Many do not understand the capabilities that come free with their domain and take advantage of them. How many times have you visited a site for www.localcompany.com and in the Contact Us page the sales or customer service personnel have e-mail addresses like email@example.com? It certainly is not the main measure of the quality of the business but the Average Joe is probably thinking, “Geez, what is that, their personal e-mail address?” Why not use domain email which is free with every hosting account?
The bottom line is that if you have paid money to own a domain than you should, at the least, buy from a domain registrar that offers e-mail forwarding for their accounts. Further, many web hosting providers include one domain registration with their setup (many of the those rated here) and you have another avenue to have a unique domain email address.
What do you mean by a domain e-mail address?
If you register a new domain, widgets.com, one of the features that comes with the domain (from the domain registry or the web host or both) is the ability to set up e-mail accounts for that new domain name. Now instead of firstname.lastname@example.org, the company or individual can set up e-mail addresses like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Those new e-mail addresses can be POP3 accounts or just forwarding accounts. Either way, these domain e-mails are included with your cost and setting them up is not only free to you but gives the impression to the outside world “…this business is professional because it has its own e-mail addresses.”
What is e-mail “forwarding”?
E-mail forwarding is a feature that allows incoming mail to a domain email account, such as email@example.com, to be redirected or forwarded to another e-mail address (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org). This is the easiest way to set up a new e-mail address without having to change your e-mail program. These are sometimes called “aliases”. An alias is another name that refers to the same person. In our example, George Smith has an e-mail address with aol – email@example.com. He has just purchased the domain name widgets.com and sets up a forwarding rule which “reads”: Whenever an e-mail comes in to firstname.lastname@example.org forward the e-mail to email@example.com. firstname.lastname@example.org is an “alias” for email@example.com as all traffic goes to the same destination.
Many services allow hundreds for forwarding rules or aliases to be created. Suppose George is a small business but wants to give website visitors the confidence that they are dealing with a solid company. He could create forwarding rules for firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc. and have them ALL get forwarded to email@example.com. As George adds employees he can change the forwarding rules to go to other e-mail addresses. The point is however that you can have as many Aliases as you want pointing to the same destination e-mail.
The “Catch-all” address is a form of the forwarding rule. In fact, you can set up just the “catch-all” address in lieu of any other forwarding rules. The catch-all address form is usually in the form of “*@widgets.com will be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org”. What this tells the server is that, unless any other forwarding rule is specified, any e-mail that is sent to widgets.com will be forwarded to email@example.com. The * is a wildcard that means that I can type “anythingIwant@widgets.com” and it will be forwarded to the aol account. This is a very quick way to set up e-mail aliases if they’re all going to the same person. With a single catch-all rule, George ensures that firstname.lastname@example.org will come to him so he can give different e-mail addresses out and produce the confidence that he is a large company.
POP3 e-mail accounts
A POP3 e-mail address is a unique e-mail address with its very own storage space. While forwarding addresses are pseudonyms for actual e-mail addresses, most hosting accounts allow you to create hundreds of unique POP3 e-mail accounts that are stored on the web hosting company’s servers.
From the control panel of the service, the provider allows its customers to set up POP3 accounts with usernames and passwords. They usually have very generous storage limits for each e-mail account. Outlook and Outlook Express allow a user to log into multiple e-mail accounts and the web hosting companies provide the details on how to set each POP3 account in these and other programs.
Instead of mere aliases, widgets.com may need unique e-mail addresses for each of its employees or business sections. The hosting companies rated provide more POP3 accounts than most businesses or individuals will ever require.
Giving a family (or Church) their own e-mail addresses
Domain names are so cheap now, at only $9.99/yr that families can benefit from registering a domain name familyname.com or familyname.net or familyname.us. Once the domain name is owned, think about the power of adding an alias for every member of the family. Joe Schnelly has just bought Schnelly.us. In his forwarding rules he creates e-mail addresses for email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc. for all the cousins, parents, brothers, etc. in the family. Each alias goes to the actual e-mail address of the family member but now there is an easy way for everybody to remember the e-mail address of another member of the family.
The same idea could be used for the local church that buys cornerchurch.org. I set up aliases for every member in my local church so members can e-mail each other my sending e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your imagination at using the power and flexibility of the tool is your only limitiation in many instances.