Let me just say this; email doesn't have to be one of those very complex things that tends to scare people. My own mother was very hesitant about using it until she found out that she could keep track of her kids grades online. Then the entire game changed for her. If you are starting out your own business at some point using Google Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo Mail simply will not cut the mustard. So when that glorious day finally arrives you are going to have to get a real mail provider. 

What you shouldn't do:
  • Do it in-house - Do not for any reason whatsoever buy a mail server that you bring into your office or home office. If you have a friend or an IT person that is telling you to do this you need to respectfully fire them or wear one of those necklaces of garlic to keep them away (yes I am calling them vampires). This is only asking for trouble and one day will bite you in the rear end. I am a picture guy so when I was doing my research I found a great visual that Rackspace uses to show you much it costs to do email yourself. To stay objective I have blacked out the Rackspace stuff but you can go to the link below it to check it out. The main reason I wanted to show it is because it shows you just how expensive it can be to do your own email and the price tag is very very big!

Here is what you should do:
  • DIY People - For those of you that are DIY (do it yourself) people you can find a provider that gives you email accounts and then lets you figure it out. It will appeal to the learner inside of you. For these I will provide some examples of what to do. 
  • Outsource altogether -  This maybe the wrong phrasing because you never fully outsource something as important as your email. Instead what you do is partner with an email provider that won't get annoyed with the fact that you know nothing about email. They do all the hard stuff like maintaining the servers, managing email licenses with people like Microsoft. All you do is interact with them and tell them what type of email your organization needs. This is the category that I fall into. 
Below are some of the companies that you can use to get your business hooked up with having email. Once again keep in mind that none of these companies are paying me to pimp their site. I am trying to be as objective as I can be so that you can make your own informed choice. Of course if you have had a bad experience with one of them please add comments to our post so other reader can be aware. 

GoDaddy and Network Solutions

Website: www.godaddy.com and www.networksolutions.com What they do: GoDaddy and Network Solutions are not only competitors but they are so similar that is it hard to tell the difference. Both of these organizations started out doing domain registration which they still do today. This is what they built their business on and this is what I consider them to be experts in, not email. I have used both of them to register domains and I found that Godaddy had a very complicated portal that was hard to use. Network Solutions to me is the company that used to have an ok reputation but I have never heard anything good about the customer service of GoDaddy. My wife recently setup her own website and had to call into Network Solutions for email help. They took one look at her account and because she wasn't doing email with them they told her that they couldn't help. Very bad service. With email something is always going to go wrong and you want to make sure someone is there to help you. eSamaritans this is where you come in. Post a comment if you have good or bad feedback on either one of these email providers. 

Website: www.intermedia.net  What they do: Intermedia is the first of what I would consider a real email provider. They are a specialist that isn't trying to do everything. They only do about three big things and email is one of them. They are on the higher end of the price scale but I would probably be willing to pay a little more if they are good. In the email world these guys are the underdogs which normally means they will take good care of you because they know that every customer matters. As always though I would love to get feedback on these guys. Tell us if they are any good or not eSamaritan world! 


Website: www.rackspace.com What they do: Rackspace is the world leader in outsourced hosting. This is what they built their brand on and what they do better than anyone else in the world. They are the market leader no doubt. They also do cloud computing and offer email. I would say that their email offering is strong and their famous "Fanatical Support" is even stronger. Probably the greatest reason to choose Rackspace is because you can literally pick up the phone at anytime and actually get someone on the phone who can help you. It's what has made them famous. My only beef with Rackspace is that their sales machine is a bit used car sales-ish. They lure you in with the site that says $2/month mail. After you call them however they tell you that there is a minimum of 10 mailboxes (so $20/month). Once they have readjusted your price expectations then they try to sell you on getting their Microsoft Exchange product which has more up-sales potential. At the end of the day this probably wouldn't stop me from using them because support is king in this game. It does however leave you feeling a bit dirty. Tell us your thoughts eSamaritans!


Website: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/online-software.aspx#fbid=Dd1s_EnTnYu
What they do: There is one reason and one reason alone to consider using Microsoft for your email. That reason is the simple fact that they created Microsoft Exchange. Most other email providers are buying Microsoft's software and repackaging it and selling it to us. What this means to you is that if you go to Microsoft you are going to get your problems fixed because they have the best knowledge on how to fix it. The only problem is that they are not famous and well known for customer service just like most technology companies. So you may get your problem fixed but it make take some blood and tears first. As always before you sign up you need to press them on what kind of support you get with their product. 

Below is a little price comparison that I did for the above vendors. Please keep in mind that no one is paying me to pimp their product I am trying to be as objective as I can (unless a company really sucks then i feel morally obligated to tell you). Second, every one of these companies had multiple email packages so I just picked the most basic package for each one so we could have a baseline.