Creating an online presence for your business doesn’t just make it easier for customers to find you: It increases your credibility. In addition to launching an official website for your business, securing a free custom email domain helps give your small business a professional and consistent brand image online.
There are several ways you can get free email for your custom domain, including through services such as Bluehost, online suites such as Zoho and others.
1. Choose a Domain Name
Creating a custom domain email for free requires you to have a live website. If you are starting the process of establishing your business’s online presence and haven’t set up a website, the first step is to choose your domain name, also known as your web address.
For example, if you owned a coffee shop named John’s Java, you’d want to choose a similar domain name, such as JohnsJava.com.
When choosing your domain name, make sure it is:
- Easy to type
- Doesn’t contain numbers or hyphens
Additionally, GoDaddy recommends ending your domain name with “.com” as it’s the most recognized suffix online.
Finally, make sure the domain name you choose isn’t already trademarked, copyrighted, registered or in use.
Once you have chosen your domain name, you will need to register it. Enter your account information when prompted by the service with which you are registering your domain (e.g., GoDaddy), and select the features and add-ons you’d like included in your package.
Some platforms such as Bluehost, GoDaddy, HostGator and others offer both domain names and hosting, allowing you to manage everything in one place. Many domain hosting services provide email hosting as part of their packages, making it easy for you to get a custom email domain for free.
Certain services such as Bluehost also allow you to select “domain privacy” as a base feature, as your contact information will become public once you register your domain. By selecting the domain privacy feature, Bluehost adds its own information (address, telephone number, etc.) to the registry so you don’t have to worry about being spammed by unwanted mail or calls.
Sign Up for Hosting
Once you choose your website’s domain name, you’ll want to sign up for hosting. Think about what your business website’s current needs, as well as what it will need down the road. Is there the potential you will need to scale up in the future and add more pages, features, etc.? Or is your business suited to a basic website with just a few pages?
As CNET explains, “If you’re a small business getting started, you can probably do quite well with a cloud, virtual private server, or managed service ranging from $10 to $100 per month.”
Again, many providers allow you to both register your domain and sign up for hosting services on a single platform or you can move an existing website to a new hosting service.
If you already own a domain name that is registered somewhere else, buy hosting from a separate hosting provider. You’ll just need to change your domain’s settings to point to your new hosting provider.
2. Create a New Email Account
Once you have selected and registered your domain, it’s time to create a free email account with a custom domain. After registration, navigate to your service provider’s dashboard to find the email menu.
You can use your hosting service’s tools to enter an email name of your choice and create a password for your new email account. When creating your business’s email accounts with a hosting service, some services will let you add up to dozens (or even hundreds) of email addresses, while others may limit you to five or so.
You can create a personal business email address, such as John@johnsjava.com. If you want to dedicate an email account to providing customer support to your visitors, you could create a firstname.lastname@example.org. You could also create additional company email addresses for employees and departments.
If you need more guidance for creating business email addresses, check out our article for more information on professional email addresses, formats and examples.
3. Access Your Email
Once you’ve created all the email addresses you would like associated with your business, you can activate them through your hosting service. As an example, to access your email on the Bluehost platform, select the “More” drop-down menu, then click “Access Webmail.”
You can also access your webmail inbox from Bluehost’s login page by clicking the “Webmail Login” option.
4. Connect Your Email to a Third-Party Email Provider
To save you time and provide convenience, many hosting services allow you to connect one or several of your business emails to third-party accounts such as Gmail, Outlook, Thunderbird and more.
Once you have set up email on your host’s platform, use your host’s tools to connect your business email to a third-party provider of your choice. This typically involves retrieving and entering your business email, your business email’s password, and your email server information.
5. Optional: Set Up Email Forwarding
Many businesses create a generic customer service inbox, such as email@example.com, for example. Email forwarding enables you to forward the messages to this generic address to employees within your company who are capable of solving the customer’s problem.
This means your customers get their issues solved quickly and efficiently by the right person, and that your employees can keep personal information — such as their names — private.
It is relatively easy to use your host’s tools to set up the email forwarding function. Some hosting services even allow you to have email forwarded to multiple accounts.
How to Get a Custom Email Domain for Free: Recommended Platforms
In addition to platforms such as Bluehost, there are several alternatives you can use to set up a free custom email domain. Keep in mind you may have to purchase hosting services to take advantage of the free domain.
Here are four of the best free custom domain email service providers:
- Gmail for business: Gmail provides services that allow everyone in your company to get a free custom domain email address at your domain’s name, like firstname.lastname@example.org. Gmail for business allows you to add multiple custom domain addresses right within your Gmail account. Plus, you can create group emailing lists for specific departments, like email@example.com.
- Zoho Mail: It’s easy to use Zoho with your website’s custom domain. Zoho offers a free (and ad-free) plan that allows you to configure up to 25 custom domain email addresses, provides 5 gigabytes of storage space per inbox and more.
- Migadu: This is a no-frills email hosting service with a free plan. Migadu gives you access to unlimited mailboxes, 1 GB of storage space per account and easy setup, among other features.
- Yandex: Yandex’s free service and simple-to-use interface make it a popular choice among users. Get 10 GB of cloud storage, customizable themed web interfaces and protocol technology support.