What Is Domain Email?

You can use your own domain for custom email addresses

A laptop displays an email alert

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Domain email is email that's associated with a custom domain instead of an email service. To get your own domain email address, using your own custom domain, you need to register a domain, sign up for a web hosting plan that includes email, and then point your new domain to your host's servers.

Most people can get by just fine using free email services, but there are a lot of instances where having your own email domain name can come in handy.

What Are Domains, and What Do They Have to Do With Email?

Domains are what we use to organize the internet into something that we can navigate without having to remember long strings of numbers called IP addresses. When you visit Lifewire, for example, you have to type the Lifewire.com domain into your web browser.

Email addresses use domains in a similar way. In the same way that the Lifewire.com domain is able to direct your web browser to our website, the domain portion of an email address is able to direct your email to the correct mail server.

When you look at an email address, it's easy to see the domain. For example, let's say your email is name@example.com. Everything to the right of the @ symbol is the domain, so the email domain, in this case, would be example.com. Everything to the left is your account or username.

When you set up your own custom domain email, you can select anything you like as the account or username. The domain portion, however, has to correspond to a domain name that you register and own the rights to.

What Is an Email Hosting Service?

An email hosting service is a type of internet hosting service that specifically operates and sells access to email servers. Most web hosting services also provide email hosting, but there are exceptions. There are also email hosting services that only do email and don't offer web hosting services at all.

Web hosts that provide email hosting services often do so in a limited manner. When you sign up for a web hosting account, you'll typically find that different tiers of service each come with a specific number of email addresses and storage space for email boxes.

In situations where a web host doesn't provide adequate email service, you can use one company to host your website and a different company to host your email.

What Makes a Domain an Email Domain?

Every domain has the potential to be an email domain, but whether or not it can actually function as one depends on the web host that it's associated with. If you want to be able to use an email with a domain you own, it's important to make sure that the host you select supports email.

Here's how to set up a domain as an email domain:

  1. Register a domain using the registrar of your choice.

  2. Sign up for a web hosting account that includes email hosting.

  3. Point your domain to your web host's name servers using the control panel provided by your registrar.

    If you aren't sure how to do this, contact your domain registrar. They will be able to provide specific instructions pertaining to their system.

  4. If necessary, change the mail exchange (MX) records in your web host account. Most web hosts that offer email services set these records for you automatically, but you will have to set the records manually if you use one host for your website and a different host for your email.

How Does Domain Email Work?

An email address that uses your own custom domain works just like any other email address. Your friends and business contacts can send you an email using your domain email address just like they would with any other, and you can use your domain email address to send an email like you normally would.

The only difference between domain email and any other kind of email is how you access, read, and send messages. Most email hosting services allow you to use any email program you like, an email app on your Android device, email app on your iPhone, or even a webmail interface.

The ability to use your domain email with email programs and apps, and the availability of a webmail interface, varies from one email hosting service to another. Before you choose one, it's important to check whether they support POP3 or IMAP and if they have a webmail interface. If they do, they should provide tutorials showing how to configure your favorite app.

Who Needs Domain Email?

Free email services are available from providers like Gmail and Yahoo, and you may also be able to get a free email account from your internet service provider (ISP), work, school, or other organizations that you're associated with. With all these sources of free email accounts, most people can get by just fine without their own custom domain email.

Here are some examples where having custom domain email can come in handy:

  • Business owners: Even if you're operating as a sole proprietorship and have no employees, having an email that's associated with the same domain as your website makes you look professional. You also have the option of creating custom email addresses for different purposes, like customer service.
  • Freelancers and independent contractors: This is another case where having your own custom email domain helps you look more professional. First impressions are important, and having a professional email address instead of a free one is a big part of that first impression.
  • Organizations: Custom email isn't just for the business world. If you run a community organization or are part of one, you can set up custom email addresses for yourself and other members, for community and press contacts, and any other purpose.
  • Security concerns: Registering your own domain, and then using a highly secure email host can protect your anonymity, security, and privacy. If you're concerned about privacy, make sure to use a registrar that supports private registration.

While those are some of the most common reasons to set up a custom email domain, you can set one up for any reason, or no reason at all. If you register a domain, and you want to use it for email, there's nothing stopping you.