Why you should separate your email from your web host

What I'm sharing here is common knowledge among developers, but many website owners aren't aware that you can separate your email accounts from your web hosting. It's fairly common to see businesses just use the email service that comes with your host provider. However, a little diligence and a basic understanding of DNS is all it takes to separate these distinct services, and here's why you should.

1. Your web host may not have the best email service

Several years ago the company I was with switched web hosts, including their email service. After going through a somewhat painful transition process, we discovered that email delivery was taking up to an hour during the busier part of the day. It turns out our host was prioritizing delivering web content over email, so if there was any kind of activity on the server the mail would sit in the queue waiting for things to die down a bit. The web service was great, but it caused a great disruption to our business and we had to do the whole process again two days later.

2. You're not beholden to your agency/developer

Quite often agencies or developers will include hosting in their service (including Sarasota Web Design). This makes sense because they may have specific server requirements and it makes it a lot easier to troubleshoot if you're familiar with the hosting environment. However, if you have to contact your agency to create, edit or remove email addresses, that can result in either getting charged for the service, they are unavailable when it is needed, or they may drag their heels in getting it done as it is a less than desirable task for most developers. Also, should you decide to change agencies, it might make things difficult if they control your email.

3. Changing web hosts can be a breeze without email

It is almost inevitable that at one time or another you're going to change web hosts, it's just a fact. If I have SSH access to the current and future web server, with a few commands I can transfer the files and database over in the time it takes to make toast. The longest part is waiting for the DNS to propogate. If you are migrating email, you are looking at hours or days instead of minutes.

So, for these reasons, I believe it makes sense to find separate solutions for these distinct services. If your organization has less than 10 members, I recommend Google Apps Free Edition. If you have more than 10 and want to keep costs low you can go with goDaddy. or do your own due diligence to find the right solution for your needs.

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