Email hosting for small business companies
Recently, I responded to a question about email hosting for a SME (small-to-medium enterprise) – which comes up again and again in my experience. Here are 3 recommendations I have given in the past to some of my friends & clients:
>> GOOGLE APPS FOR YOUR DOMAIN< <
While most people love Gmail for personal webmail, they don’t know that Google is venturing into the B2B side with the service (a paid premium version is coming soon). You can have Google manage email for your domain powered by the Gmail platform. You’d get a co-branded sign-in page for your employees (email account holders) and the entire web interface is Gmail powered, with the standard 2+ Gigs space/account, 10MB attachment feature, etc, ability to send “FROM” other email accounts, forwarding options, etc. You can set-up alias, group lists, etc. It’s all the same Gmail, but your email would be email@example.com, not firstname.lastname@example.org. Plus, they don’t attach any annoying signature with an ad like Y!Mail — so your email stays professional-looking as it should. In addition, you get free POP/SMTP services so you can use an email client like Outlook or Eudora, etc from your PC if you wish. I’ve been using it for one the organizations I’m involved with, and happy with the service.
Along with the email service, Google also gives you group calendars (has neat things like SMS text message reminder alerts, calendar sharing), GTalk IM service, etc which you may or may not take advantage of.
In any event, you may want to sign-up for this regardless of what you end up doing because the TOS (terms of service) indicates that beta customers will get it free beyond the beta even if they charge for it later. So it may be a good back-up to have just in case.
https://www.google.com/a/ — BTW, they have webinars that show case studies and the products in action, so check them out.
>> 1&1 INETERNET < <
The largest registrar on the planet (so they are not going away soon, and it’s tested solution), they are offering some really aggressing plans in the USA (they are dominant elsewhere, but have but recently entered the US landscape in the last 3 years). They offer both plain old hosted email for a buck a month (!) for 5 accounts (1 Gig space each) or Exchange server based email for $7/month/user (cheap!) – plus they give fully legal copies of Outlook 2007. I do a fair amount of referral business for them – enough that I’ve been featured in their reseller ads before. I personally use 1&1. Their web-based interface is not the best/most intuitive/robust, but if you’re looking for pop/smtp services, it’s a solid product and an unbeatable price. Their hosting solution is VERY recommended too. It’s hard to find the balance of price-to-level of service & value as you do with 1&1 for most of their products. FYI, they have a 90-day money back guarantee. Here’s my link to 1and1 discounted services: http://1and1.official-promo.com
>> PAIR NETWORKS < <
A second solid hosting company that I use for some of my sites ever since a tech guru that I respect recommended them to me is – Pair Networks. A smaller hosting company that’s dedicated to top-level support and services but note that they are profitable and have no long-term debt, so they aren’t going away anytime soon. They are pretty flexible and again, the service/support has been top notch to date. Their FAQ’s are actually useful and if not, they respond quickly to trouble tickets opened. They don’t offer stand-alone email services that I know of, but you can easily pick the best hosting package for your needs that includes email. Additional boxes only cost a buck each. Reasonable pricing without sacrificing quality. http://pair.com/services/compare.html