This article is part of a larger series on Business Email.
Using a professional email address on your domain sets you and your business apart from competitors. The process of how to create a professional email might seem technical, but it’s quite simple. First, pick an email service provider and get a business domain name. Next, decide on the format you want to use for your company’s email addresses, and then create one or more to use for business purposes.
Need more insight?
Before setting up a professional email address, learn everything you need to know in our business email guide.
1. Choose a Provider
To create a professional email address, you’ll need an email service provider. There are several services available, but your best choice depends on your budget and business needs. For example, consider if you want to access business emails mainly from desktop computers or if you will also need mobile and web-based access, and which email client you plan to use (e.g., Gmail or Outlook).
To help you determine the best way to set up a business email, we narrowed it down to top options based on features small businesses need as well as the best value for the money:
- Google Workspace: Suited for businesses that need productivity tools or want to use Gmail for business email
- Zoho Mail: Great option for businesses wanting free email addresses with their existing domain
- Microsoft 365: Best for those wanting Outlook business email with advanced tools, and those using Office 365
- IONOS: Top choice for businesses looking for cheap email hosting with a free domain starting at $1 a month
- Bluehost: Great for businesses wanting an email, hosting, and a WordPress website builder at $2.95 per month
To find the best email hosting option for your small business, click on the drop-down to learn more about each of the providers.
Google Workspace for Gmail Business Email
|You can register a domain in the checkout process, so it’s automatically connected to your email||Plans don’t include a free domain, unlike Bluehost and IONOS|
|Plans start at $6 per month and include business productivity and collaboration tools (e.g., Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Hangouts, and more)||While value-packed, it’s not as cheap as Zoho Mail or IONOS|
|Intuitive, reliable, secure, and packed with small business-friendly features||Email software isn’t as advanced as Microsoft 365 (though being simpler, it is more intuitive)|
|Integrates easily with thousands of third-party apps|
Google Workspace enables you to host business email on Gmail using your own domain name. If you don’t have a domain yet, you can get it directly from Google during the account setup process. When you do, it’s automatically connected to your account, making it even easier to set up professional email addresses on your domain.
Pricing starts at $6 per user, per month, and it’s best for those who want to create a business email on Gmail. It also comes with the complete suite of Google Workplace business collaboration and productivity tools most companies need, such as Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and Google Meet. Get step-by-step instructions on how to set up Gmail for business email if you’re ready to get started.
Trying to decide whether the Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 software suite would be better for your small business? See how they stack up and what makes each unique in our Google Workspace vs Microsoft Office comparison.
Zoho Mail for 5 Free Professional Email Accounts
|Get up to 5 free email addresses on a domain you own||Doesn’t include a free domain like Bluehost or IONOS|
|Best for startups or budget-conscious businesses that don’t use email heavily||Very limited storage (just 25MB) in the free and $1/month plans|
|Workplace plans from $3-$6 per user/month with 40-200GB storage, team collaboration tools, video conferencing, and productivity apps|
Businesses on a budget that need free professional email addresses should check out Zoho Mail. While you need to get a domain name separately, Zoho Mail allows you to create up to five free business email accounts on your domain.
If you need more email addresses or higher storage limits, Zoho Mail offers paid plans for as low as $1 per email address, per month. To get more business features and tools, opt for Zoho Mail’s Workplace plans ranging from $3 to $6 per user, per month.
Workplace plans come with both individual and shared storage, and Professional subscribers get email attachments up to 1GB. This is a must for creative freelancers and companies that send large files (e.g., construction, architects, marketing agencies, real estate, and others). Workplace plans also include Zoho Office’s productivity (word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations), collaboration tools, and even video conferencing.
Want to get a Zoho business email? Set up your free addresses by following our step-by-step instructions on how to create a Zoho email for free.
Microsoft 365 for Outlook Business Email
|Secure, business-class email in plans starting from $6 per month with web and mobile versions of the Outlook email client||More expensive than getting pro email through Zoho Mail or IONOS|
|Starting plan comparable to Google Workspace includes business productivity and collaboration software and video conferencing||Desktop apps aren’t included unless you upgrade to Business Standard at $12.50 per month|
|Advanced email management tools, scheduling tools, and email automation capabilities||A free domain isn’t included like with IONOS and Bluehost|
|Base tier has more storage (1TB) per user than Google Workspace’s (30GB) and higher video conferencing caps (300 vs 100 participants)|
The Outlook email client is included with all Microsoft 365 Business plans. It’s the best option for companies that want built-in advanced business email tools and automations. Learn how to set up Outlook email in three easy steps.
Also, read up on some of the unique Outlook features that Microsoft 365’s small business subscribers enjoy. For example, you can schedule emails to go out in advance, share calendars with your team, create and manage tasks from Outlook, and create email templates to streamline repetitive emails used for things like lead generation and nurturing, employee onboarding, and more.
Choosing between Gmail and Outlook? Read our Gmail vs Outlook comparison to learn which would be better for your small business.
IONOS for Email Hosting With a Free Domain
|Email plans come with a free domain||Basic plan only includes 2GB of storage, which is fairly limited, especially compared to Microsoft 365 (1TB per user in the Basic plan)|
|Plans start at $1 per month and are scalable with additional email addresses and storage||Most advanced virus and spam protection requires $5/month Mail Business plan (but also comes with 50GB of storage)|
|Intuitive webmail interface or easily connect your email to apps like Outlook and Gmail|
You can get an email account for your business with IONOS in email hosting, website builder, and web hosting plans. Standalone email hosting starts at $1 per user, per month and includes a free domain, making it a cheap email hosting provider for startups and small businesses. Plans are also scalable in that you can add more storage and email addresses to each one.
IONOS offers the widest range of plan options on how to create a professional email address. It has three standard business plans ranging from $1 to $5 per month, Google Workspace (Gmail) plans, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft Exchange plans. You can also add email archiving and eDiscovery to ensure your data is protected and restorable, starting from $2.50 per month.
Still not sure which is the best choice for you? Get the full breakdown of email service providers, including their features, storage amounts, security features, customer service, and more, in our review of the best business email providers.
Bluehost for WordPress Web Hosting With Free Email Addresses
|Plans from $2.95 per month the first year, all-inclusive of email and web hosting, SSL certificate, domain, and a WordPress website builder||No monthly payment option and fairly steep price increase after the first year with annual plans|
|From 5 to unlimited free email accounts in hosting plans||Getting the lowest long-term pricing requires a 36-month contract|
|Free domain name included the first year|
|Intuitive Bluehost webmail interface and easily connects to your preferred email app (e.g., Gmail, Apple Mail, Outlook, and so on)|
If you plan to build a WordPress website, you can set up from five to unlimited email accounts for free in Bluehost WordPress website plans. Learn how easy it is to set up Bluehost webmail and make a business email.
Bluehost is a top WordPress-recommended web hosting platform, and you get web hosting starting from $2.95 a month with a free domain and SSL certificate, five free email accounts, and a WordPress website builder. If you need more email addresses, upgrade one tier to the Plus plan and get unlimited email addresses. For more details, read our expert Bluehost review.
2. Get a Domain
After choosing a provider, the next step is getting a domain name (if you don’t already have one). As with email providers, you have many options for getting a domain, including getting a free domain through your preferred web host or email hosting plan.
- Free domain with hosting: Web hosts like Bluehost and IONOS, and all-in-one site builders like Squarespace and Wix, include a free domain for the first year in paid plans. Before buying a domain name separately, check to see if a free domain name comes in the plan you subscribe to (or plan to use) for hosting and building your website.
- Domain with email client or hosting: If you go for Google Workspace, you can get a domain name when registering for an account. However, if you plan to use the Outlook email client through Microsoft 365 or take advantage of free professional emails through Zoho Mail, you must purchase a domain separately. Alternatively, you can get a free domain with IONOS email hosting plans.
- Buy from a domain name registrar: You can purchase a domain name directly from a domain name registrar like Domain.com or Google Domains. Then, connect your domain to your email client and web hosting service. To choose one, see our list of the best domain name registrars.
If you’re struggling to find an available domain name, you’re not alone. It can be difficult to find one that’s both available and ideal for your business. To help, check out this article for guidance on choosing a domain name.
3. Choose a Professional Email Address Format
When you create a professional email address to use for work, you’ll need to choose a format for the email’s username and display name. The username is the first portion of an email address, such as the “JDoe” of “JDoe@dowlaw.com.”
The display name is what the recipient sees, such as “John Doe.” It’s important since you want to be consistent in using a standard email format for all company email accounts for branding and organization.
Common Business Email Formats
Example: John Doe
First name only
Last name only
First name, last initial
First initial, last name
Full name (first and last)
Generic or departmental inbox name
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
When choosing an email username format, consider your company’s size and the perception you want to make. For example, using only a first name is nearly impossible for large companies and may give the impression that a business is small. On the other hand, the longer and more complex your email address format is, the harder it will be for prospects and customers to remember.
Common Email Display Name Formats
Display Name Format
Example: John Doe
Full name (first and last)
First name and company
John @ Super Pets Supply
Super Pets Supply
Outside of generic inboxes (e.g., email@example.com), we recommend businesses use an email format variation that includes the first and last name of the sender, or first initial and last name. For more guidance, check out our article on professional email address ideas.
4. Create Email Addresses for Employee, Team & Website Use
Now that you have all the tools and know how to make a professional email address, it’s time to get to the next level. In addition to creating custom email addresses for employees, you may also want to create generic or shared email accounts for teams or departments.
Examples include email addresses for customer support, sales, recruiting, public relations, media contacts, and more, such as:
- General inquiries: e.g., contact@, info@, questions@, inquiries@, hello@
- Customer service: e.g., support@, returns@, billing@, service@
- Sales: e.g., sales@, demo@, team@, members@
- Marketing: e.g., press@, media@, pr@
- Human resources: e.g., jobs@, careers@, hr@
When displaying an email address on your website, use a generic email address like “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “email@example.com.” It looks more professional and helps reduce spam to individual inboxes by keeping them private. Once you have created a generic email address, set up email forwarding or access to a shared inbox so that incoming emails from prospects and customers aren’t missed.
Email forwarding automatically sends emails sent to the generic inbox to a specific person or a group of people, such as a department. It will be set up directly through your email provider, so the steps will vary. Alternatively, managing a shared inbox is made easier when you use business email tools like Spike to delegate incoming mail.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I make a professional email for free?
It is uncommon to find a truly free business email option if you want a professional email address on a custom domain (e.g., not a gmail.com, outlook.com, or similar generic domain). However, you can get business email accounts and a domain free in web hosting plans through Bluehost and DreamHost, starting under $3 per month the first year.
If you already have a domain, you can set up five free professional email accounts on it using Zoho Mail. Alternatively, you can get your domain free with an email hosting plan through IONOS at $1 per month or get a free email account when you purchase a domain through IONOS.
What should I include in my business email signature?
A professional email signature should have your first and last name, job title, company, website, and contact information. As it is used to close out emails you send to colleagues, prospects, vendors, and more, these should be the minimum. You can also include a company logo, photo, motivational quote, company tagline, links to social media accounts, and a call to action, such as “Watch the demo” or “Start your free trial.”
Get ideas on what to include and how to design your signature by looking at email signature examples.
Is Gmail a professional email address?
Personal Gmail email addresses, which are free and use the domain gmail.com, are inappropriate for business use. However, Google Workspace (and thus, Gmail) is used by more U.S. businesses than Microsoft 365 (and Outlook). Find out how to use Gmail for business email in our guide, including an easy, four-step setup process.
Every business needs email accounts that can be set up quickly, easily, and affordably. For the cheapest email hosting on a custom domain, try IONOS. If you already have a domain, set up five free accounts on Zoho Mail. If you’re planning to build your small business website on WordPress, Bluehost plans have all you need: a free domain, site builder, hosting, and free email accounts on your domain.
Alternatively, if you want seamless integration of business email with productivity and collaboration tools, Google Workspace is a great option. You can register your business domain during the checkout process and set up your professional email address in a few simple steps.