Update 2012-08-12:Google has now removed the free version of Google Apps, but at $50/user/month, it’s still a steal!
The Internet has come a long way in the past couple of years alone, never-mind the last 2 decades.
The web has advanced a lot, but what about email?
Isn’t email still just email? No.
In 2004 Google released into public beta a new approach to email – Gmail. Facebook has attempted to “reinvent” email/messaging, but it’s still just Facebook – the last place I want my emails are stuck in Facebook with nowhere to go.
Gmail is perhaps the best email interface/platform around. Then and now.
But for professionals, businesses, or folks who want email on their own domain name, what’s the best solution?
Email alarm bells ringing in your head when…
Alarm bells should start ringing in your head if any of the following are true for you:
- When your website goes down, your email goes down.
- You use Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail or other similar service for your business email
- You use Squirrelmail, Horde, Atmail, Roundcube, or equivalent webmail service from your web hosting provider
- You use Microsoft Outlook / Thunderbird and you get your email over POP but have no way to get your email when you travel. Ouch.
Why alarm bells? Because that’s email circa 2001.
Email options when you host and own your own domain name
If your web hosting provider is still flogging Squirrelmail as a “feature”, the time to start looking at your options is upon you.
At Host Like Toast, we don’t host email for our managed WordPress clients for 3 reasons:
- Single Point of Failure – or rather the opposite. If your web hosting server goes off-line (and believe me, it will, regardless of what they tell you with the 99.99998% statistics) your email keeps going completely unaffected (assuming you don’t host your DNS on your server)
- No matter what systems we employ, there is no way we’re going to come remotely close to providing as good an email service as Google can. We’re good, but we’re just not that good.
- Email hosting is a right pain in the proverbial, and we don’t want responsibility for it – the majority of support calls and help requests come from users with email problems.
Perhaps you now recognise that you don’t have the email solution you should.
Where to go from here?
Google Apps is your best choice for business email. Period.
There’s no 2 ways about it. Google Apps rocks, and it’s completely free (for up to 10 users).
I’ll say that again, Google Apps rocks, and it’s completely FREE.
I often get asked a lot of questions about Google Apps because some people find the whole thing confusing.
Picture the scene – you’re taking to Señor Google Apps – the conversation might go a little something like this:
Google Apps: Hi, how can I help you?
You: I’d like to host my email somewhere reliable. Like… somewhere dedicated to the purpose of email and communication. I don’t want my web hosting to do it because of those 3 reasons cited above.
Google Apps: No problem. We’re perfectly suited to help you. How many people in your organisation?
You: There are less that 10 of us.
Google Apps: Perfect. Do you use Gmail?
You: Yes. It’s great! I love the interface, the speed, and the conversations view of email!
Google Apps: Perfect, then here’s what we’ll do. We’ll take over control of your email; your email will be stored with us, you’ll be able to create users, groups, and heaps more. Then, you can setup your Outlook to access your email securely, and the best thing of all? We’ll give you a web interface for your email that looks identical to Gmail. It’s so close to Gmail, you’ll think you’re in Gmail!
You: o…m…g… That’s amazing. How do I get it?!
To sign-up to Google Apps if you’re setting up email on your domain name for the first time isn’t too much of a challenge. Google Apps helps a lot with the first timer.
I wrote a Google Apps Setup e-book a while back to help you do it all, so you can follow that if you like, or you can get us to do it for you.
Migration of existing email to Google Apps is a little trickier, but not impossible – the advantage of migrating to Google Apps is that you’ll never need to worry about your server going down, or migrating to another server ever again as your email will always be totally separate.
Don’t accept the limitation of web hosting email – you don’t need to any longer.