Email communications are one of the standard methods businesses use today and regardless of whether you have an online or offline business, if you have a website you need a professional email address.
Fortunately, there are some great services that include Gsuite and Zoho Mail that allow you to easily setup a professional email account. Gsuite and Zoho are among the best in the industry that are reasonably priced and they're designed to help small and medium businesses with these matters.
This article is going to specifically focus on Zoho simply because it has a free option that allows as many as 25 users per account that can use the service for free. The account will be ad-free and allow up to 5 gigabytes a user. The account allows you to use one domain and that'll be all you need to get started.
Zoho Free Business Email Setup
To begin you will need to have a fully registered domain that you personally own.
- I use a domain registrar called Namesilo because it offers Whois privacy free for life as long as you continue with them. That hosting company has no hidden cost and everything is very straightforward. They don't overwhelm you with email solicitations and only email you when it's about something important. Many people feel Godaddy seems cheap and it is sometimes for the first year if you have a coupon but after that, it's more expensive and they’re infamous for their endless upsells.
- As a hosting service, I feel comfortable recommending Siteground because they offer free SSL integration and using their system is easy to implement.
When you're using WordPress and you want to have your domain and email address tied together it means configuring it within your hosting account and if you went with my recommendation it will be with Siteground. Some of you, however, may simply want a registered domain for the purpose of having a business email and in that case, you would want to configure it all inside the domain registrar dashboard.
Step by Step Walk Through
Begin by putting in the name of your domain and then your name and your mobile phone number. It'll need to be your real number as they will send a verification code. Your mobile number is also used should you forget your password as the company will help you reset it by messaging your mobile phone.
You will then need to put in the email address you want such as email@example.com. This address will be use as the administrator and it's where you'll be able to then add and delete other user accounts. You can't change the primary administrator account, so make sure the select the appropriate username.
They will send a verification code to your cell phone. Once you verify the code your account will be created. You can log in anytime from your mobile number.
Now you will walk through the setup process. To begin you'll need to verify that you actually own the domain name. To do this will require that you access the dashboard of your domain name service provider. The three options available for this include TXT method, Cname method, and HTML method.
Many of you will be using WordPress and for that reason, I will be using the HTML method as it will be the easiest in the case of WordPress. You need to log into the Cpanel of your Hosting account.
A) Log In To Cpanel
B) Go To File Manager
C) Choose - Document Root - Choose Domain
D) Click Go
Once you're inside the dashboard of the file manager, you can click on 'new folder' and name it zohoverify. Then create the new folder and upload the HTML file that you downloaded above. You would then be able to check it by going to http://www.mydomainname.com/zohoverify/verifyforzoho.html.
Once you completed those steps then go back to the dashboard of Soho and select, ‘verify by HTML’. Your name will then be verified.
You domain is now verified. Next step, you would then need to create a username for that domain. You should use the same username you chose in the registration process. Fill in the rest of the information and create the account.
From this point, you will need to add users and you can create groups. I will skip over these but this is where you'll be able to add those as necessary for your organization.
Now you need to configure your email for delivery. In order to start receiving email, you need to configure The Mail Exchange also known as MX records. The MX records in your DNS are special entries that designate the server of your domain. Zoho will give you the information you need for your MX records and then it's just a matter of you adding that to your hosting.
Go back to Cpanel and click on mail and then Advanced image editor and once you're inside the MX dashboard you will then choose the target domain. Look for the email routing section and choose ‘Remote Mail Exchanger more’ and click the change button.
You'll need to click on ‘add a new record’ for adding the MX records. There are two records you will need to add and they need to be added one by one. If there are any other records in the dashboard other than the MX records you'll have to delete them.
Now go to the ‘MX look up’ button inside your Zoho dashboard. You should see that the MX records are available and checked. From this point click the next button.
The SPF/DKIM, mobile access settings, and email migration will require further steps. Your email setting is almost finished. You'll be redirected to the dashboard inside of Zoho email or you can go directly to https://www.zoho.com/mail/
Inside your email dashboard, you'll see another notification that states you need to verify the SPF records and that you need to configure the DKIM entries so that you'll have better email deliverability. Otherwise many of your emails will simply go to the recipient's spam folder. Simply go to https://www.zoho.com/mail/control-panel.html to configure those settings.
SPF which stands for 'Sender Policy Framework' is associated with your domain and helps identify the servers that are permitted to send emails from that domain. To set these records you simply go to Cpanel, then Domains, and then Advanced DNS Zone Editor.
From there you select your domain and the ‘Add a Record’ and put in the information that was provided by Zoho.
After finishing all that you'll need to return to the Zoho control panel dashboard and click the verify button. Don't be surprised if it doesn't immediately show up as it will typically take 24-48 hours before it goes into effect. This means waiting and coming back to verify it.
Now you need to configure the settings for ‘DomainKeys Identified Mail’ also known as DKIM. This helps the encryption and to validate if an email is actually generated from an authorized system by the domain's administrator.
The following instructions are specifically for Siteground configuration which will be similar to other hosting companies but may be a bit different in some steps.
Click to enable the features for SPF and DKIM.
Scroll down until you see ‘Include List (INCLUDE)’ and add ‘zoho.com’ to the list.
Then click on the update button to save those changes.
Then return to Zoho dashboard and go to 'authenticate' and click on the pencil to edit.
Click ‘+ Add Selector’
On ‘Selector Name’ form, enter ‘zoho’ before ._domainkey.yourdomain.com
Click ‘save’ button
You will then get a DKIM value that is uniquely generated for you.
Now go again to Cpanel, then Domains, then Advanced DNS Zone Editor and select your domain. You will then put in the DKIM value you copied when completing the previous step. Then click on the ‘Add Record’ button.
You will then need to return to the Zoho control panel and go to the email authentication for DKIM and click to verify. You'll then see a green button showing that it is verified.
You are now ready to begin using your business email and you can start sending and receiving those using Zoho. You will still need to remember that because it takes 24 to 48 hours you'll need to go back and complete the process of verifying SPF.
Usage And Security Tips
To further increase your email security you can use a two-factor authentication feature inside of Zoho and it will help to lower the chance of phishing attempts, online identity theft, and other security risks. You can use an app for your mobile phone through Google Play or the App Store. It makes it very convenient when checking your email away from the office or home.