Trying to get email right


As a web developer, I’m often asked to help my clients to get their email sorted. A new client who might need their fresh domain setting up, with their first proper business email address or if we are moving their website and email over to my server, to work on their new site.

I normally say ‘Yep no worries, I can sort that for you’ but recently I’ve been wondering if I really should be managing this? I read an article recently by the most excellent Carrie Dils on this subject, check it out here. Well, sort of on this subject, she talks about how email and hosting have become intertwined over the years and we don’t think about it anymore. She is right they should be kept separate, using the email service on the hosting package has become a habit, reading her article made me realise, yes I’d been dong the same and the vast majority of the most irritating problems I’ve had to overcome, have been making email work for clients.

Disconecting the hosting and email

Now I’m half way there, yes my main email still runs through my server, but I’m getting there.

I use Gmail. I have for a few years now and I’m personally very happy with it. I like the android, flat designed look of the google suite of tools. I use them every day and I can’t imagine going back to Mac mail. My head is still ringing two years after I last tried to manage my emails through Mac mail.

If I remember right I’d set up a load of custom filters so I could make sure to not miss my client’s email. I’d missed a few jobs because I wasn’t on top of the email, so I was trying to get it right, trying to be the best I could be.

The filters kept disappearing. I was spending hours making the filters and then I’d start up Mac Mail the next day and I’d be like “WTF! where are my filters? Nope deleted they were.

As a small businessman (I’m not all that small in real life!) you have to act fast, if you are experiencing a problem like this then you have to adapt, you have to think. Yes, I could have worked with the pig that Mac Mail was being, but I decided to find a better solution.

Probably after a search such as “Whats the best Mac Mail alternative?” I found Steve Dotto from DotoTech’s videos about Gmail being his favourite tool for email and how to use their filters. I was more than likely signing up for a Gmail account before his video was finished! I really do trust his opinions when it comes to software and service choices.

I’ve recently moved over to Google Apps, that’s a topic for another day blog post, you’d expect a move from Gmail to Gmail to be well easy… mmmm not exactly, but I digress, its a lot faster in sending and receiving, a lot faster.

My point on email though

There always seems to be some issue with the SSL not working or some other irritating nonsense, always. It all seems to stem from in my opinion hosting packages that are fully focused on well-hosting websites with the after thought of email being bugged on to full up the feature list. I definitely think its the right time for me personally to start education myself about the benefits of separating out the two a bit more. Getting great hosting for my clinets, but perhaps not relying on the inbuild email hosting, rather than look to another service to manage emails.

As they say (Carrie Dils), if you separate the two, your email won’t go down when your site does and visa verse etc.

At the ‘end of the day’, to coin the ever popular business person phrase. I want to advise my clients on the best options and of course, if they are utilising the best options and services then I’m more than likely going to spend less time fixing problems in outlook or Mail!

I’m going to try and work out a plan of action over the next few months, watch this space.

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