When you start a new business one of the first things you might think about is your email. “What email is the best to use for work?” is a question I get asked quite a lot so I thought I would create a reference to cover some of the key points.

1. Choice of email address – Webmail or Domain based

Firstly you need to decide what you would like your email address to be. There are lots of free email providers like Gmail, Yahoo, Bt etc and they are very happy for you to use their email address to do their advertising for them and using their domain as the second part of your email i.e. alice@gmail.com or fabface@yahoo.com.  This is known as free webmail. Of all the providers gmail is my favourite and yahoo probably my least favourite, as it is it seems to be least secure. I would

While webmail is OK for starting out I would always recommend that people purchase a domain if possible. The domain is the second part of the email and would also enable you to use the website of the same name so my domain is alicejennings.co.uk and my email is alice@alicejennings.co.uk.

If you are serious about your business then the £20 investment to get yourself a domain based email is a great investment.

2. Where do I get a domain?

There are lots of domain registrars. These are companies that charge between £5 and £10 a year for a .co.uk domain to register the domain for you. Typically a .com is a little more expensive. If you are planning on building a website too then often you will get the domain registration for free if you buy web hosting from them.  The big players in domain registration are 123 reg, Go Daddy and 1and1 but watch out for their cheap introductory deals which quickly become much more expensive.

The domain registrar is in charge of making sure that anyone who types in your domain (either as part of an email or a website) gets sent to the correct place. They keep a note of the server (big computer) that your website and email are sitting on so they can redirect the visitor or emailer there. All in the blink of an eye.

3. Email hosting

As well as paying for the domain you will also need to pay for email hosting (though again if you are buying website hosting this is typically included in the price). Email hosting means that you are renting a small space on a server somewhere which is (hopefully) always on and which is where your emails will be delivered.

I have recently found a company called The Email Shop who offer really great value email hosting and domains. I have no experience of them other that a quick email conversation with them about their prices but they are great value and would be a good start point for both a domain and email host. Their domains are £4.99 per year for a .co.uk and email is £0.99 per month.

4. Email Client

So now we have our email received by the registrar, sent to the hosting server and finally we need to access that server and collect our email. You can do that using a horrible online tool like Roundcube or Squirrel mail or you can set up Outlook, MacMail, Thunderbird or Gmail to collect that email on your behalf and show it in a pretty and lovely format. You can also connect up your email app on your phone if you want so you can get them from wherever you are.

And that’s it… how to get started with your own email. I hope that was useful. Any questions please just comment below.