Email hosting

Currently I’m using a shared hosting plan where the host provides both website and email hosting. I’m looking to move to a VPS and can’t (currently) be bothered going to the hassle of setting up, configuring, and managing a mail server on it.

Looking at various hosted email providers, the amount they charge seems to be higher than the majority of hosted web + email providers.

I have a number of domains, some of which have more than one email address set up. I don’t send out large amounts of email on a regular basis or anything like that.

Is there something I’m missing, would I be best off going with a cheap web + email provider and just using them for email?

There are four ways you can do this:

  1. You can setup your very own email server on your very own VPS. There are plenty of tutorials online, but this is not an easy task. I can do it but I don’t think I would want to be in that position of troubleshooting when things go wrong.

  2. You can use one of the many available web hosting control panels. Many of them come with mail settings included, one of which is Sentora – https://www.sentora.org/

  3. You can simply choose to pay. Gmail, Outlook and Zoho mail. There are plenty more services out there. I am not allowed to promote anyone, but Zoho offers up to 25 emails free when signing up. You only pay for more domains or more space… or more than 25 user emails.

  4. You can leave your emails on the shared hosting platform and simply point your DNS / MX records back to the shared hosting. Same platform, not running around backing up and emails. The setup is also familiar to your clients.

Conclusion: It’s really your call. What do you feel comfortable with? And sometimes, it’s good to give your clients the options. The might just pay for premium emails. Educate your clients – first rule of business. Educating your clients is key!

Why not you choose a vps managed?

A managed VPS is a lot more expensive. They are also pre-configured, and I would be surprised if the uptime guarantee / support covers additional software you’ve installed yourself.

You might also wanna look into things like:

  • mail-in-a-box
  • iredmail
  • cloudron
  • mailcow

those are solutions to run a mail server on your VPS more easily and are relatively easy to install. However all of those might have the drawback of poor IP reputation, depending on the IP you got. I think most of those allow to specify a outbound relay though (which could add to the monthly cost!)

A few months ago I did a lot of research related to this. For example, Azure does not include email with their shared hosting plans. I intend to switch to a different host that also does not offer email hosting.

One thing to understand is that most email-only plans (such as Microsoft Exchange Online) that claim to support many email accounts provide just one mailbox for all the email addresses. I am not sure how to explain that but that was a deal-breaker for me. I want my email accounts to be separate.

I know I considered Zoho and decided it would not work for me; I don’t remember if it provides just one mailbox but if so then that is why I decided it is not for me. I know that I need more than 7 email accounts so $2 per account gets expensive for more than 10 accounts.

I tried 1and1.com but I could not figure out how to use an external domain; domains not registered with them. So I canceled it and got a call from a salesperson that said I could use a hosting plan even if I onlyu used the email services. Well I finally discovered that external domains can be added the same way as if we want to transfer registration to 1and1. It is a scary process (unless they have changed it recently) since we must answer all the questions as if we want to actually transfer registration. So I had it all set up but since my DNS only pointed to 1and1 for email they dropped the external domain from their system. I complained and they said they were going to fix the problem but I have not tried again. So as it happens, it is probably possible to use the 1and1.com email-only plan.

Look at 25 Mail St.. It offers 2 mailboxes for 5 and .50 per additional mailbox and multiple domains. I have not tried them but I intend to.

If you want to use ONLY email hosting just use specific services like gmail, yandex mail.
If you use some sites with mail server use simple digital ocean droplet and install free hosting panel like Vesta, Ajenti, CentOS Web Panel and others.
Maybe you need some manual setup of SPF and DMARC but it’s easy.

Of course you can setup mail server manually like here. But if you have some Linux administration skills and some time for setup it.

I would suggest you to go with business hosting. It is a best and affordable alternative of VPS hosting. You will get all the hosting features as that of VPS hosting but at lesser cost.

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