Emails are a part and parcel of business communication. While technological evolution has spawned new modes of communication that facilitate instant messaging, emails remain the principal mode of exchanging information among businesses in all verticals.
For email communication, we have a host of choices in both free and paid email hosting categories. Yahoo, Gmail and Rediffmail offer reliable free e-mail communication services. While these services work well for personal communication, they fail to cater to the needs of business communication. Because it involves the exchange of sensitive information, business communication demands highly secure channels.
Now visualize this: You use your personal Gmail account for sending emails to your client. Someone breaks into your account and accesses valuable information. You will remain anxious until the issue gets addressed and resolved, won’t you? You can ward off such unpleasant incidents by choosing reliable
email hosting providers.
What is E-mail Server Hosting?
Email server hosting is a service that hosts your e-mail on a leased server. The server handles your entire data for sending and receiving emails. Since emails are sent directly through this server, the service is far superior to any free webmail service.
Email server hosting caters to the needs of organizations that seek advanced email solutions. Often, small and medium-sized businesses that receive heavy email traffic and need a domain name to distinguish themselves choose email hosting.
Professional email server hosting solutions offer a set of unique features to facilitate seamless exchange of critical information. These features such as malware and spam protection, unlimited forwarders and aliases, autoresponders, archiving and backup make for superior functionality and security. With a reliable email hosting solution, organizations are able to better concentrate on the core aspects of their business.
How Many Types of Email Servers are there?
POP3 Email Server
POP stands for Post Office Protocol. In POP3, the emails get downloaded from the mail server and stored locally on your system. As a result, you can access your mails even in offline mode. You need an internet connection only for sending and receiving emails. POP saves storage space on the server and combines multiple email accounts into one inbox.
POP, however, fails to offer a secure back-up system. Once you download emails from the server onto your computer, these copies are the only ones that are available. If you happen to delete the mails accidentally or your system crashes, you will lose them.
Besides, POP3 does not sync emails between devices by default. This might create difficulty in accessing emails from different devices. For example, if you send an email from your mobile, it may not be visible on your PC.
IMAP Email Server
IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. In IMAP, the emails are stored safely on the server. As a result, you can access the emails from any device without affecting the original email copies. So, you will see the same emails everywhere regardless of the device you access your emails from. And, changes you make on one device will be reflected across all devices.
On the downside, if lose connection to the internet, you will have difficulty accessing your emails. For those who regularly use more than one device to access their mails, IMAP is a better option as it syncs your actions across all devices.
Several free email providers host their servers as a web-based email. Web-based email allows users to log into their email servers by using a web browser. This kind of service allows you to send and receive emails on the go. You can access your emails as long as you have an internet connection.
SMTP Email Server
SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. SMTP servers typically work in association with other mail servers such as IMAP and POP3. SMTP handles the outgoing mail traffic.
What Features does an Email Server Hosting Service Typically Offer?
Different email hosting providers offer a different set of features. Some features are, however, common to most of the email hosting plans. These include:
1. Unlimited Email Addresses: Email hosting providers typically offer unlimited email addresses in their plan. This allows organizations to create and allot e-mail addresses to employees as and when required.
2. SPAM Protection: Email service providers offer spam protection through a spam filtering setup. In this setup, smart rules are used to prevent spam from reaching your inbox. The setup allows you to whitelist and blacklist email addresses, IP addresses and domains depending on your preference. Some email hosting providers offer spam reports for user review.
3. Malware Protection: All reliable e-mail hosting providers offer industry-standard encryption. As a result, all your incoming and outgoing emails remain encrypted when the email session is active and none of your messages gets compromised. In addition to this, email hosting providers offer anti-virus scanners that block suspicious emails warding off potential threats.
4. Auto-Responders: Auto-responder lets you send automated responses to the emails you receive. You can tailor your message depending on your needs. For example, if you are on a leave and do not want pesky office mails popping up now and then, you can use auto-responder to create a response that reads ‘Thank you for the e-mail. I shall be out of the office till [DATE] and will have limited access to e-mails.’
5. Webmail Software: In addition to an e-mail client, most of the email service providers also offer webmail software for managing e-mails. With webmail software, you can access mails from any location.
6. Email Forwarders: Email forwarders allow you to forward the emails received to any address. This feature ensures someone is there to receive and respond to your emails when you are out of the office.
Is it Recommended to Combine Email Server Hosting with Web Hosting?
Many web hosting providers offer e-mail hosting as a part of their package. And businesses are often tempted into buying such solutions. Experts, however, recommend keeping the email hosting separate from web hosting because of many reasons:
1. In a package that clubs web hosting and email hosting together, email is just an added feature. So, it is quite likely that your package lacks some key email hosting features.
2. If both your website and emails are hosted on the same set of servers, your incoming and outgoing mails will eat up the space meant for your website. This can hinder the smooth functioning of your website.
3. Because both your website and email rely on the same set of resources, if your website goes down, so will your email. This will result in a double whammy for your business.
How to Choose the Right Email Server Hosting for your Business?
Choosing an appropriate email server hosting for your business is a mind-boggling task given the plethora of solutions available these days. Every business should consider the following factors while selecting an email server hosting plan:
1) Security and Compliance
In light of the rising incidence of cybersecurity breaches, security should be of prime consideration while choosing an email hosting service. The email service provider should have sophisticated tools to keep off potential threats. Features such as anti-malware, spam protection and data encryption capabilities should be in place. The host should always have a well-documented disaster recovery plan besides a team of knowledgeable professionals to monitor the servers round-the-clock.
The host should maintain security certifications and comply with the regulations that apply to your area of operation. For instance, if you operate in the healthcare sector, you need to have a host that complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA.
It is vital that your host offers enterprise-level syncing with mobile devices and web-based applications. Your hosting service should allow you to collaborate using global address lists, tasks and shared calendars.
Your hosting solution should be flexible enough to cater to your specific needs. You should have the freedom to choose the features you need and weed out the ones you don’t. It is wise to select a host that offers a variety of features and service levels. This way you can begin with a basic hosting plan and upgrade to a premium plan later as your business grows, without changing your service provider.
4) Ease of Use
A reliable dedicated server hosting service should not only offer you a near-complete control of your server environment but also offer technical assistance whenever required. Your email service should offer an easy-to-use web-based interface that allows you to complete all email-related tasks on time.
Because we live in a perennially-online world, it is critical to remain available round-the-clock. Even a few minutes of downtime can cause you to lose considerable revenue. Choose an email service provider that offers at least 99.9% uptime.
The email service should allow you to access emails on your mobile irrespective of the operating system you use on your device.
Your mailbox may contain important mails that you don’t want to delete. The solution is a reliable storage system for archiving older emails. Choose a host that keeps all your data in one place and automatically archives the older mails.
How can your Business Benefit from an E-mail Server Hosting Solution?
A professional email hosting service benefits your business in several ways:
1) Secures your Data
As discussed above, professional email hosts equip their servers with industry-standard encryption. This ensures all the incoming, as well as outgoing data, remain encrypted during the transition and no unauthorized party accesses it.
2) Saves Money
If you decide to host emails on your own servers, you will need to buy expensive hardware and pay for floor rentals, IT staff, electricity and other overheads. In view of the expenditure involved in buying, running and maintaining your servers, it is far more cost-effective to choose an email
3) Appears Professional
Email hosting provides you with a custom domain name that looks professional and makes your business more credible. So, whenever, you run a marketing campaign and send marketing emails to your prospect, they receive e-mails with the same domain name every time. Then, many email services allow you to attach your logo as well.
4) Offers Adequate Storage
Professional email services offer adequate space to store and archive important emails and documents. You get the flexibility to increase or decrease the space as required.