Things to consider when choosing the email host. What possibilities exist to set up the emails and why is better to have the emails hosted somewhere else than the website. Benefits and possible costs. Because there is no “one size fit all” solution.
For a long time I haven’t considered moving the emails outside. Truth being told at the very beginning I had to deal with only small and medium sized sites where the email safety and availability was not that big of a deal. Later though when for the sites the emails became more and more important, I realized that it’s much smarter to have the emails on a different host than the site.
At the beginning the word “Mx records” sounded like a curse, since I had no idea what to do with them. But… that’s it, that’s what you need to set up.
Where to get the emails “out”?
First of all you need to find the email service that fits your needs. Some say that Gmail for Business is to expensive though I recommend them the most. Philosophically speaking, it has some dangers to give more power to such a huge company that google (paying them, giving them access to data… so if you have severe paranoia and like to wear tin foil hat… maybe it’s not a good idea. I sometime think what would happen if Google tomorrow would say okay folks this was it, I have enough, want to retire… but that’s an entirely different issue LOL) so maybe you want to consider using slightly smaller players. I have Namecheap and Zoho on my “list”, but also Rackspace was praised by some of my clients.
How to get the emails elsewhere?
Easy… you first need to contract the new hosting provider and usually make a deal with them, get an account and pay for the service. After this you receive a login info, and the MX record settings. These settings have to be added to your domain name registrar’s MX section.
- if your website crashes and is down for two days, your emails will continue to work like a charm
- if your site overgrows the current hosting plan or want to switch the host, it’s easy to move the site to a new host, without having to deal with the emails as well. Keeping the same MX records up and running the emails are safely tucked in and protected in the different location. No need to worry about them. If the emails are set up in let’s say Cpanel of your site, and you don’t request server to server migration, your accounts need to be set up one by one. It’s also possible to move the emails, but it’s much more problematic.
Dangers of this setting
- One of the biggest danger is if you FORGET to tell your web designer/webmaster about this. Sometimes it’s not 100% obvious without some digging where are the emails. YOU as the site and email owner should be always aware and familiar with your settings, and always tell about it when it comes to move sites, switch domains. The settings are all recoverable, but with this type of settings there are some delays that cannot be rushed in any way. So if a bad MX or wrong MX has been set up, you can have emails stuck or arriving much later than they should until the settings are restored. Email servers do try to re send the emails a couple of times, so if the bad setting was not forgotten for weeks, you won’t loose the emaisl. Just get them delayed. This can be troublesome in certain cases. SO PLEASE, have a little notebook and mark these things down, let the person who manages the site to know about any special setting you may have and that way misconfigurations by mistake can be avoided.
It’s a pricier setup, but safer and better. Use it. If you need help setting this up, just send a service request[form will be ready soon!] or contact your host/email provider of your choice to help you out with the settings.