This blog post is in response to helping a customer of mine decide what type of email she wanted.
Email is an essential business tool. Which service is right for you? Free or paid? Muffy@gmail.com or email@example.com? Web mail or domain email? Which mail client should I use? Do I really need an email client? Help I am so confused!
Email comes in many forms both paid and free.
Option 1: Use the email address(es) your ISP (Internet Service Provider) gives you. JohnDoe@cox.net
Option 2: Use a free email address from google.com or yahoo.com. firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Option 3: Use a paid email service with your own domain name. firstname.lastname@example.org
Option 4: Your cellular service gives you an email address. email@example.com
Mail client software or webmail?
Mail client software is a program for checking email. Outlook express (included in windows xp), Outlook (part of Microsoft Office), Windows Mail (included in Windows Vista and Windows 7), Mail in OS X, many other minor players as well.
Webmail is simply logging in to a website to check your mail. No client software needed. Gmail.com is the most popular.
Which is best for you? It depends. Webmail is generally free, can be checked from any internet connected pc, you don’t have to back up because it is stored on a remote mail server somewhere. Quick and Simple. Generally, most people who are heavy email users prefer to use a mail client because it is more configurable and feature rich. In the case of Outlook is tightly integrated to the office suite. Mail is stored locally and is available even with no internet connection available. Is that email important? If so you need to be backing it up.
Free or Paid? Again it depends on your needs. Running a business and want to use your own domain name, that cost a little money. You get what you pay for. Some of the hosted email services provide really nice spam filtering, large inboxes, and the ability to send large attachments. Paying for a service entitles you to some amount of customer service and a better quality service. Lots of people are perfectly happy to use a free webmail service such as yahoo or gmail addresses with no problems. Just remember you shouldn’t have any expectation of customer service or server uptime with the free accounts.
Email is a complicated topic depending on your individual or business needs. At Computer Guy Consulting we have a lot of experience setting up various types of email for a variety of clients. If you need small business IT support to figure this whole email thing out please feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to consult with you about the best email solution for your business.