A long time ago email may have been included in your website hosting, but that’s rarely the case these days, and there are many reasons why. Some folks set up their domain for email forwarding to their gmail.com account, and reply from there – if their brand and reputation aren’t above keeping it that simple. For most, email hosting can be vital for their company and brand image.
Most hosting providers focus on highly-tuned web servers, and email in many ways is much more complex these days, due to what we all know too well is the #1 issue with email, spam. With that in mind, here’s our top reasons why it’s a very bad idea for you to have your email hosting not separated from your web hosting.
- All your eggs in one basket
- Migrating websites becomes a nightmare
- Web hosting support is very different from email support
- Email reliability requires dedicated email systems
All Your Eggs in One Basket
The obvious issue… Let’s say you’ve got your existing email mailbox [email protected] that you’ve had forever with many years of emails organized across two dozen folders, to store messages from clients, vendors, employees, other departments, government, family, friends. All those messages, all that data, could be vital to your business or your life.
One day, your web hosting gets suspended due to an expired credit card, you missed the reminder emails, and your email is now suspended along with it. Your website and email are now both down. While this may be easier to resolve, realizing that your website can be down is one level of panic, but imagine every employee’s email is down as well, including sales and support, and it’s a whole other level of panic indeed.
Or imagine your web host has a server data issue, and only has your website backed up (very common!), but your mailboxes weren’t backed up or are corrupt. That’s nightmare-level panic that happens all too often if email hosting is not taken as serious, or in many cases, more serious than your website hosting.
There are dozens of similar scenarios we’ve heard about, experienced, or had to jump in to help with, and having your email hosted with your website causes everything to halt completely – and downtime will happen, it’s a matter of how long it lasts, how fast it recovers, and if email is down as well, or not. Many businesses can operate just fine with their website having errors or downtime for minutes or hours, but if email is down it’s a much bigger issue!
Migrating Websites Becomes a Nightmare
Let’s say we’ve just finished designing a brand new beautiful website for you on our servers, and you’re moving your web hosting to us as well – happens every week or two. We can easily migrate your website files and database(s) over to our servers, and quickly update the domain name to point it to our servers – painless, and with zero downtime.
Email migration, with multiple mailboxes of multiple folders, is a nightmare, and very different, much more complex, from migrating a website. Each user in effect becomes another migration, and there’s no universal easy way to migrate over mailbox files themselves, because there’s no easy way to access mailbox files directly. Email is usually accessed via a POP3 or IMAP account, or maybe local computer-based archive files (Outlook’s .pst files being the main one). Getting all that data, for each user, at many hundreds of megabytes or gigabytes in size, migrated to new email servers is a nightmare… it’s almost impossible to do without losing the folder structure, or losing emails, and wondering where they went. After hours of watching an email program move messages across, it may error out somewhere in the middle, and then you have a partially migrated mailbox (always copy, never move!).
Email hosting providers do have some dedicated migration tools, thank goodness, but they typically work only with their email servers, and won’t work with any other email servers.
Keep website migrations easy, by keeping email separate from web hosting, as it makes a website host change painless, and keeps email flowing.
Web Hosting Support is Very Different from Email Support
Providing quality web hosting support is a hard thing to get right by itself, but imagine if those same support people also had to support email? That’s like asking your landscaper to also repair your pool or roof. Website support usually means communication to one or two people at a company, while email support can involve conversations with anyone with an email account, for password resets, help configuring their new iPhone to access their mailbox, the server settings stopped working, an email wasn’t received and why wasn’t it, their emails are bouncing because of typos, and hundreds of other issues that email brings with it.
Not to mention the actual technical configuration of email, including proper DKIM, SPF, MX, and many other email server specifics that are usually unrelated for the most part from hosting a website itself.
Email support is an entirely different set of skills, knowledge, expertise, and type of issues, and you really don’t want your web host having to split or prioritize support to handle email hosting.
Email Reliability Requires Dedicated Email Systems
Think of email hosted on the same systems as web hosting as free, basic email that doesn’t have great spam filtering, security, tons of storage, and light on support – when in reality, email is as vital and many time more vital than the website.
When we focus on providing quality web hosting with superb support, we’re not going to be as focused on email hosting or support. We recommend customers use an equally superb email host that specializes in providing and supporting email, and all that comes with it, including world-class spam filtering, reliable delivery, password recovery, and the best in performance and security.
Here are our recommendations:
Google’s G Suite: The best in class that brings gmail to your domain name, with Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Forms included. Currently 15GB included at $6/user/mo, with free domain aliases and groups.
ZOHO Business Email: Quality email hosting with a lot of professional features included. Currently 5GB included at $1/user/mo, with additional plans available.
Rackspace Email: Great migration tools and support, with many business-level features included. Currently $3/user/mo with 25GB included.
FastMail: Focused on putting you first and not the advertisers, FastMail focuses on privacy, with no ads, no tracking, and full control over your data. Including calendaring and contacts, too. Currently $3/user/mo or $30/user/year for 2GB, or $5/user/mo or $50/user/year for 30GB.
Microsoft 365 Business Basic: If you really want to use Microsoft Outlook and Exchange, sign up for Microsoft’s newest plan. You also get access to web and app-based versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint (no desktop). Currently $5/user/mo based on an annual commitment.
Keep Your Eggs in Separate Baskets
I hope we’ve covered the many reasons you don’t want your email hosted with your website, the many risks and issues you could run into, why web hosting support is better when it doesn’t include email support, and above all, we’ve given you some time-tested, trusted, and reliable email hosting providers to choose from for your domain name-based email.
Did I miss anything, have questions, or want to add your experiences with email hosting? Leave a comment, and if it’s not spam, I’ll approve it and reply. 😉