Email hosting is a service that runs email servers. Put simply, if you own a domain name and want email service on that domain name, you would need to sign up for an email hosting service.
Most web hosting companies provide you with email hosting as well; however, the email hosting service provided by web hosting companies for the most part only supplies you with POP3 email and the basics in spam/virus protection and other features. Additionally, some of the free email hosting providers are ad-supported. Again, if you own a small or medium sized business (SME), then you should not want to operate your business email using one of these providers since the email service is typically sub-par as compared to a professional email hosting service.
Using a professional email hosting service should give you peace of mind. You should be able to focus on your business while the email hosting provider manages your email service. Most email hosting providers offer a rich set of webmail features including unlimited aliases, unlimited forwarders, autoresponders, large attachments, robust spam/virus protection, mail rules, IMAP/POP3, online storage, calendars, mailing lists, whitelists, blacklists, backups, archiving, folder management, contacts management, etc. You would also be able to access your email from anywhere using webmail, smartphone and your favorite email client such as Outlook.
Best of all, professional email hosting service is very affordable. It eliminates the need for in-house email servers and IT people to manage those email servers. Compare email hosting providers by taking advantage of the free trials that most email hosting companies tend to provide and then choose the one that works best for your needs.
Email hosting is similar to web hosting in the sense that it needn’t necessarily be hosted by either your registrar or web host providers. This is another case of selecting the host that makes the most sense for your particular situation. Using myself as an example, several of my domains’ email accounts are hosted by Google’s Gmail service. This is configured by making a change to the DNS records for your domain.
Email hosting is provided by companies large and small. Such well-known companies as Yahoo!, Google, and Microsoft offer the service. It is the stated intent of these companies to offer email as a stepping-stone toward signing up users for even more services. Yahoo! and Microsoft, in particular, offer so many services that some users can meet all of their Web needs without ever leaving the pages hosted by those providers.
When provided by such large companies, email services are usually free for the most basic suite of services. More complicated needs, especially storage of email messages, routinely cost extra. Some smaller companies offer free email hosting; others charge for it. The incredible variety of options available make it a buyer’s market.
Email hosting commonly uses Web-accessed email programs or websites. Traditional email use, via applications that reside on individual computers, is rare in this realm. As such, the common practice of going online to download email messages, responding to those messages offline, and then reconnecting in order to send responses to those messages is not possible when using Web-accessed email. The flip side of this is that users are not tied to their individual PCs, because all they need to send and receive email messages is a computer and an Internet connection.