4 ways to use personalized email addresses
Email addresses are essential for signing up for services, submitting your taxes, or even opening a bank account.
Since you’ll likely be using your email for a long time, it’s a good idea to make the most of it. So why not think about personalizing your address?
Why would you want a personalized email address?
Most email addresses in use today are provided by a few big tech companies: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and even AOL. Google’s Gmail service has been around since 2004 and addresses for Hotmail have been available since 1996. This means that many of the good usernames are gone.
Even registering your full name as a username is difficult. Few people have truly unique names, and chances are the handle you want has already been taken by someone else, leaving you with only variations to choose from.
A personalized email address allows you to deliver your email with pride and helps express your digital identity in any way you choose. You can consider your email address as part of your own personal brand.
The other reason you might want a personalized email address is because it belongs to you. Your Gmail account belongs to Google. Google can analyze your correspondence and delete your account if it wishes.
How to create a personalized email address
The first thing you need is a custom domain, i.e. the part of the email address after the @ sign. These can cost as little as $1 per year, and with over 400 TLDs (the part of the domain name after the full stop) available, you’ll be able to find a variation that’s right for you. Take the time to determine which domain name to choose.
For the purposes of this article, we purchased improbable.guru. It is a domain name that matches both our personality and our vocation. The email address we will proudly give out to strangers will be [email protected]
You can use your domain to receive and send email in the following ways.
1. Forward an email to an existing email address
If you plan to use your personalized email address only to receive mail, the easiest option is to forward it to an existing email address that you already have access to using the Tote option provided by your registrar.
Search the Redirect mail option, then click Add a tote. In the Transfer to field, add the address you want emails forwarded to. Then save everything.
The catchall forward will forward all emails sent to the improbable.guru domain to one of our other email addresses, not just [email protected], but any username you can think of . Press any random selection of keys and add @improbable.guru after it. Send an email to the resulting address and it will go through.
2. Let Google Workspace handle your email
Google handles email exceptionally well. One of Google’s many services is Workspace, formerly known as Gsuite. This tool is primarily intended for companies, although nothing prevents you from registering as an individual.
All you have to do is go through the wizard. When asked for the company name, provide your own name and set the number of employees to Just you.
When asked for your business domain name, enter the domain name you purchased previously. Accept the terms and conditions, then select your plan.
Next, Google will ask you to verify ownership of the domain by adding a TXT record for the domain.
Visit your registrar again and click Advanced DNS, find the section marked Host recordsand click on Add a new record.
For type, select TXT, set @ as host, and in the value field, paste the string provided to you by Google. Set the TTL as low as possible, then press Save all changes.
You must define five MX records. Scroll down to messaging settings and from the available options select Custom MX. The host value for all of these is your domain name, and the values and priorities are as follows:
- ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM, 1
- ALT1.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM, 5
- ALT2.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM, 5
- ALT3.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM, 10
- ALT4.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM, 10
Once these changes are saved, you will be able to send and receive emails with your personalized address through Google Workspace.
3. Use your personalized email address with Zoho
Google Workspaces is expensive and has a lot of features you probably don’t need. zoho is another email hosting company, but with prices starting at $1 per month (paid annually). You’ll need an existing email account or mobile number to sign up, as Zoho uses one-time passwords for added security.
After logging in, you’ll be asked if you already have an existing domain (you do), and then, because Zoho is also business-focused, you’ll be asked to fill in some basic details. After payment, Zoho will provide a wizard to guide you through the setup process. The process for adding DNS and MX records is the same as for Google.
4. Host your own email at home!
Zoho and Google Workspace are both paid solutions, but you will have to pay for them. Fortunately, you can also host your own mail server at home. Email has been around for decades, but it hasn’t changed much since then. As such, the hardware requirements are quite low.
Virtually any computer built in the 21st century will do. By hosting your own mail server at home, you have complete control over everything about it, from users to spam filters and advanced security features, and yes, even the custom domain name it uses.
It’s not hard to get a personalized email address
Whether you choose to use a free one-stop solution for your personalized email address, plan to start your own mail server from scratch, or prefer the reliability of a managed, hosted service from Google or from Zoho, it’s easy to do.
A personalized email address is something to be proud of and you don’t need to use it just for sending. You can then use this domain for many other things, such as starting a business or starting a blog. Why not expand and see what you can do?