The hardest part for most people switching email addresses from @gmail.com, @me.com, and @yahoo.com to something custom isn’t that the address is different, it’s the effort that needs to be put in to feel comfortable. And I get it. After a decade of logging into the same email system every day, your email platform probably seems like a warm blanket. Possibly a tattered blanket that makes you seem less than professional, but warm nonetheless.
Gmail users can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Google Apps is a great, familiar option for custom email. It’s not free, and you get some other bells and whistles you may or may not use, but Google Apps give you the ability to use a custom email address with the gmail interface you know and love.
Google Apps isn’t the only option though (and not necessarily the best, depending on your needs). FastMail has been in the email hosting business for a long time and has all the features you’d want in an email platform. ProtonMail is much newer to the game, but touts itself as the most secure platform around (all the data is protected by “strict Swiss privacy laws” and end-to-end encryption… think of it as a Swiss bank vault for your email). You could also go with Rackspace, by the company known for web hosting, or Zoho Mail, because Zoho Mail is free.
Free? Yeah, if you want free custom email (aside from the cost of the domain), Zoho Mail is your solution. The free tier does come with limited space, but if you’re just sending standard emails (as opposed to moving around or saving humongous files), it’s hard to beat.
Before you make a move to custom email, I can’t urge you enough to look at all your hosting options. Look at their pricing tiers, look at the features they offer, and maybe even read some reviews online of experiences people have had. Don’t let yourself become paralyzed by analysis, but don’t just choose one randomly, decide you don’t like it, then move back to your @yahoo.com account. Your business and personal brand deserve a professional looking custom email address.
There’s more coming tomorrow, but if you want to jump ahead, be sure to read The guide to getting your own custom email address.