At a few points on this blog, I cover some more technical options that are probably not going to be suitable for most users. This is one of those suggestions that I’m including purely for more technically able users.
There are a few open source projects that make it relatively easy to setup an email server. You can then use this to setup as many email addresses as you wish on any domain name that you own.
If you only have one domain, this probably isn’t worth the hassle, but if you have a habit of acquiring domains and need to set up a lot of email addresses as a result, this could save you quite a lot of money.
I’m only going to describe an overview of this rather than explain the whole process as I think it will only be relevant to a very few readers at most.
Firstly you need to get a VPS. I recommend a Linode as it must only have a Linux operating system installed and nothing else. A Cloudways VPS wouldn’t be suitable for this. The smallest size available, currently 1GB, should be fine.
You will need to set up an A record to point to this VPS’ IP address. The easiest way is to create a sub-domain of one of your domain names.
The email side will be handled by Mail-in-a-Box (https://mailinabox.email/) and you will find full setup instructions on that site.
Once it’s configured, you can create domain emails in the control panel. Make sure you create an MX record for every domain you want to use with this system, pointing at the A record you created for the VPS.
That is deliberately brief because this is only really going to be a good idea for very few users. I’ve done it because my wife and I have a habit of buying domains that we end up using email addresses with, but in very low volumes.
Despite being comfortable with the tech behind this, I still wouldn’t use this approach for a domain where I was expecting to get higher volumes and mission critical emails. In that case it makes more sense to pay for a managed service or even use Zoho for free accounts.
However, if you really do want to try this solution out and you’re not sufficiently tech smart, you could try out a site like Fiverr and look for developers who can both set it up for you and also offer support if necessary.