Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Outlook.com are the two most popular free email services in the world, and either is a great choice for your primary email account. As long as you’re willing to settle for an address in someone else’s domain, of course.
For those who prefer a personalized email address that uses a custom domain they own, either company’s options have historically required a paid business account (Google’s G Suite, Microsoft’s Office 365 Business) using a complex and almost overwhelming set of administration tools. designed for full-time network administrators. You also need to be willing and able to configure DNS records and mail exchange managers, a process that can seem as esoteric as anything they teach at Hogwarts.
So imagine my surprise and joy when I discovered a well-hidden feature that allows anyone with an Office 365 Home or Personal subscription to attach a personalized email address to that account, with up to 50 GB of e-mail storage for this account as well as support for e-mail encryption. The web interface is ad-free, and you can use any email client, including the Windows 10 Mail app or the Outlook program included with Office 365, to access your account.
If you have an Office 365 Home subscription, you can share that subscription with up to five people, each of whom can also create a custom email address in your custom domain.
You must pay an annual fee to register and manage the domain, but there is no additional fee as long as your Office 365 subscription is active.
(It should be noted that the official Microsoft documentation for these “Outlook.com premium features for Office 365 subscribers” does not mention the personalized email address. Instead, these details can be found in a separate FAQ: “Get a personalized email address in Office 365.”)
So what’s the catch? There are three:
First, you need to use GoDaddy to purchase or manage your custom domain. There is no way to connect a domain from another registrar to this account. And GoDaddy’s prices aren’t exactly competitive. I paid $ 12 and changed for the first year of my .com domain, but renewals cost $ 18 per year, and you will have to pay an additional $ 10 per year if you want your contact information to be confidential which is 28 $ per year invoice after the expiration of the one-year promotional offer.
However, Google Domains charges a flat fee of $ 12 for a .com domain, with optional privacy protection at no cost. Likewise, Nomcheap charges $ 13 for a .com domain and promises that its WhoisGuard privacy service is “free forever.”
(If you already have a domain that you want to use with your Office 365 subscription, you’ll need to transfer it to GoDaddy first. Once the transfer is complete, you can attach that domain to your Office 365 customer subscription.)
Second, Microsoft has already seen you calculate how much you could save by ditching your expensive business account for this much cheaper option. License terms for Office 365 consumer subscriptions explicitly state that “[t]The service / software may not be used for commercial, non-profit, or income-generating purposes. Microsoft Services Agreement states that Outlook.com is “for your personal, non-commercial use, unless you have commercial use rights under a separate agreement with Microsoft.”
Of course, there’s no technical check that will stop you from switching a small business to the premium features of Office 365 Home in Outlook.com, but this license agreement should scare away even the more cautious business owners.
Finally, you get one and only one personalized email address per mailbox. This feature does not support creating additional aliases using your custom domain beyond the first one you create for each mailbox.
If you currently have an Office 365 Home or Personal subscription associated with an Outlook.com mailbox (specifically, an email address ending in @ outlook.com, @ hotmail.com, @ live.com, or @ msn.com), here’s how to add a custom email address:
- Sign in to Outlook.com using the email address associated with your Office 365 customer subscription.
- Click the gear icon to the left of your profile picture to open the Settings pane, then click Show all Outlook settings at the bottom of that pane.
- In the Settings dialog box above, click Premium (1), then click Start (2).
- This option takes you to the Personalize Your Email Address dialog box, shown here. Click on Get a domain if you want to buy a new domain; click the small link I already have a GoDaddy domain at the bottom of the dialog box to attach a domain you already own.
- Follow the prompts to buy or attach a domain with GoDaddy, then enter the name you want to use for your personalized address.
You may have to wait a few minutes for GoDaddy and Outlook.com to complete the connection, but you can check the status at any time by opening Outlook.com again, signing in with the Microsoft account associated with your Office 365 subscription. and going to Settings> Premium> Custom email address. As the subscription owner, you can see all of the users associated with your subscription.
Any user with whom you’ve shared your Office 365 Home subscription can access this same settings page after signing in with their Microsoft account to create their own address in your new shared domain. If all of this sounds vaguely familiar to you, it’s not just your imagination. Microsoft first released this feature as a stand-alone Outlook.com Premium subscription in 2016, but closed the program in late 2017. For the handful of readers who still have one of these subscriptions, Microsoft has sent a notice. this week that it would close down the Outlook.com Premium dashboard at the end of February 2020 and not renew those subscriptions when they expire.
If you already have an Office 365 Home or Personal subscription and want to attach a custom domain, the extra cost, even at GoDaddy’s inflated prices, is probably worth it, especially if you have other shared users who would also benefit from it. ‘a personalized subscription. E-mail adress.
Alternatives are a G Suite account or an Office 365 Business Essentials subscription, both of which cost $ 5 per user per month and do not include Office 365 desktop apps. An Office 365 Business Premium subscription, with email and desktop applications, costs $ 12.50 per user per month. At these prices, don’t be surprised if some small businesses with one to five users decide to give Microsoft licensing a try.