It’s time for you to look professional, and you want to set up a custom domain email address. Imagine the credibility that comes with writing and receiving an email with the structure firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opening your custom domain email address instead of using Gmail or Outlook is a small step, but it significantly affects how you are perceived.
Let’s get right to it.
Buy a domain
If you already own a domain, you can skip to the next section of this article.
Websites like GoDaddy will let you buy a domain for anywhere between $2 and $20,000 (or more!) for a single year. You probably want to buy a domain that reflects your name or the brand you’re trying to build.
The average I spend on a .com domain for a year is about $10. Make sure what you choose is around the same ballpark.
And please, don’t overthink this. Down the road, you could always buy a new domain. People will find your website because of its content, not the domain name you chose.
Select an Email Provider
The next step is to select a service that will manage your email address.
I use Google Workspace (formerly G-suite). It’s like using Gmail but under your own organization. The communication between that email address and people who use Gmail will be secure with s/mime encryption — a type of security that many email providers can’t offer.
There are a plethora of email service providers out there. You can see some of them here.
If Gmail or these other alternatives aren’t your jam, you may want to try Hey.com. I haven’t tried it, so I can’t recommend it, but I’ve seen it around, so you may want to check it out. The difference is that Hey.com is focused on security, privacy and is paid from the start.
Do Some DNS Magic
To send and receive emails under your domain name, you need to add MX records to your DNS configurations.
MX means Mail Exchange. In other words, it means that communication to and from this domain to your email provider can happen through these servers.
Google made it easy and have just one set of server records to use with any domain: Google MX Records.
For other services, you will need to read their documentation or tutorials, but the gist is the same: update your domain’s records with MX entries that your email provider gives you.
Test It Out
Did you finish configuring everything? Good! Now it’s time to try it out by sending an email to the new address from your regular email. If you’re not getting an error on your sending email account, that means that the email will reach your inbox. Otherwise, you can’t receive emails.
The same goes for sending emails from that new address to an existing email address of yours. Without MX records, your service won’t recognize your domain name.
In some cases, you may need to wait a bit before the MX servers start processing the traffic that arrives from your domain.
In this guide, we talked about what you need to do to connect a mail service to your domain and get a custom domain email address.
Since I’m a heavy Gmail user, Google Workspace seemed appropriate for me to use — but you don’t have to use it.
This section is also the place to say that Google Workspace costs money. You can start with as little as $6 a month if all you need is a custom email address.
Here’s the general process in case you’re going to use a different email provider:
- Buy a domain from GoDaddy or its alternatives.
- Sign up to your email provider with that domain name.
- Add MX records to your domain’s DNS.
- Test it out — and voila!
It really isn’t that complicated, and you only have to do the work once. I hope that helps, and let me know if you have any questions!
Thanks for reading!