Email, as the most important online service people nowadays use, is essentially an online passport used to login to most apps in use. Along with this is email hosting service, which caters mostly to demanding email users and small to mid-sized businesses. While for larger enterprise-grade users, they tend to run their own email hosting service on their own mail servers by making use of software as Postfix or Microsoft Exchange.
This article is going to bring with the basic knowledge of email, explain how email hosting works, as well as introduce some useful ways to help make an informed choice when selecting a reliable email hosting solution, themes touched on which include server reliability, vendor reputation, and common anti-spam setups particularly in shared hosting environments.
Basic Email Knowledge You Should Know
During the selection with an email hosting provider, you will be asked to make a few important decisions, for instance, choosing a certain email client to use, and deciding an email protocol to go with.
Email Clients Explained
An email client is designed for helping you easily manage your email. You are enabled to send and receive mail among other things just in the help of email clients. Fortunately, there are many different email clients out there on the market for you to freely choose from, either paid or free.
- Web Clients: If you really research an email hosting solution, you may find that most providers offer three different mail clients included in their plans, all free of charge. Thanks to the web based nature, web clients make it possible for you to check your email from any computer and no matter where you are, as long as there is an internet connection. Some popular mail clients like SquirrelMail, MailPie, and RoundCube are available to help you achieve more customization feature.
- Desktop Clients: Besides web clients, having a specialized desktop email client can be also helpful for handling your email to make it stay organized therefore allowing you to free up time for online business. You can access your email account from your desktop using a desktop client like eM Client, Microsoft Outlook, and Mozilla Thunderbird.
Email Protocols Explained
Basically, a protocol is about a standard method used at each end of a communication channel, in order to properly transmit information. In email hosting area, the mail client and mail server can exchange information with each other using a variety of protocols.
- POP3: Standing for Post Office Protocol 3, POP3 provides a simple, standardized way for you to access mailboxes and download all messages to your computer. Once the emails are downloaded from the mail server to your local computer, they will be completely removed from the server. So, if needed, you can choose to leave a copy of the messages on the mail server as well. One major advantage of using POP3 protocol is the faster speed to open an email with large attachments up if they are on your computer. Also, this protocol makes it possible for you to read your emails at any time even when there is no internet connection at all once they are downloaded.
- IMAP: Referring to Internet Message Access Protocol, IMAP will store your email messages on a mail server, while enabling you to view and make a copy of them as if they were stored on your local computer. As a result of that, using the protocol of IMAP, you can check your email from more than one clients and webmail at any time as you like without worrying that they will be removed automatically. In other words, one same email account and all the emails associated can be checked by multiple users in different locations using different devices. One thing you should notice when using IMAP is periodically deleting or archiving you emails to avoid your email reaching the quota or becoming unmanageable, since the email does remain on the server.
- SMTP: Short for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, SMTP is an application-layer protocol enabling the transmission and delivery of email over the internet. By taking advantage of a process called “store and forward”, SMTP allows you to move your email messages on and across network. Composed of four key components including MUA, MSA, MTA, and MDA, SMTP is able to provide intermediary network services between you and the organizational mail server or remote email hosting provider.
How Does Email Hosting Work?
In order to send or receive an email, having a mail server in advance is essential for you. The mail server is responsible for helping receive, distribute, or relay email messages. Every mail server on the internet will be allocated a unique location. Assuming that you are sending an email to your friend Tom, before he received, the DNS servers around the world will first inform the email hosting service and the mail servers what particular email domain your friend uses so that the email can precisely reach him.
Microsoft vs. Apple vs. Linux Mail Server
Generally speaking, a mail server is a computer within your network working as your virtual post office. All the email messages will be stored locally in the storage area of your mail server. But as to operating system you are using on your computer, it doesn’t matter much when doing the email tasks. Either one of the three operating systems will do the job well. However, if you are using a Microsoft Exchange server, we would like to suggest you install a Windows OS for a smoother integration.
Choosing a Reliable Email Hosting Provider
Once you have learned a bit more about email and email hosting from the above tutorials, you will know how to find a reliable email hosting solution suited your needs. After reviewing hundreds of hosting providers offering email hosting services around company reputation, hardware infrastructure, datacenter location and redundancy, customer feedback, as well as software used, we strongly recommend you to go with SiteGround, eHost, and A2Hosting, all of which are rich featured and affordable, plus in high performance.