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So you’ve bought your domain and you want to set up a professional email address for your business. Can you do it for free? Yes, there are two ways to do it for free, both of which rely on having access to changing DNS records with your domain provider. Some e-commerce stores that allow you to buy the domain don’t give you this access, but most places on the web that sell domains do. We recommend Namecheap.
Forwarding a Domain to a Free Email Address
You can forward all the emails sent to your business email address to a free email address like Gmail or Yahoo. Then, you can set it up to have the emails sent from your free email address appear as if they came from your business email by using an alias.
To get started, you will need to figure out how to change MX records for your domain. MX stands for Mail Exchange record. You do this at the place you bought your domain. Most companies that sell domains will have help articles on this. We can’t link to every company that sells domains, so if you are having trouble, you will just need to Google this part. Use the phrase “changing MX record [insert name of company].” For example, “changing MX domains GoDaddy” gets you the correct help article as the first result.
Once you know where to change MX records, you need to know what to change them to right? You get this information from your free email provider. For example, the information for Gmail is here. You should be able to do a Google search or visit the help documents on your free email provider to get the correct information.
Now that you know how to change MX records and know what to change them to, go ahead and change them (this is the hardest part, domain providers don’t have the greatest help articles).
Once you have the correct MX records set up, you first activate email forwarding to forward any emails arriving at your domain straight on to your free email provider. Again, using Google as an example, you would find the directions here.
Then, to send emails and have them appear as if they came from your business email address, you have to set up an alias. The Google help article is here. Again, your free email provider should have help articles on setting up aliases.
That’s it. If you plan on using Gmail and haven’t bought your domain name, then we recommend buying it through Google Domains, then they will handle changing the records for you, leaving just the last two steps.
Using a Free Email Host Option
Email hosting is not usually free. When someone sends you an email, say a short note with an attached picture, it has to sit somewhere until you retrieve it. This costs money. The only free host we currently know of is Zoho, a small business software provider that makes CRM, sales, help desk, and a ton of other software, many with free tiers, for small business owners. They make money by hoping you will sign up for their other software.
The steps are fairly similar to the steps for a free email provider. You will need to set up your MX records with your domain provider, using three main steps. First, you verify with Zoho that you own the domain, then you create email addresses, and lastly, you set up the MX records. The full steps are here.
Options for Paid Hosting
If you are currently paying for website hosting that doesn’t include email hosting, you may want to consider switching to a host that includes email hosting. We use the cheapest Namecheap hosting plan and it comes with 10 email addresses included (along with a free SSL certificate).
If you are starting a company from scratch, we have a guide on setting up your domain, hosting, SSL, emails & WordPress on the cheapest hosting plan from Namecheap with screenshots to walk you through it.
Check out other posts from the No-Nonsense blog
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- How to Calculate the Cost of Hiring a New Employee
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- A Roundup of the Current Top Website Creation Tools and Fast Prototyping Page Builders
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