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Mission Critical E-mail Tips

The Importance of Proper Business email Installation

E-mail is an important part of any online endeavor. The high availability of e-mail creates the false notion that e-mail service is fail-proof. Most businesses and individuals running an online enterprise would probably describe e-mail as a mission-critical element of their web presence. Yet, more often than not, everyone from the online proprietor or entity to the web service or hosting provider is neglecting to properly consider a suitable deployment of e-mail services that reflect the importance of the service to mission of the business or clients it serves.

Types of email (The E-mail Primer)

E-mail falls into three basic categories. First are large-scale providers of e-mail that are free or low-cost to the public. Examples are Google’s GMail, MSN’s Live and Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. These providers have robust networks of online mail servers that process millions of e-mails per day for millions of people worldwide. The second basic type of e-mail provider is your average web hosting or web services provider. In many cases they will serve (host) your website and e-mail on the same physical server and charge the client one price for both services. The third basic type of e-mail service providers are higher-end, dedicated e-mail providers where entire servers are dedicated only to processing incoming and outgoing mail.

Not Just Any Address

It is important to have e-mail addresses attached to your actual domain name. If your website is registered as MyWidgetStore.com, you don’t want your contact e-mail address to be bob@aol.com. Making sure that your e-mail addresses are intuitive and associated with your domain boosts consumer confidence and adds an element of validity to your online endeavor.

So What’s The Difference and Why Should I Care

Each basic type of e-mail service comes with its own pros and cons. First, large scale providers like Google and MSN provide free e-mail service and have nearly flawless reliability. However, they don’t guarantee their services. If these companies experience a data loss, your data that is not backed up by you will be lost forever. Additionally, large-scale providers of free e-mail service generally have limits on the amount of storage available for your e-mail.

Web hosting companies or web service providers often serve web sites and e-mail on the same server. The benefits are somewhat lower costs and a consolidated platform from which to manage both services. The drawback is that these setups usually involve serving e-mail and web content for many clients on the same physical server. This introduces the possibility that another client on the server could cause a server outage or abuse e-mail privileges to the point that the IP address is blacklisted. If the server goes down, your website and e-mail will not work at all. If the IP address of your server is blacklisted, some of your e-mails to clients may be delivered to junk mail, flagged as potential spam, bounced back to your server, or silently deleted without warning. Additionally, you will need to ask specific questions about the frequency (if any) of backups for your e-mail in the event of a data loss or outage. As with large-scale free providers, most shared hosting setups will have tight restrictions on bandwidth (volume of messages), storage, and frequency of sending messages. If your company will need to send a lot of e-mail and you are considering a shared hosting setup, you should check with your provider and make sure that you will not encroach on any server restrictions.

Dedicated E-mail Providers

Dedicated e-mail providers offer the highest level of service and reliability. Usually, servers are dedicated to serving only e-mail and great care is taken to protect the reputation of the IP address of the mail server. A rich benefit is that your website and e-mail will be hosted on separate servers. If one goes down or is compromised, the other will remain operative. This is more or less equivalent to diversifying your online assets. The drawback is that most dedicated e-mail service providers charge fees for their service.

So What Should I Do?

The first step is to identify the level of importance that e-mail plays in your online products or services. If e-mail is a convenience and only available to a few users, a shared hosting setup might be sufficient. On the other hand, if your e-mail is mission-critical, it would be wise to investigate the possibility of using a third party provider to handle your e-mail.

Choosing a Third Party Provider

Fortunately, most situations will allow for a cost-effective third party solution for e-mail. Only the largest and most critical e-mail services will need a full-blown dedicated e-mail service provider. Google offers affordable business-class e-mail hosting that comes bundled with their suite of online applications. Google will host your domain’s e-mail meaning bob@aol.com can have bob@MyWidgetStore.com served by Google mail servers. There are other low-cost e-mail providers who have a product offer similar to that of Google’s. Choosing a provider boils down to doing some basic homework and comparing features of each provider.

Business email Considerations Summary

The high availability of e-mail tends to distract businesses from considering the far-reaching consequences of choosing an e-mail provider. Each business needs to evaluate the importance of e-mail to their product or service offering and discuss with their web service provider what options are most suitable and optimal. Free services generally don’t guarantee availability. Shared services put all of your assets in one place. Dedicated services offer the highest reliability with a higher pricetag.

Bunting Group, LLC is a web services provider and interactive marketing agency based in Lancaster, PA. We are committed to providing the best possible service to our clients by informing them of all of the options available to them and walking them through the process of establishing or revamping their online offerings. Contact us today for a consultation regarding any of the resources on our site or for an estimate for an upcoming project.