There are many email service providers that allow you to set up domain email, usually paying a fee for each address you require. I’ll show you how you can get five domain email addresses for free.
We’re going to use Zoho which is a company that offers a wide range of web based applications. Their email service allows us to use our own domain name and set up five email accounts, each with a 5GB inbox.
Note that with this free plan, you can only access your emails through a web browser or using their mobile app for iOS and Android.
Also, the free plan does not allow you to automatically forward emails to another address or use a desktop email app on your computer. If you need either of those features, you will need to select one of their paid for plans or use another service, such as Google G Suite.
Go to https://www.zoho.com/mail/, ensure that the Business Email radio button is selected and click the Sign up for free button.
On the next page, you can select the email plan you want to use. You will need to scroll down to find the free plan. Click the Sign Up button of your selected plan and complete the registration process.
When you’ve completed registering your account, press on with verifying your account.
- Click the dropdown control
- Select Others
There are several verification options, but we’re going to use the TXT Method. Select and copy the text in the Value / Points To / Destination box.
Go to your Namecheap account and go to the Advanced DNS tab of your domain. Scroll down to the Host Records section, click the Add New Record button and set the dropdown to TXT Record.
- Enter @ into the Host column
- Paste the text you copied from Zoho into the Value column and save
It may take time for the TXT Record you set to propagate, but go back to Zoho and click the Verify by TXT button. If the validation fails, wait for half an hour or so and try again.
Now that you’ve verified the ownership of your domain name, you can configure Zoho and update your domain’s DNS settings so that you can start sending and receiving emails.
Enter your desired email address and click the Create Account button.
You can add further accounts later, so click the Skip button to complete the setup of your email.
Groups are of more use for larger businesses, so click the Skip button.
The first step is to setup the MX Records of your new email. Click on the dropdown control and select Others.
Select and copy the text from the first row of the Address column and make a mental note of the first value in the Priority column.
Go to your Namecheap account and scroll down the Advanced DNS page to the Mail Settings section. Set the dropdown control to Custom MX. In the table below, edit the first row’s values. Enter @ into the Host column, paste the text you copied from Zoho into the Value column and enter the priority value from Zoho into the Priority field. Click the green tick icon to save the new record.
Click the Add New Record button to add a new row and enter the second MX Record from Zoho. Add a third row and enter the final MX Record before clicking the Save All Changes button.
It will take a little time for the MX Records to propagate. Back in Zoho, click the MX Lookup button at the bottom of the screen. A popup should display whether the MX Records have validated. If validation fails, you can still click Next as the validation will be completed later.
The next step is to add an SPF Record to the DNS settings of your domain. You don’t have to complete this step, but this will prevent anyone sending emails that pretend to have been sent by you. That can damage your sending reputation and reduce the deliverability of your emails, so this step is advisable as it only takes a few moments.
Select and copy the TXT Value from the table.
Go to your Namecheap account and in the Host Records section, add a new TXT Record.
In the Host column enter @, paste the text you copied from Zoho into the Value column and click the green tick to save the record.
Note, if there is already an existing SPF Record in your Host Records section, unless you know it isn’t required anymore you need to edit that record rather than adding a new SPF Record. A domain can only have one SPF Record configured.
For example, if there is an existing record like v=spf1 include:servers.mcsv.net ~all, you need to add the include value from Zoho.
So if the Zoho record looks like v=spf1 include:zoho.eu ~all, when we combine them, the new record looks like v=spf1 include:zoho.eu include:servers.mcsv.net ~all. Finally, if the original record ends with -all, change it to ~all.
Now go back to Zoho and click the Proceed to configure DKIM button. This will see you add another DNS record to help protect your emails being seen as spam. For clarity, this doesn’t mean you can send spam with gay abandon, if you send clearly spam emails, your deliverability will be damaged regardless of whether you’ve setup SPF and DKIM.
When the new screen opens, click the pencil icon at the right side of the row that contains your domain name.
Click +Add Selector.
In the Selector Name field, enter zoho and click the Save button.
From the new screen, copy the zoho._domainkey text in the TXT – Host/Name column and go to Namecheap. You should not include the domain name part of the text as Namecheap will automatically apply this.
In Namecheap, add a new TXT Record to the Host Records section and paste the text you copied into the Host column. Go back to Zoho and copy all the text from the TXT Value column and paste that into the Value column. Ensure that you copy all of the text as just one missing character will break this and hurt your email deliverability instead of helping it. Click the green tick to save the new record.
Go back to Zoho.
- You can try clicking the Verify button but it will probably fail at this point as the TXT Record needs some time to propagate
- Click the Back to Setup button
As this should be a new email address, skip the Email Migration step that can copy over emails from an existing account. The final step will introduce you to Zoho’s mobile apps and after that you will see the final screen.
That screen includes links to help files on how to use Zoho webmail and also how to manage all your email accounts.
You should now have your email setup to allow the best deliverability possible using Zoho. Note that you don’t have to go through these steps when you add more email accounts. These settings apply to those new accounts too.
When you log in as the user you just setup, you will also have access to the main Zoho email control panel where you can configure various settings, including adding new email accounts. By default, those new accounts will not have access to the control panel.
One last thing you may want to do with your new email account is add a signature. It will give your emails a professional touch and allow you to share other details about your business automatically in every email you send. This could include a mailing address, phone number, links to social media accounts or even a current special offer your business is running. More information on getting setup is available at https://www.zoho.com/mail/help/signatures.html.