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When you want to portray professionalism in your small business or organization’s digital footprint, having an email address that ends in Gmail.com is not the best way to do it.
Fortunately, when you already own a website domain, you have the ability to begin sending emails that come from JaneSmith@MyWidgetBusiness.com, rather than JaneSmith@Gmail.com.
Depending on the subscription tier you are using for your domain hosting, you perhaps can even create a business email address for free that uses your domain name.
We’ll discuss the best ways to create a free business email address through an email hosting provider, using DreamHost as our example.
The Top Email Hosting Providers to Create a Free Business Email
When you subscribe to an email hosting provider with a monthly charge, you are paying for email hosting for your business. However, you also potentially can receive a free business email address as part of certain domain hosting subscriptions. DreamHost, for example, offers both domain hosting and WordPress hosting options that include free business email management.
- DreamHost — Best All-Around Email Hosting Provider
- Hostinger — Best Budget-Friendly Provider
- Intermedia — Best for Email Security
- Scala Hosting — Best for Significant Storage
- Google Workspace — Best for Google-Centric Users
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard — Best for Microsoft-Centric Users
- Amazon WorkMail — Best for AWS-Centric Users
3 Steps to Create a Free Business Email
Once you have your domain in place, creating your free business email address is a pretty easy process. We will be using a DreamHost account in our examples for building your free business email address, but you can use a number of different domain hosting clients to perform this process.
The Easy Parts of Creating a Free Business Email
The process of creating a free business email address itself doesn’t require a lot of setup work. However, it does take several preliminary steps to reach that point. Once you have your business email address in place, you will be able to take advantage of quite a few benefits associated with using a business email name.
Building trust: Customers are far more likely to take your business or organization seriously when you have an email address that contains your unique domain name, rather than containing Gmail.com at the end.
Maintaining consistent branding: Having your business name as part of your free business email address provides another means of putting your brand name in front of customers. Think of the business email address as an extension of things like advertising, a website, business cards, and other marketing tools focused on your brand and company name.
Driving website traffic: When you are using a business email address, customers will automatically assume that you have a matching website address. So if a customer sees your email from JaneSmith@MyWidgetBusiness.com, the customer may go ahead and type MyWidgetBusiness.com into a browser to check out your website and to seek more information.
Leveraging more email management options: When you choose to use a business email with a web or email hosting provider like DreamHost, you will receive more options for using email to perform marketing and for tracking the effectiveness of your emails (usually for an add-on cost). If you are using a free email provider like Gmail, you will have far fewer options for monitoring your business email performance.
Avoiding ending up in the spam folder: The email filter in Gmail or in a similar email service is more likely to sort marketing emails with a generic email address into a spam or promotions folder. A marketing email that comes from a business email address may have a greater chance of ending up in the Inbox, though.
The Difficult Parts of Creating a Free Business Email
Although using a free business email address has quite a few advantages, it won’t be the perfect option in every situation.
Not entirely free: You need to understand that the process of creating a free business email address is not entirely free. You will have to purchase a domain and perhaps a hosting service before you can set up the free business email address. Simply put, there is some cost involved with setting up a business email address. It is not possible to make use of a unique domain in your email address entirely for free.
Time-consuming process: Although you often can create a free business email address in a few minutes, the background steps required to make the email work take quite a bit longer. You will need to start by setting up your domain with your email hosting provider before you can undertake the process of creating a free business email address.
Not active immediately: It can take a few hours for your new email address to become active, and it may take several hours if this is the first email address you are using with your new domain in DreamHost. If you migrate an existing domain into DreamHost, it can take up to 24 hours for the transition to occur, and you will not be able to use your business email until the transition finishes.
Calculating the best deal can be complex: If you like your current domain hosting plan, you may not want to transfer your domain to DreamHost just to receive a free business email. In a case like this, you can simply use DreamHost or another email hosting provider to subscribe to an email management service only. This process may be cheaper for you than transitioning your domain to try to receive a free business email, so you will have to do some math to determine the best pricing option for you, based on your needs.
Step 1: Sign Up for a Hosting Plan
Before you can begin using your free business email, you will need to subscribe to a hosting plan and you will need to have a domain. (Unfortunately, obtaining these items is not free.) We will spell out how to do this process, using DreamHost as an example.
Select Your Hosting Tier
You can sign up for a hosting plan with DreamHost that includes a few options to choose from:
- The ability to migrate a domain you already own before obtaining free email hosting from DreamHost.
- Free email hosting in a web hosting service where you pay separately for a new domain.
- A hosting service where you must pay separately for email hosting.
The VPS tier in DreamHost provides you the chance to purchase a domain and to have unlimited and free email hosting, so we will use that as an example. Through this tier, you can make use of an unlimited number of email accounts for free, giving each person in the organization a different address, if desired.
Sign Up for Your Hosting Tier
When signing up for the VPS tier in DreamHost, you can select to pay monthly, annually, or with a three-year commitment (for the largest discount). The VPS tier also has multiple pricing tiers within it, so you can select an amount of storage space on the virtual private server that best fits your needs.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $120 per month for a subscription to a VPS tier of DreamHost, depending on your needs and on the payment tier you select. Once you decide on the pricing tier you want to use, click on the Sign Up Now button to start the process.
Bring Your Existing Domain to DreamHost
At the time of signup with DreamHost, you can bring over a domain that you already own, or you can register a new domain. If you register a new domain, you will have to purchase it.
To bring over an existing domain, on the Pick a Plan page, click the I Already Have a Domain button. In the text box, enter the domain name that you own and click the Assign button. You then can begin the process of paying for your DreamHost subscription.
Understand that when you transfer an existing domain from your current host to DreamHost, this automatically resets the registration expiration date to a year from the date of the transfer. You will have to pay the cost of the annual domain registration later.
Register a New Domain
To search for an available domain in DreamHost, you can click the Register a New Domain button on the Pick a Plan page.
Type the domain you would like to use, along with the top-level domain (TLD), which is the .com, .org, or whatever TLD you would like to use at the end of the domain name. Then click on the magnifying glass button to see whether your preferred domain is available.
If your preferred domain is available, you will see a message listing it. Then click the Add button (which also lists the annual price) to add the purchase of the domain to your DreamHost plan’s bill.
If the domain you want to use is not available, you will see a message indicating that you will need to select a different domain. DreamHost will provide a number of alternative suggestions that are available. If you would like to use one of these, click the Add button for the alternative name. Otherwise, you will need to search for the availability of a different domain name.
You may be able to find a domain for as little as $0.99 per year if you are willing to compromise a bit on the name. For your preferred name, you may need to pay quite a bit more, though. The average domain name typically will cost $10 to $15 per year, but some domains can cost $100 per year or more.
Pay for Your Hosting
Once you make your selections for hosting and for the domain you want to use, you then can pay for your DreamHost subscription on the Secure Checkout page. Just follow the directions to enter your personal information and payment information.
The right side of the Secure Checkout page will list the current charges that you must pay now. DreamHost will continue to charge your payment method each month until you cancel your account and until your selected payment term expires.
You may have some additional charges later, such as if you are transferring an existing domain to DreamHost. (The billing area on the right side of the screen will list any potential future charges you may have.) When you finish entering your information, click the Submit Order button.
Step 2: Set Up Your Custom Business Email
With DreamHost now hosting your domain, you are ready to begin setting up your email address associated with that domain. Again, by subscribing to the VPS domain hosting tier in DreamHost, your business email is free. (If you subscribe to a different domain hosting tier of DreamHost, you may need to pay for email hosting.)
Access the Email Options in DreamHost
Start by logging in to your DreamHost account. After entering your login information, you should go directly to the DreamHost dashboard.
On the left side of the dashboard, click on Mail. In the expanded menu, you then will want to click on Manage Email.
Create a New Email Address
You now are ready to create a new email address based on your domain name. Click the Create New Email Address button. You then will need to enter some information about the email address you want to create.
Add Your Email Settings
In the Email Address text boxes, type the alias name you would like to use in the first box. Then click on the drop-down menu for the second text box to select the domain name you would like to use. The alias will be the portion of the email address before the @ sign, and the domain will be the portion of the email address after the @ sign.
After selecting the email address you want to use, you then can specify the settings you want to use with your email. Some of the items you will be selecting include:
- The name associated with the email address
- The password to use with the email account
- The amount of storage space to use for emails
- Whether to forward messages to this email address
- The maximum number of messages to store in the Inbox
- The length of time before automatically deleting older messages
- Whether to keep a copy of deleted messages for a certain amount of time
Click the Create Address button after you enter all the information. If you entered everything successfully, you should see a message congratulating you. If you made any errors along the way, you should see an error message. You then would need to go back and correct any issues.
Step 3: Checking Your Email
To see your messages associated with your new email address, you can access DreamHost’s Webmail service through your web browser to check your messages. Webmail is free to use when you have a hosting plan subscription or an email hosting plan subscription with DreamHost.
You also can point your DreamHost email messages to an email service or client of your choosing, such as Gmail, Outlook, SquirrelMail, or others.
Enter webmail.dreamhost.com in your web browser address line and hit Enter. This should open the login page for Webmail. Enter your username and password before clicking the Login button.
Each time you open Webmail, it will automatically load your new messages. When you leave it open in a web browser, it will regularly check for new messages and display them for you. Should you want to force Webmail to check for new messages, click the Refresh button.
You also can create new messages in Webmail by clicking the Compose button along the left side of the page.
Using an Email Service or Client
If you want to use Gmail to see the messages coming to your business email address, you will need to connect your DreamHost mail server to your Gmail account through the Gmail Settings window.
With other email clients or services, you may need to disable DreamHost Webmail before you can use your own email client or service. Just follow the directions that your email client or service provides for changing the settings to allow Dreamhost to send your business email messages to your client or service.