Part 3 of “My Own Email Address”.
It would seem foolish not to look for a free email solution first, but in fact there are not many. Most of the suggestions I found from the last few years are no longer free. That suggests I should be cautious in choosing any free offering, as it will likely become paid in the future.
Registering a domain name is rarely free, and then only with an unusual top-level domain, not a common one like *.uk or *.com. Not practical for me.
There’s little need for a free DNS service as it’s often provided with domain name registration. The only one I found that I would be happy to use is Namecheap’s FreeDNS.
There are a few free email redirection (forwarding) services — e.g. Mailgun (by Rackspace) and Namecheap’s Free Email Forwarding which is available if I use their (free or paid) DNS services. I could use this to redirect my mail into my Gmail mailbox.
Incoming mail redirection is little use to me without an SMTP service, because I want to send mail from my domain as well as receive it. Free Gmail accounts used to support sending through their SMTP server but, like most others, they no longer do. The only free SMTP services I know of, that would allow sending email from my own domain, are
- Mailgun (by Rackspace), which can be used with forwarding to Gmail as described here, and
- Zoho which provides a full mailbox service.
Zoho currently seems to be the only major provider of a free, high quality, own-domain email service. It seems to be similar to Google Apps. Of course the free account will have restrictions; I’m not sure how onerous these are.