I remember years ago an article by Carrie Dils (a kickass developer in the WP community) when I was trying to decide whether to pay for separate email and website hosting. She sold me on keeping them separate, but I also work with clients that have varying budgets and businesses that are in different stages in terms of size.
In short, my opinion is this:
- If your budget allows you to do so, host your website and email separately. (My recommendations are here.)
- If you’re just starting out or have a limited budget, get the best web host you can (I recommend Siteground; here’s why) and use them for your email. Upgrade later as soon as your budget allows or it makes sense for the size of your business.)
- … But whatever you do, don’t stick with your Gmail/iCloud/Yahoo generic email for your business. If you’ve leveled up to having your own domain, you should have a YourName@YourDomain.com email account.
Hosting your Email with your Web Hosting Company
Many web hosts will allow you to set up basic email accounts as part of your web hosting package. Some limit it to a certain number of inboxes, others make it unlimited.
- PROS: Included with many web hosting plans so you don’t have to spend extra money (good if you’re just starting out or have a tight budget)
- CONS: It cuts into your allocated web hosting space (gigabytes of storage on the webserver); if your web host goes down, it can take your email down with it; if you migrate to a different web host, you also have to migrate your email (which can be costly and time consuming)
Hosting your Email Elsewhere
As you can probably guess, this is my preference and what I strongly encourage clients to do if at all possible. There is an additional cost involved, but there are some very budget-friendly options.
- PROS: Email hosts specialize in email – they just plain do it better than web hosts who are (not surprisingly) focused on hosting websites; if your website goes down, your email will still be operational; you can easily migrate your website later and your email won’t be affected at all
- CONS: Another annual cost to factor in for your brand or business.
Recommendations for Email Hosting
I have two recommendations that I use for my email accounts across the various domains that I own:
- Google Workspace (formerly known as Google Apps for Business and GSuite)
If you already use and love the Gmail interface, you will love Google Workspace. It looks exactly like Gmail, but is connected to your domain email account. It also gives you access to all of the Google offerings you’re probably already using: Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Docs, etc. Plans start at $6 per user (email) per month. They also have upgraded plans with additional Google Drive storage space and additional features so it can grow with you and your business. This is what I use for my @amandaweber.com email accounts.
I’ve always thought of Hover as a domain registrar, and I’ve used them for many (many, many) years for all of my domains. What I didn’t realize till a couple of years ago is that they are also a great email host. When I was looking to set up email for my farm website, I didn’t want another full-blown Google account with all the extra bells and whistles, and I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. Hover’s pricing starts at just $20 per YEAR per email account. (aka super affordable!) If you’re on a budget, I highly recommend checking them out.