There’s a number of ways you can use email for your domain. This page gives an overview of the most common needs organisations have.
These are full-fat proper mailboxes, and can send and receive email. You can access them via webmail, software like Outlook or Mail.app (OSX), or on your phone. They support folders, so you can file away emails as you want.
Emails are kept on the server unless you delete them, so if you access the account from your phone and laptop, they see the same synchronised view. This also means that if your device is lost or damaged, your emails are still kept on the server.
However, because emails are kept on the server, this increases your storage needs, which may mean you need a more expensive hosting package.
These are great for forwarding a ‘role’ address like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to the person who’s currently responsible for that role, as you can change who they forward to at any time.
They also work to hide someone’s personal email address, if they don’t wish to have a proper mailbox.
They are also good for catching potential mis-spellings of names, and forwarding them on to the correct mailbox, or for catching emails sent to ex-staff, and forwarding them to the appropriate person to deal with.
However, the emails aren’t kept on the server. This means that if a role is handed on to someone else later, the history of emails they’ve sent and received is not kept, as it’ll be in the mail account the forward was sending them on to.
Also, they can’t send email. This means that if you reply, it’ll come from your personal address – if you’re forwarding email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org, that’s probably fine, but if you’re forwarding to a personal gmail address, it won’t look very professional if replies come from DaveNo1ChelseaFan@gmail… or similar.
Newsletters / Mailing Lists
If you’re sending out a lot of emails externally, particularly if you’re sending marketing type emails (newsletters, etc.), there are specific regulations that apply such as privacy and anti-spam legislation. There are also technical issues with sending large volumes of email. The email system on your server is not designed to handle these issues, and we would highly recommend you do not attempt to send mailings of these kinds through the server.
Instead, we’d recommend you use a service specifically designed for this, such as MailChimp, AWeber, etc. These services are designed to send out large volumes of email, track bounces and opens, and handle unsubscribes. Many organisations will be able to use a free tier of these services, but you will need to pay if you have a larger number of subscribers.
We can help you set these up.
If you’ve set one up yourself, be sure to let us know, because we may need to adjust settings on the server to mark the mailing service as permitted to send email on your behalf.
There is software available on your server to run discussion type lists. These can be configured various ways, but typically allow a group of people to send emails to members of the group. They can be suitable for needs such as team discussion lists, where everyone can have a say, or internal mailing lists (e.g. email@example.com). They are not suitable for marketing emails.
Notifications & Transactional Emails
Depending on what your website does, it may send notifications and transactional emails. These might include order confirmations, form submission responses and notifications, etc. These originate directly from the server, and are usually entirely automatic.