Email is becoming more and more critical to businesses as they move online. Small businesses and organizations are starting to depend on their email even more as they grow and as the Internet becomes an increasingly mission critical part of their operation. Larger companies are starting to require more from their email –whether it be more features or increased reliability. With that in mind, these companies are looking for more than just standard email from their web hosts. To meet that demand, a whole new sub-industry has emerged.
Customers have a choice about going to a regular web host or going to an email host. Which one they go with depends on how important email is to them and how much time and money they want to spend.
Email hosting companies like Webmail.us, FuseMail, and others specialize in email hosting. They have custom applications for webmail, specialized backups, redundant servers, etc. The environments and servers they use are configured for email hosting and the companies fully support their offerings. They will help customers with Outlook or Thunderbird. They will help customers with their BlackBerry’s email service. Many web hosts can’t offer this level of specialized service.
For a fully functional web site and more powerful email hosting, customers generally have to purchase email hosting on top of their regular web hosting plan, which costs more than many customers would like to spend.
Regular Web Hosts
Most “traditional” web hosts offer fairly advanced email hosting as well. They usually support POP and IMAP, the two big email standards. They have one or more webmail applications installed and support it all to a basic level. Some web hosts have custom webmail applications that they use as well. They will help you troubleshoot the basics, but if your issue is too complicated or too involved, they may have to refer you elsewhere.
Mix Of The Two
Some larger web hosting companies like GoDaddy and 1&1 offer specialized email hosting services in addition to their regular hosting services. Like with any other email host, the accounts generally include specialized features for email, lots of storage, and are fully supported. As web hosts get larger and get their own development teams, they are investing a lot of resources into email hosting and features.
I generally recommend that people go with a specialized email host if email is really important to them. From my experience, that is the better move. Most web hosts simply aren’t prepared to host and perhaps more importantly, support your email at the same level a specialized email host can.
Something you can do to help differentiate your company and get more business is to advertise how you support email. Tell your existing and potential customers about your expertise with email and about how you can help them with their email. You can help them with Outlook and their BlackBerry. You’ll assist them with troubleshooting the webmail program. Customers are looking for that extra hand holding and specialization that is hard to find among most web hosts.
Succeeding in web hosting is all about setting yourself apart from the competition. If the customers are comfortable and know that their email is safe with your company, they are a lot more likely to pick you over the competition. And if they pick you over the competition, that means you are that more likely to become successful.