You may know your business needs a custom email address that uses your own domain name (i.e., firstname.lastname@example.org), but you also don’t want to spend a lot on business email. We’ll show you how you can set up your professional custom email domain and save money in the process. On top of a free email domain, we’ll show you how you can also get free business email hosting through services and providers you’re likely already using, or soon will be.
Here’s how to get a free custom email domain and a business email address in five steps:
1. Choose a Domain Name & Sign Up for Hosting
Many businesses make the mistake of purchasing a domain before getting web hosting, not realizing that the top web hosting companies offer plans that include a free domain name. Don’t make that mistake, and instead choose a web hosting plan that comes with a free custom email domain and free email hosting. What’s more, by getting a domain through your web host, you’ll save time later as you won’t have to manually connect your domain to your website.
Search for Your Domain Name
Your domain name is a vital element of creating a professional business email address and maintaining your brand online. Ideally, your domain will be the same as your business name. However, you may find that your desired domain name is not available. To search for your domain name, navigate to the web host of your choice, or use the Bluehost domain search tool below to get low-cost, feature-rich web hosting that includes a free domain and business email.
If you’re having trouble finding an available domain name, check out our top 25 tips when choosing a domain name.
Register Your Domain
Once you have found your domain name, select it and begin the registration process. If you chose to get a free domain through Bluehost, you will be prompted to choose a web hosting plan and to select various add-ons. If you need five or less email addresses, then the Basic plan will be suitable, whereas if you need a large volume of email addresses, opt for the Plus plan because it comes with unlimited business email addresses.
Pro tip: Though many overlook domain name privacy, it’s worth having for many. What it does is it hides your contact information from appearing online publicly. This can help prevent a great deal of spam.
2. Create Your New Email Account
Once you’ve selected a domain and created your account, you’ll be redirected to the Bluehost user dashboard (otherwise known as the cPanel). From there, navigate to the left-hand menu and click the “Email & Office” option.
After clicking “Email & Office,” find your domain name in the list and click the “Manage” button that appears on the right-hand side of the screen. Then, click the “Create” button in the upper right-hand corner to create a new custom email address using your free domain name.
Enter an email name and password to create a new email account. Your email name is what appears before the @ symbol, such as email@example.com.
There are many tips for choosing the format of your email address name. However, the main rules are to adhere to a standard format for all emails within your company and to make sure that you have a generic email to field general customer questions.
For more insight, check out this article on how to choose a professional email address.
3. Access Your Email via Bluehost
To access your new email account, return to the “Emails & Office” tab and select “Manage.” Next, find your new email address listed there and click the “Check Mail” button to the right of the address.
If you’re just accessing your new email account for the first time, you will be prompted to choose which way you want to access your mailbox. Here you will have two main options. The first is to open your mailbox using Roundcube, a basic email inbox, and the second is to set up email access to your device, such as your iPhone or Android.
In the future, when you want to access your webmail inbox quickly from your desktop, head to Bluehost’s login page and click the “Webmail Login” instead of the “Hosting Login” option.
4. Connect Your Email to a Third-party Email Provider
To use your Bluehost email on a third-party email client or provider, you need to add your full account information—including your email username, password, and mail server details—to your client. Below, we walk you through how to do this with Gmail. We also include links to full instructions for other clients, such as Outlook and Apple Mail.
Connect Your Customer Email Address to Gmail
Log in to your Gmail account; if you don’t have one, create your Gmail account. From your inbox, click the gear in the upper right-hand corner (below your user picture), and then select “Settings.” Select the “Accounts” tab at the top, scroll down, and click the “Add a mail account” button.
This will open a pop-up window where you’ll enter your new Bluehost business email information, including your full custom email address, your Bluehost password, and your email server information. Your server will be in the format of mail.yourdomain.com, as illustrated in the screenshot below. For more information on the right server information for your email address, click here.
Once you have added all the necessary information, click “Add Account” at the bottom of the pop-up.
Now that your mail account has been added, you will want to ensure that you not only receive your new address emails in your Gmail inbox, but that you can also send emails from Gmail using your free custom email domain. To do so, select the first option from the next screen, “Yes, I want to be able to send mail as firstname.lastname@example.org,” and click “Next.”
After clicking “Next,” you will be brought to a screen that asks you to verify your Bluehost email address. Return to your Bluehost email inbox and look for the email from Gmail with your verification code. Copy that code, return to Gmail, and paste the code into the verification box to confirm you are the owner of that email address. Click “Verify.”
Now that you have connected your Bluehost email address to Gmail, try using your new custom email domain. Click on “Compose” in Gmail to open a new email. In the “From address” field, you will have the option to choose between your Gmail address and your new custom email address from Bluehost. Choose the one you want to use when sending your new message.
Connect Your Email to Other Email Clients
There are many great third-party email providers to which you can link your custom email domain. Get step-by-step instructions on how to do so by clicking on the links below. If you have email software that’s not on this list, contact the software provider for guidance.
Keep in mind that in most cases, you will have to manually update account information in your client if email servers, usernames, or passwords change in Bluehost. For more information about likely account changes, contact Bluehost.
5. Setup Email Forwarding (Optional)
Email forwarding lets you automatically direct your email to another email address. For example, many businesses choose to have a generic customer service inbox, which may look like email@example.com. Email forwarding allows you to push all incoming email to this generic address to individuals within your company. This ensures that employee names remain private while all customer service questions are addressed in a timely manner.
To set up email forwarding, go to the Bluehost dashboard and click “Advanced” from the left-hand menu. Next, scroll down to find the “Email” section, and from there find and click the “Forwarders” option.
On the following screen, click the “Add Forwarder” button. Input your desired name for your address to forward, such as “contact” or “support.” Then input the email address to forward these incoming emails to, and when finished, click the “Add Forwarder” button at the bottom.
For more information, get additional step-by-step instructions from Bluehost.
If you want emails to forward to multiple addresses, click “Submit” and create another forwarder. Alternatively, consider using an email tool, such as Front, to redistribute emails coming into shared inboxes.
To get more email tips and productivity tools, check out the best email apps for business.
5 Alternative Ways to Get Cheap Business Email
Bluehost isn’t the only way to get a free custom email domain. There are a number of alternatives, although many require you to purchase hosting to get the free domain. Keep this in mind—along with the features that come with your free email—as you consider your options.
Here are five alternative ways to get a free business email:
- Zoho Mail: Connect a domain you already own and get up to five free business email accounts through Zoho Mail. If you need more than five, you can purchase additional inboxes for $1 per month.
- 1&1 IONOS: Free domains are included in their ultra-low-cost email hosting plans, starting at just $1 per month.
- Wix: If you need a website and don’t have coding skills, premium Wix plans start at $11 per month and come with a free domain; you can manually set up email addresses on this domain, then connect them to a third-party email client like Outlook.
- Google Domains: You can purchase a domain through Google starting at $12 per year, and then connect it to Gmail for free.
- CloudEmail: Connect a domain you already own and use their free email hosting plan, which allows you to create a custom email using your domain.
Need more insight before choosing the one that’s right for you? Get all the information you need about the best email hosting services.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do I need to get a .com domain?
The .com domain extension remains the most popular choice among businesses. However, given its vast popularity, it’s often very difficult to find an available .com domain. Luckily, there are a number of top-level domain extensions available that are well-suited for business use, such as the .io that has quickly become the top choice for tech startups or the .org for social groups or causes. Learn more about the best domain extensions.
What is the best way to structure a professional email signature?
Email signatures should include the following basic elements: your first and last name, position title, company, your email address, phone number, and a link to your company website. For more insight and inspiration, check out these email signature examples.
Is Gmail good for business?
Gmail is a popular email service for businesses. You can connect your own domain name and use business email for $6 per user, per month, which comes packed with features and inclusions. From built-in security features that protect you and your inbox to productivity and collaboration tools such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Learn more about why businesses choose Gmail in our Gmail for business guide.
Which is better: G Suite or Office 365?
The answer to whether G Suite or Office 365 is better for you will likely boil down to your unique preferences. However, if you’re a business seeking the best value and the most user-friendly tools, then you’ll likely find G Suite to be the better option. To learn more, check out the complete breakdown of G Suite vs Office 365.