This is a guest post by Jesse Petersen. Jesse has been using WordPress since 2005 and has seen it grow from something clunky and incredibly geeky into something that deserves the 15%-22% of all sites choose as their platform. It’s an incredible piece of software that has very few limitations when developed by an expert. Jesse is one of those experts.
As I started moving my clients to WP Engine last year, I had to come up with some way of keeping domain e-mail going for those who had it on my previous host. I tried two cloud solutions (atmailcloud and ZoHo) and found that setup to be more than what my clients wanted.
What to do for domain e-mail is a big challenge for consultants who are moving their clients over to any of the managed WordPress hosting providers. As part of WP Engine’s specialization in hosting only WordPress, WP Engine doesn’t have e-mail inboxes – only SMTP capabilities for notifications.
So what are you supposed to do with your email if you’re used to a hosting company providing that service? How can you optimize both your WordPress hosting provider, AND your email? The goal should be to make sure your email provider is as good as your WordPress provider.
Through the years, people have done a few things to get domain e-mail. Here are the three most popular:
- GoDaddy inboxes – For years, I’ve groaned that people were paying for e-mail. I’d never paid for e-mail and many people were complaining that mail was getting lost.
- Hosting inboxes – Most cPanel hosts provide unlimited inboxes at no additional cost, as do VPS and dedicated boxes. I used hosting inboxes for the past decade, at no cost, as did most of my clients, even if they were just forwarding addresses.
- Google Apps – What was once free is now only available for $50 / user annually. In addition to reliability and rich features, the other great thing about Google Apps is that the mail is completely separate from the hosting, so you’re free to move hosting without the additional steps or e-mail downtime associated with changing the domain nameservers. Switching hosts with this setup just means changing the IP address in the domain A record.
To see which I liked best, I decided to try out the e-mail products my domain registrar offered. I started moving my domains from GoDaddy to Hover in June 2012 and those sites didn’t go down when GoDaddy DNS went down for a few hours in the fall, so I started offering those transfers to my clients when their domains were set to renew. (I provided them with a 10% off coupon code HONEST to sweeten the deal.)
They also offer very nice bulk discounts to every inbox (not forwarding addresses) that make it more attractive to cost-conscious consumers, but even 1 Classic inbox is only $20, which is 1/3 the cost of Google Apps and a forwarding address is 1/12th the price of Google Apps at $5/yr.
Most of my clients aren’t too cheap to not use Google Apps, but there’s a lot less setup involved to add a new “Send As” account to Gmail than there is to setting up Google Apps. Time is money, too, so this is what I’m going with for myself and my clients who don’t already have a free or paid Google Apps account(s). I like to subject myself to the same services as my clients, so I’m also using it on 2 websites – one forwarding and one mailbox. I’ve got no issues or complaints whatsoever.
Have you made the switch to a service like Hover? How do you like it so far? What other solutions are you offering for your WPE-hosted sites’ domain e-mail?