Indie Toolbox: How To Custom Email Address

Do you need a custom email address?

Again, if you are asking this question only now, you probably do not need one… Funny? Why does this guy write on stuff that I do not need at the moment. The reason is simple, I hope you do, at some point. And when you do need to make a decision - you will have the knowledge.

Why do people use anything except gmail?

If you want to have a custom email, most likely, you want to make a good impression on customers. These might not be your direct customers, it can be a lead, future employer, HR, anyone who wants to get a better understanding of you as a personality, of you as a professional or a brand. For most people it does not matter however, let’s be honest, who gets more credit from you: tarasservice86@gmail.com or taras@thebestservice.com? See, its simple, if you want to look professional you need to invest in brand, no matter what kind of brand it is.

So what are the options available for small business or indie makers?

I am focusing on small business, indie makers or solo engineers because that’s the area I am most familiar with. We can go and look at services for 50+ people, the truth is, most of the decision here depends on:

  • your social network (if I have a discount in outlook, google will not be my choice, sounds logical?)
  • your pocket
  • your willingness to save time

Ok, back to the business, the most popular alternatives I’ve seen are: G-Suite, FastMail, Zoho or even a ProtonMail. I have one more option which I got being a part of IndieHackers and it will be covered later.

G-Suite

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Show me a man who is not familiar with gmail, anyone here? Setting up a custom domain using g-suite is a walk in the park, for everyone, literally. I’ve never seen easiest configuration, Google beats everyone here. It has the only cons - price. I know, I know, 5 bucks is a price of morning coffee, but let’s go further. If I have 5 buddies and we want to try a custom email - the price goes to 25$. Over all services, it seems that Google gives the best value for asked money.

Type Price per month (updated from April 2019) Annual (updated from April 2019)
Personal 5$ (6$) 4.17$ (5$)
Business 10$ (12$) 10$ (12$)
Enterprise 25$ (same)

My guess, either Google is tired of accounting 4.17 dollars per month from every small business or you get more services. I think both options are true and prices are fair. You know what? Except all of said before, we are on the free market, right? So we can check alternatives, why not?

Zoho mail

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The best thing about Zoho and your domain - it’s completely free! No, really, you pay nothing and get custom email set up. There are only two cons:

  • it is not Google, almost everyone got used to gmail and it is hard to change. Do not believe me? Ask your parents and get back to me.
  • they do not support pop3 and imap in free version, which is a deal breaker if you use any desktop or mobile apps.

Zoho has a nice article on email hosting with zoho and it is more or less easy to setup custom domain here.

FastMail

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I know, I know, fast mail does not look so brand-new and there are less bells and whistles. You will notice FastMail at any Reddit or HackerNews topic where people are wondering on what email provider to chose.

For some reason very few people aware of the service which seems strange for me, quality of the service is good enough, however, their customer support - meh. Let me tell you a story. I was one of the guys decided to give them a try. Everybody seems to be fond of FastMail, reviews were good.

Here is pricing:

Type Price per month Annual
Basic (2Gb storage) 3$ 30$
Standard (25Gb storage) 5$ 50$
Profesional (100Gb storage) 9$ 90$

Sounds too good to be true, right? Agree, so I decided to go for it after 2 weeks of using trial version. Everything was good, except for one thing. I just could not pay for the service. For some reason, payment system refused to accept my MasterCard. I tried Visa too - no difference. The same cards I use to make orders on Amazon, make all online payments, to purchase things abroad, literally everywhere, but not here. My bank told me everything should be fine, FastMail was telling that the issue is in my bank. Here is a deal, as a customer I never ever want to talk to my bank and never care how payment system works. I could pay using Stripe or PayPal or any other strange payment system - was not an option.

So I did an experiment, I tried to purchase G-Suite and guess what - it worked. If Google can charge me 5$, what’s the problem with FastMail? A story had a nice beginning and a new born gmail customer.

ProtonMail

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I hope to see ProtonMail as a default mail in future. It does not mean future agrees with me of course, neither way, ProtonMail does a very good job at securing your data. The idea of the service is to provide end-to-end encryption to your email, which is awesome in my opinion.

Here is pricing:

Type Price per month Annual
Free Free Free (500 mb)
Plus 5$ 48$ (5Gb)
Profesional 8$ 75$ (5Gb per user)
Visionary 30$ 288$ (20Gb per user)

The last time I used ProtonMail they did not have an app and also they do not support pop3 and imap. The reason for that - those protocols are not secure enough. A fair deal for me. I was not ready to give up on my mobile/desktop apps integration, so I switched away. However, overall - the service is great.

Easter egg

I know it is not Easter right now :D This is not a promotion post, but the service I am using from 2019 is extremely good at solving my problem - a custom domain for a few if not one person(s). There is an advantage to be among IndieHackers - you see the products being born, new startups, services, attitudes and the best part - solution to engineers problems.

So far, my default choice is (ImprovMX)[https://improvmx.com/]

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The idea is simple, you register their nameservice and get an easy going email forwarding tool. How cool is that? The truth about having tons of emails if that - I do not want to have them, even 2 emails is too much, now I have around 7 of them.

Do I need another one to manage? Definitely no, Now all the emails from my domain are redirected to my email of choice. Do not believe me? Try to text me at hello@tarasmatsyk.com

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