Having an email address with your own website domain is an important step to improve your online credibility. People are more trusting when they receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org versus email@example.com.
Before we get started, it’s important to understand that there’s no way to get a completely free domain name. However, if you have a website or want one, most web hosting providers include a domain name and email as part of their plan. Bluehost’s plan includes a free domain name and free email domain with their $2.95 per month web hosting package. Not free, but pretty close to it!
In this guide, we will show you:
- How to setup your free email domain if you already have, or want a website. We will walk through the steps of setting up your email account through Bluehost for just $2.95 per month. Plus, we will cover how to connect this email to your existing inbox, so you don’t have to log into another email service. Once you’re all set up you can use this guide to setup your website at no additional cost.
- How to setup your free email domain if you don’t want a website. If you’re not interested in having a website, then you won’t need a web hosting provider. However, you can still get a free email domain by registering a domain name and linking it with Zoho.
How to Setup Free Email Domain if You Have or Need a Website
If you already have a website, you should check with your web hosting provider because they may offer a free email account with your plan. Most popular providers including Bluehost, HostGator and Godaddy, have free email included in their hosting packages.
If you don’t have a website but want one, then you can get a free email domain when you signup with Bluehost.
Bluehost is an all-in-one domain, hosting and email provider. This means you get all the ingredients you need to set up a professional business email AND website, for just $2.95 per month.
Bluehost also includes a one-click install of WordPress, the most popular content management system. After we show you how to setup your email address, we’ll point you to this guide where you can learn how to setup your WordPress website at no additional cost.
How to Setup Your Free Email Domain with Bluehost
As we discussed above you get a free domain name and email account when you signup with Bluehost. The process for setting up your email domain is easy, and you can follow our 4 step process to get started.
If you already have a website, then you can still use our guide to setup your email account, since most web hosting companies follow a similar process. Just skip down to step 3.
Step 1: Register your domain name
Not only will your domain name be included after the @ sign in your email, it will also be the URL of your website. Therefore, it’s important that you choose your domain name wisely. Check in the box below to see if your desired domain name is available.
If the domain name is available, then you will be taken straight to the registration page. If it is already taken, then you will see a message that the domain is not available for registration.
If you need help coming with a good domain name that is also available, view our tips on choosing domain names.
Step 2: Create your account
Head over to Bluehost and select a plan. Their basic option that includes free domain name, web hosting and email for $2.95 per month should have enough website and email storage for the average small business owner.
Enter your domain name, hit next, and then enter your information. After you’ve entered your information, you can hit submit.
Step 3: Create your email addresses
Once you’ve created your account, you’ll land on Bluehost’s dashboard. Scroll down to find the email menu, then select “Email Manager.”
On the following menu, select “Create New Email Address.” Then enter your new email name and password.
If you aren’t sure what to set as your email username, be sure to check out The 3 Rules to Choosing a Professional Email Address. It explains some of the science behind using your full name vs. first name only, first initial & last name, or a different method altogether.
Once everything looks good, click “save.” Repeat this step for each employee you want to provide an email address.
Each time you save an email address, Bluehost will also give you 3 inbox options (known as “clients”): Horde, Roundcube and Squirrelmail. We recommend using your existing Gmail or Outlook client, which we’ll show you how to set up further below. If you prefer to use one of Bluehost’s clients, however, Roundcube is the best option for a standard user-friendly email inbox.
Step 4: Set up email forwarding (optional)
If you want all of the emails that are sent to your new email address to be forwarded to a different email account (such as your personal account), then you can easily set this up.
Head back to the email manager, click on the forwarding tab, and hit add email forwarder. You’ll be able to enter the address you want your emails forwarded to.
Connect Bluehost Email with Gmail
The Bluehost email account is a little clunky, so we recommend connecting your Bluehost email with a Gmail account. If you are already have a Gmail account, you’ll have the added bonus of having all of your email accounts in the same place.
If you already have a Gmail account, simply login. If you need to create one, you can do so for free here.
When you reach your inbox, click the gear in the upper right-hand corner (below your user picture) then select “settings.”
Select the “Accounts and Import” tab at the top, then scroll down to “Add a mail account.”
This will open a pop up window where you’ll enter your new Bluehost business email. In order to connect it to Gmail, you will need to enter your Bluehost password.
In addition to receiving mail, you can select to SEND mail from Gmail using your new business email address. When you send a message, you can which address you want to display on the “From” field.
On the following screen, Bluehost will ask if you want to set this up:
The process only takes a minute. First, you’ll enter the name you want to appear on outgoing messages. On the next screen, you’ll enter your email address and password once again (like before, be sure to enter your full email address, username + domain.) Lastly, you’ll confirm your new email address by copy/pasting a code.
Head back into your Bluehost account. Select “Email Manager” and click “View Inbox.” You should see an email from Google with your verification code. Copy/paste this code and enter it back into Gmail.
Once you’ve combined your accounts, you’ll be able to navigate between your professional and personal email addresses. Just choose which “From “address you want to use while composing your email.
That’s it! Wait a little while, then send a message to your new email address. You should see it appear in your Gmail account, and have the ability to respond using your new address.
Connect Bluehost Email with Outlook
If you currently have an Outlook account, then you will probably want to use that system to manage your emails.
To connect your new Bluehost business email with an Outlook account, you can follow one of the guides below. The steps will vary slightly depending on which edition of Outlook you’re using, so choose the one that corresponds to your current account.
How to Setup Free Email Domain if You Already Have / Don’t Want a Website
If you don’t need to purchase web hosting because you don’t want a website, then your best bet is to register a domain name and link it with Zoho.
Zoho’s free plan includes up to 25 users and 5GB of data, which should be plenty for the average small business owner. Plus, we’ll show you how to setup email forwarding, so you won’t have to switch back and forth between emails.
How To Setup Your Free Email Domain With Zoho
The process for linking your free email domain name with Zoho is pretty straightforward.
In this example, we will show you how to link your Zoho email with a domain name purchased through Bluehost. However, the steps will be similar with most domain registrars.
Step 1: Purchase domain name
Enter your desired domain name in the box below. If the domain name is available, then you will be taken straight to the registration page. If it is already taken, then you will see a message that the domain is not available for registration.
Domain names typically cost $11.99 per year, so costs are fairly minimal. You may want to consider adding the domain privacy protection for an additional $0.99 per month. This ensures that your information remains private, so you won’t receive unwanted solicitations.
Step 2: Create your account
Head over to Zoho and choose their free plan. On the next page you will need to enter your domain and information, and hit “sign up.”
Step 3: Head back to Bluehost to verify your domain
You will need to verify that you own the domain you listed. In this example, we’ll go through the instructions of verifying with Bluehost, but if you purchased your domain from another provider, the steps will be similar.
Before going to Bluehost, you’ll want to take note of your CNAME and destination values.
Log into your Bluehost account and click on “domains” and then “zone editor.”
Enter your CNAME and destination that you got from Zoho into the corresponding spaces.
Go back to Zoho and hit “Proceed to CNAME verification.”
You now have the opportunity to add up to 25 users. View our 3 rules to choosing a professional email address if you need help deciding what your employee’s emails should be.
Step 4: Configure email delivery
In order for you to start receiving emails, there is one final step. Head back to Bluehost’s domain manager and click the checkbox next to your domain. On the right, you’ll see a spot where you can manage DNS records.
Enter the information below in each of the boxes, and then hit add record.
Add another record, and this time put points to as mx2.zoho.com and priority as 20.
With that, you’re complete! It generally takes around 30 minutes for these changes to take affect, at which point you can head back over to Zoho and start sending and receiving email from your new business email address.
Bonus: How to Forward Zoho Emails to Another Account
If you’re setting up a new email address for work, you may wish to forward messages to your current email address. This way you don’t have juggle multiple inboxes.
Setting up mail forwarding in Zoho Mail is incredibly simple. Simply click the gear icon in the upper-right corner, then select “Email forwarding and POP / IMAP” in the lower left column.
In the next step, you’ll enter the email address you want to forward messages to at the top. Zoho will send a confirmation code to that email. Simply click “verify” and enter the code.
Now you’ll receive messages sent to your new business address in your main email inbox!
Now that you have created your free email domain, it’s time to create your website. View our article on setting up a WordPress website to get started.