E-mail is a fundamental part of any business today. Unfortunately, not all web hosting provides adequate email service. From SPAM to webmail, there leaves a lot to be desired depending on your provider.
MediaTemple’s DV server is a powerful option for any developer or business. But the webmail and SPAM prevention just aren’t up to my (or my clients’) expectations. The default Horde webmail is clunky, renders HTML poorly, and lacks many features that you might expect out of business email.
There are many different options these days for webmail and email hosting. But what about free?
So this weekend I set out to do a little experiment. I wanted to try out Google’s business email hosting service. This has the benefit of not only being free (for the standard version) and comes with the niceties you might already be used to with using Gmail for your personal account.
The premise is to move all aspects of your server’s mail services to Google which will include some changes to your domain’s MX record (and CNAME records). Keep in mind this could result in a short interuption of service. The limited amount of effort thus far has proven to be well worth it.
Since I use a MediaTemple DV server for most of my hosting, I sought out some guidance and found some great instructions here. Be sure to follow it completely as if you do not disable the mail service in Plesk it will not work.
Now as of today I have shiny new mail service, all backed by Google’s infrastructure. This is hosting-independent, has Google’s famously awesome webmail, and is still accessible on all my devices using the native mail clients via IMAP.
This really is a great option for anyone wanting business class email (and all of the other Google apps).
Update: I have been using this service now for a couple months. It has worked without a single hitch. I run all my email through IMAP which keeps all my devices in sync, and don’t get a drop of spam. I have to say that I highly recommend this to anyone, especially if you aren’t satisfied with your host’s webmail solution.