam/virus protection, calendars, mailing lists, auto responders, mail rules, white lists, blacklists, and so on.

Email hosting is affordable. It’s not free, but the little cost is clearly worth the benefits. There’s also the added benefit of not needing an in-house IT team or email servers to make it work. You can get this service based on your needs. For instance, if you need email hosting that’s geared towards email management and filtering, or perhaps security, you won’t have trouble finding the one that’s ideal for you.

Email Hosting vs Free Email Providers

Email hosting services make use of customised open-source applications, such as  RoundCube,  SquirrelMail, or Horde. Free webmail, on the other hand, makes use of standard POP3-based email, which is less secure and versatile.

Many businesses in their initial stages opt for free email addresses so as to cut costs. While it’s true that using free emails cuts costs, it does cost an organization in other ways. For instance, the first impression that a business using free email creates is a lack of professionalism. It is expected that a professional and sophisticated business have its own email, instead of a Gmail or Yahoo account.

Also, when the staff of a company, especially its senior staff, all have email addresses from different service providers, it creates a sense of inconsistency. The company as a whole may be perceived to not be a strong and united team.

There’s also the issue of appearing cheap. Potential customers and investors may be given the impression that the company can’t afford something as basic as an email account with their own domain. And worst of all, using  free email providers poses a security risk, as it is far less secure than email hosting. The main security concern comes from the fact that the content of messages being sent and received via free webmail is scanned for advertising and marketing purposes.

By using email hosting and an email with your own domain name, you get to establish and elevate your corporate brand. This will send a positive message to your customers and possible investors that you are a serious and committed to business. Also, by specifically partnering with an email hosting provider with an optimized privacy policy, you will have greater assurance concerning the safety of messages sent and received.

Types of Mail Servers

When it comes to messaging via the Internet, emails are one of the best known and most used forms of communication. It can be used to transfer messages in the form of texts, pictures, files, videos, music, and other forms of media to another party with an email address. The message will be received regardless of where the recipient is.

Internet service providers and web hosting domains commonly offer email services as a bundled feature. Email providers make use of different types of email servers to deliver their services. The most common types of email servers include:

1.            Web-based email: This is probably the most popular type in existence, and a significant number of free email providers have their servers hosted as web-based email. With this, users can log into an email server with the help of an internet browser. They can then receive and send messages via their email address.

2.            POP3 email servers:  Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3)  is also popularly used, especially by ISPs responsible for providing users with email accounts. POP3 email servers are capable of storing on a remote server incoming email messages. When email client software is opened by a user to check their email, the stored messages will be retrieved from the server and transmitted to the device of the user. Once received, the message will be deleted from the server to make room for other incoming messages.

3.            IMAP email servers (IMAP): This is a popular alternative to POP3 email servers.  IMAP  is commonly used by business email accounts. It makes it possible for a user to preview, organize, and delete emails before transferring them to a device from the email server. Unlike POP3, the user decides when to delete copies of the email from the server.

4.            Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) email servers:  SMTP servers  are used in tandem with mail servers like IMAP or POP3. They handle emails sent by users from email clients.

Why Should You Set up an Email Account for Your Domain Name?

With a domain-based email account, you can stand out and express yourself with a unique address. But that’s just for personal use. The gains are far more robust if you use a domain-based email account for business purposes.

With a domain name based email account, you get a professional email address that builds brand credibility that instils confidence in investors and customers. Gmail, Yahoo, and other free webmail services are sufficient for personal use and perhaps for business use if you really don’t care about professionalism and credibility.

Another benefit of a domain name based email is that you can arrange  email aliases, also known as email forwarders to help your company appear more organised and professional. Also, by owning your own domain name, you are no longer limited to an Internet Service Provider or email service provider. With your own domain name, there’s more flexibility and you can use any email hosting provider of your choice.

How Should You Set up an Email Account with Your Domain Name?

After you get your domain name, you can further use it to your advantage by setting up an email address on it. You can then integrate this email with your Gmail or Yahoo account.

Let’s get started with setting up your email account with your domain name:

•             Set up the domain name based email address

•             Log into your cPanel or control panel.

•             Go to Email Accounts under Email.

•             Enter your new account’s details

•             Click Create Account.

•             A notification that reads “Account Created” or something similar will pop up. The account will be shown on the page.

•             Return to the cPanel and go to Forwarders under the Mail section.

•             Click Add Forwarder.

•             Fill in the details then click Add Forwarder.

You are now done and all emails from your domain name based email will  be sent to your personal email address.

•             Integrate new domain email with Gmail

•             Log in to your Gmail account.

•             Click on Options, go to Mail Settings

•             Click Accounts and Imports.

•             Tick the Send Mail As box

•             Click Add Another Email Address You Own.

•             A popup will appear. Fill in your details and add in your newly created domain email address

•             Click Next.

•             Click Send Verification

•             Click on the link in the verification email sent to your box to verify it

You are now done. You can compose an email to see the effect of the changes you have made.

Should You Keep your email host and your web host separate

Combining your email host and your web host may seem convenient but in truth it’s unsafe. If in doubt, below are specific reasons why you should separate your email and web host:

•            Website hosting is not for hosting email.The email support provided on a web host is not superior. The hosting provider adds in email as a feature because it is cheap but that doesn’t mean they are willing to go the extra mile to ensure you get the best out of it.

•            Email hosting on your web host takes up valuable space.Sent and received emails, as well as email attachments, all consume valuable disc space and meant for the running of your website.

•            Website hosting email software isn’t the best.Website hosting’s email software interface and functionality is far less than it could be. For people who’ve enjoyed the versatility, user friendliness and features of Gmail, they will likely be dissatisfied and disappointed by the website hosting email software.

•            Website hosting is unreliable.Website hosting is not wholly reliable, and if website hosting goes down, your email goes down with it and can’t come back up till the hosting does. For individuals and businesses who use email as their primary mode of communication, this could prove disastrous.

•             Migration can be a big problem. Your email being hosted on a web host pretty much means your email is locked into that host, and migrating to another account can be extremely difficult.

Features common with email hosting

Email hosting providers vary in terms of the services and features they provide. But you can find the following features common to all email hosting providers.

Unlimited Email Addresses

Typically, email hosting providers offer unlimited email addresses and accounts for the users to do with as they please. This is great for businesses as they can easily create and allocate email addresses to all their staff as the need arises.

Email SPAM Protection

Every webmail comes with spam protection with the aid of a spam filtering setup. The spam filtering setup uses smart rules andBayesian filtering. This way, spam will not be able to make its way into your inbox. Email spam protection can also use spam scoring technology to ensure all legitimate emails are delivered to your inbox. You will also have the ability to whitelist or blacklist email addresses, domains, and IP addresses based on your preference. Some email hosting also offer spam reports for user review.

Webmail Software

Besides the third-party email clients and mobile phones, you will also be provided webmail software for checking and managing emails. With the webmail software programme, you will be able to access emails from any device anywhere in the world.

The quality of webmail software varies from provider to provider but the software programme is always available as a standard feature.

Email Forwarders

Email forwarders make it possible to forward an email from one of your email addresses to another. With an email forwarder, you can even forward all the emails received on your address to another address. You just need to set up forwarders by logging in to your account and changing settings by Adding a new mail forwarder to a domain name.


The auto-responder feature is also available so you can set up your account to auto-respond received messages. You can tailor the automatic response message to suit specific needs and circumstances. For instance, the message could read 'Thank you for your message, we will get back to you.' This message will be sent as a response to all received emails.

Domain Host vs Web Host vs Email Host - What is the Difference?

Domain hosts

The benefit of signing up for a custom domain name is that you get a professional email address that uses the same domain name. Your identity on the Internet is your domain name. The registrar/domain host represents your local government and is responsible for controlling licensing and ownership of the domain name as well as where to locate the website attached to the domain.

Periodic cost or licence fee attached to a domain name is different from that of any email service or website being used. There are a number of providers that offer just domain name registration. With such a service, you can get a domain name without needing to also purchase hosting services. But there are web hosting companies that offer both services in order to facilitate the management of both the website and domain. It is important to bear in mind that the two services are actually separate.

If you register your domain with a  "neutral" registrar, you have the option of selecting any email service or webhost you prefer whenever you want and without the costs and delays associated with moving a domain registration to another domain host. It also protects your domain name from being snatched up by another party.

Popular neutral registrars that also offer email hosting include domain.com, namecheap.com, and Google domains.

Web Hosts

Web hosting operates by providing clients with a server on which their website will be housed. It also provides the resources it needs to stay connected. Under such an arrangement, server maintenance will be performed by the hosting company so that the client doesn’t have to worry about server configuration, maintenance and upgrades.

Many web hosts offer email hosting as part of their services. When hosted on the server which is the hardware, your website will count as the software while your website’s files stored on the web host make up the content displayed to the people who visit your domain.

Email Hosts

Email is another service that is often offered both by domain registrars and web hosting companies. Email uses a different kind of software and protocol for being sent and received. Unlike a web host that can host both email and website functions, the servers of an email host and its resources are strictly meant for email purposes.

Free vs. Paid Email Hosting Services

In order to minimise expenses, most businesses in their start-up phase opt for free email addresses. While this option has its benefits, it is not good for the reputation of a company that wants to be taken seriously. A company using such a service may be viewed as lacking a degree of professionalism. People expect serious and established companies to have email addresses that use their own domain names.

Another downside is when the employees of a particular company all have email addresses from different providers, such as Yahoo and Gmail; it can create a sense of disparity. Instead of viewing your company and team as a cohesive unit, they will more likely be viewed as a loosely connected team that lacks a united front. 

There is also the possibility that the prospective investors and customers of your company will perceive your establishment as cheap. By using paid email services, your company is more likely to be recognised by clients and investors as a real business that takes its corporate image seriously. There’s also the benefit of paid email hosting offering heightened security and privacy.

Let us look at the pros and cons of both email hosting services.

Paid email hosting

The pros are:

•             Increased privacy.

•             Improves brand image


•             Quality spam filtering comes at an extra cost

•             The user interface is less flexible and robust

•             Downtime and reliability depend on the service provider

Free email

The pros and cons listed below are based on Gmail services.


•             It’s free

•             Robust user interface and experience

•             Easy setup that requires hardly any technical expertise.

•             Easy integration with multiple devices.

•             Almost no downtime.

•             No need to backup emails or transfer them when changing domain hosts.

•             Comes with email forwarding, filtering, and many more.


•             It isn’t completely secure as messages are scanned for marketing and advertising purposes.

•             It lacks 24/7 phone and priority email support.

Setting up email hosting

Setting up email hosting is straightforward especially if you already have a domain name.

Buying a Domain Name

Select the domain name provider that best suits your needs and purchase a domain that you would like to represent your email and brand on different platforms.

Setting up email forwarding

Start off by logging into cPanel. Then in the Email section, click on Email Accounts. Enter your new account details, then click Create Account. A notification will pop up, indicating that you have successfully created an account. Return to the cPanel and under the Mail section, click on Forwarders. Click Add Forwarder.

Fill in details as necessary then hit Add Forwarder. The email forwarding setup is completed.

Connecting Things Together

If using Gmail, you can integrate it with your new domain email through the following steps. Log into Gmail and go to Options. Under Options, click on Mail Settings, then Accounts and Imports. Click Send Mail As. Then click on Add Another Email Address You Own. When the popup appears, insert your details, including the newly created domain email address.

Click Next, then on Send Verification. You will receive a verification email in your inbox and you will have to click on the provided link for verification purposes. Once that’s completed, you are done.

Using Your New Address

To begin using your new address, simply click on Compose.

Top Email Hosting Service Providers

Some of the biggest email hosting providers are listed below. Bear in mind that many of these email hosting service providers also offer free services.

•            Hover

Hover offers both branded email hosting and domain hosting. Its email user interface isn’t great but it’s getting better and more intuitive with time. Its service quality is consistent, and its customer service/tech support is reliable.

•            G Suite

This paid service from Google offers the simplicity you have come to love from Gmail. It also comes with a custom email address and added features, especially concerning privacy.

•            FastMail

This is another quality hosted platform that is great for business purposes. No ads, no going through your personal data or sharing it with third parties.

•             Hushmail

Hushmail may be a bit pricey but it is money well spent if what you want is a highly secure email service. It is commonly used by healthcare providers for communicating with clients because of its security. You can also boost security by adding HIPAA compliant encryption.

•             Greatmail

This is another hosting option that is keen on security and privacy of businesses and groups. It can also be used by individuals.

•             Mailcheap

This offers dedicated email servers and there are no limits when it comes to users or domains. It also offers email reseller plans and backup email services.

•            Pobox

It offers easy to use and dependable email forwarding for your domain name.

•            ProtonMail

The ultra-secure email service was developed by scientists from CERN and MIT. The quality and security of its service has stood the test of time.

•            Rackspace Email

This market leader brings its expertise to the paid email hosting space and delivers on distinctive service.

•            Runbox

All the way from Norway, Runbox delivers secure, fast, and privacy protected email services. It is ideal for startups and also established businesses.

•            servermx

Companies and individuals alike can benefit from the reliable paid service offered by this email host.

•            Tutanota

This host delivers automatic encryption that protects your emails in every way that matters. Even the company itself allegedly can’t access messages going through its servers.

•            Zoho Mail

It offers email hosting and office services to small and large businesses as well as professionals.

Alternatives to Email Hosting

Besides the above email hosting options, below are the commonly used free options available. Each is reliable in its own unique way and has made a mark for itself within its niche.


Gmail is definitely one of the best free email services out there. It is user-friendly and offers over 10GB free storage space. Its spam filter is efficient and it comes with in-built instant messaging that allows for video and voice call as well. It is accessible on mobile devices and comes with a search feature that makes finding emails from years ago easy.

Office 365/Outlook

From Hotmail to Outlook to Office 365, each stage in its evolution has come with something special to offer. This Microsoft powered email service is based on Outlook that’s available on Macs and PCs. Its user interface is neat and friendly. It is also ad free and possesses impressive online features.

There’s also the option of connecting to social networks from the email account. You can also integrate Office Web Apps for Excel, Word, and PowerPoint documents on your system.

Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor  offers much more than an email service. It is a powerful tool for email marketing through personalised messages.


This is an email client that is compatible with only specific Windows OS. Its compatibility issues may narrow down its accessibility to users of Windows PCs but its effectiveness is noteworthy.


Rackspace is a popular email service provider that has been able to distinguish itself over the years through its quality of services. It’s great for businesses of all sizes and you can get emails @ your domain. It is fully compatible with all desktop email clients as well as mobile ones, and delivers top notch spam and virus protection.

Yahoo Mail

Due to numerous security breaches and lack of a defined company direction, Yahoo Mail’s glory days may be far behind it but it is still one of the most popular free email options out there. It offers instant messaging and SMS texting, as well as unlimited email storage.

Zoho Workplace

Zoho Workplace is a suite of productivity tools, including Zoho Mail. The service offers a fast and robust email platform for businesses; and it is ad-free to ensure security and seamless operations.

Amazon WorkMail

While it isn’t perfect, Amazon Workmail offers an impressive host of emailing tools.


FastMail has been around for over a decade and has made a mark through temporary secure SMS passwords, user friendly interface and reliable spam protection. Their free plan offers 25MB email storage and other benefits.


What is a Mail Server?

A mail server is a computer system that receives and sends emails with the help of  SMTP,  IMAP or  POP3  protocol. Mail servers and web servers are combined in a single machine and offered as a package deal. But large internet service providers and public email services make use of dedicated hardware.

A computer system needs mail server software in order to perform as a mail server. Such software will make it possible for the system administrator to generate and manage email accounts for domains that are hosted on the server.

What is Hosted Email?

Email servers are run by hosted email services on behalf of an organisation. You will require an email hosting service if you have a domain and would like an email service on that domain.

A majority of web host providers offer email hosting as a standard part of their service. But it’s usually basic email (POP3) with standard features, such as spam/virus protection. This is not in the same league as a dedicated email hosting provider that delivers premium email services and features.

What are the benefits of having domain-based email addresses?

The pros are increased privacy and security, and improved brand image

How can I add email@yourdomain at my host?

Simply go to the Domain’s Settings page. Once there, select a domain name from the provided list and go to the selected Domain’s Settings page. Hit the Use my domain icon. Go to Setup an email account and click Set Up. Once the Professional Email page appears, select the email package that best matches your needs and click Buy.

What Makes A Good Email Hosting?

A quality email hosting service will offer the following features to your satisfaction:

•             Access to email via webmail, smartphone or yourpreferred email client

•             Folder and contacts management

•             Email aliases, forwarders and auto responders

•             Secure spam/virus protection

•             Email filtering

•             Email replication

•             Online storage

•             Calendars

•             Email rerouting

•             Large attachments

•             Mailing whitelist and blacklists

•             Backups

What is the difference between email hosting and web hosting?

Web hosting operates by providing clients with a server on which their website will be housed.  It also provides the resources it needs to stay connected and operational.

Email is a common service that is often offered both by domain registrars and web hosting companies. Email uses a different kind of software and protocol for being sent and received. Unlike a web host that can host both email and website functions, the servers of an email host and its resources are strictly meant for email purposes.

How can I check if the mail server is blacklisted?

Over a hundred recognised public blacklists exist and among them are some that are more influential than others. Being on some can lead to a significant fall in your delivery while the effect of others is less influential. 

If you want to know if a mail server has truly been blacklisted, you can verify by checking the lists on any of the following sites:

•            www.dnsstuff.com/tools. The status of IP addresses and domains can be checked here for free

•            www.mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx. This is free to use and can check about 46 blacklists to see if the entered address has been blacklisted.

•            multi.valli.org/lookup. Offers a comprehensive list with over 120 blacklists.

•            www.dnsbl.info. This also free and provides you results from about 88 blacklists.

What Is The Difference Between IMAP & POP3?

Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3) email servers are capable of storing on a remote server incoming email messages. When an email client software is opened by a user to check their email, the stored messages will be retrieved from the server and transmitted to the device of the user. Once received, the message will be deleted from the server to make room for other incoming messages.

The IMAP email server (IMAP) is a popular alternative to POP3 email servers. It is mostly used by business email accounts. It is advantageous in that it makes it possible for a user to preview, organize, and delete emails before transferring them to a device from the email server. Unlike POP3, the user decides when to delete copies of the email from the server.

How Can I Protect Myself from SPAM?

The following tips will help you stay safe prevent spamming:

•             Download spam filtering tools and anti-virus software

•             Don’t use your personal or business email address to register for online freebies, deals, contests and such

•             Do not publicly broadcast your email address

•             Think before clicking on links in spammy looking emails; also avoid downloading content blocked or red flagged by your email service providers.

•             Do not reply to spam messages

What about email forwarding?

Email forwarders make it possible to forward an email from one of your email addresses to another email address. With an email forwarder, you can forward all the emails received on your address to another address. You just need to setup forwarders by logging in to your account and changing settings by adding a new mail forwarder to a domain name.

Which type of email hosting would work best for you?

The type of email hosting that will work best for you will depend on your current and future needs. In order to determine which will work best for you, take into consideration factors such as cost, speed, storage space, accessibility, uptime, and how much privacy and security you need.


For more information about Freeparking's email hosting please visit:https://freeparking.co.nz/web-hosting/

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