Until I began hosting my websites at WP Engine, web hosting and email hosting were a package deal. Back then, if I purchased a hosting plan with almost any other hosting provider, email was included. In fact, the lack of email hosting with WP Engine was a significant hurdle for a small business like mine. After all, why would I pay more for hosting and pay for email? Before 2015, that was a foreign concept to me, but I made the switch anyway, and I’m glad I did.
I now enjoy the best of both worlds — best-of-breed web hosting for my WordPress website through WP Engine; and best-of-breed email hosting for my business email through Google’s G Suite.
And yes, in case you’re wondering, you can host your website and email with two different providers — and use the same domain name for each.
Choosing an Email Provider
So, if you want the best hosting for your WordPress website, why not for email? For example, before I moved my websites to WP Engine and my email to G Suite, spam filtering by my hosting provider was horrible. For many years, I employed a variety of inconvenient hacks to manage spam. Once I switched to G Suite, I was hooked. All of the spam filtering is done on the server side, and it is the best I’ve seen. I no longer use 3rd-party spam filtering software that only runs on my Mac, nor worry about syncing spam-filtered email with my iOS devices.
Another thing to consider is downtime. I’ve also found G Suite business email hosting to be rock solid — I don’t ever recall having their service go down during the 3+ years I’ve been with them. Yes, email hosting is just as important as web hosting. If your email or website goes down, it’s never good for business.
Advertising? I hate ads. I don’t want anyone or anything scanning my emails to determine which ads to display. And to that point, I never see advertising in any apps within G Suite. In other words, there’s no such thing as “free” email either as far as I’m concerned.
As the name implies, Google’s G Suite, is more than just email. For about $5 per user, per month, each user receives 30GB of cloud storage (Google Drive); a suite of Microsoft-office like online apps (Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, etc.); shared calendars; and more. And then of course, there’s business email (email that uses your company domain).
As a Mac user however, I find that Pages, Numbers, and Keynote to create simple docs, spreadsheets, and presentations are more than adequate for my needs, and these apps work across all of my devices. Of course, I understand that Microsoft Office may be a better fit for some. My point is, the main reason I’m paying $5 per month is for business email. And more to the point, it’s primarily because of Google’s excellent spam filtering and reliability.
Of course, G Suite isn’t the only game in town. An alternative, particularly if you want a reasonably-priced suite of apps and business email like G Suite and Office 360, is Zoho Workplace — for around $3 per user, per month. Zoho has a very impressive suite of apps, but I’m not sure that’s enough to compel me to give up G Suite. Note: They offer free plans for up to 25 users too. But again, I’m not a fan of anything that’s “free”. For example, IMAP/POP support is only available with paid plans.
Microsoft offers what is arguably the best suite of apps via Office 360, but the price is considerably higher, depending on your needs. If you rely heavily on Microsoft apps and you want business email, plan to spend about $20 per month per user. However, if you just want business email, you’ll pay $4 to $8 per month (but without access to the Office apps).
There are many other business email providers, such as FastMail, Network Solutions, and Rackspace to name a few, that may be a better fit for you. However, the only one I can personally vouch for is G Suite. So, I’ll stick with that one for my recommendation.
Getting Started with G Suite
Before you begin the sign up process for a new account, you need to be sure that you are the owner of the domain you want to use. For example, “mycompany.com” must be registered by you. During the process, you will be asked to verify ownership.
1. Let’s get started
On the first screen, you should see something like “Let’s get started”. Enter your business name and the number of employees (aka users) you need email accounts for.
A word about email accounts… With G Suite, a single employee/user named John (for example) can have up to 30 email aliases. A few examples: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; and assuming you own other domains: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; and so on. All email sent to those email address will eventually end up in the inbox for email@example.com (the primary email address for that user).
2. What’s your contact info?
Since this is your first time signing up for a G Suite account, you will be assigned to the “admin” role. The admin can add additional users and change settings for each employee/user. The designated admin can be reassigned later.
3. Does your business have a domain?
As mentioned above, this is where you’ll need to verify ownership of your domain. Just click on “YES, I HAVE ONE I CAN USE”.
At this point, you’ll just follow the next set of screens… and you’re in!