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Personal e-mail domains: professional communication on the web
A personal e-mail address is undoubtedly one of the most valuable pieces of online contact information. But many users miss the opportunity to elevate their professional reputation with a custom e-mail address. Instead, freemail providers enjoy great popularity. They offer a solid service at no charge, although they aren’t very highly regarded in the professional arena as the e-mail address includes the name of the mail provider, for example:
No matter which provider you go for, building an e-mail address always follows the same structure. E-mail addresses consist of two fundamental elements: a local part and a global part. While the local part relates to the username before the @ symbol, the global part specifies the mail domain after the @, where the address is located. This is also referred to as the domain part. This consists of a host name and the top-level domain (TLD). While freemail users can only choose the local part of their e-mail address, an e-mail domain allows you to create a unique address, for example:
What you should know about having your own e-mail domain
Users wishing to register a personal e-mail domain can choose any top-level domain and an available domain name within the desired namespace. It’s worth noting that domain names under a TLD can only be assigned once. The choice of available endings depends on the provider. If a desired name is assigned under a particular TLD, users can switch to another ending. The new domain endings (nTLD) offer the opportunity to create an ‘expressive’ domain name or regional reference:
Be aware that the respective TLD authority defines the rules by which domain names are formed. All top-level domains can be formed with letters a-z, numbers 0-9, and hyphens. There’s no difference between capital and lower-case. Some TLDs also allow special characters in the domain, such as letters with accents. Generally the use of these characters in e-mail domains isn’t recommended, as these domains can lead to problems with mail servers and e-mail programs.
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How can you benefit from having a personal e-mail domain?
Having a personal e-mail domain rather than a freemail address can offer many advantages, as outlined in the following six points:
- Professional: a polished image is key in having a successful career, and that applies to your online presence as well. While freemail addresses with provider domains often convey an amateur image, successful businesses and entrepreneurs use e-mail domains. By customizing the e-mail, you can ensure that your contact details are coordinated, creating a sleek and professional image which facilitates customers’ trust. The most effective domains are either company-oriented or personal, for example:
- Concise: freemail companies provide e-mail addresses with their domain to their customers, making it difficult to register a name that is unique and concise. Names are usually snapped up very quickly, so users are often forced to come up with long combinations of numbers and letters:
Long e-mail addresses carry with them the risk of being misspelled or misremembered, whereas custom e-mail addresses can be shorter, making them concise and more memorable.
- Permanent: with your own e-mail domain, you are independent from freemail providers, meaning that you can easily move a domain to a different provider if need be. In the United States, domain names count as intellectual property, meaning they’re legally protected. The same cannot be said for freemail domain users, who are forced to change their e-mail if the provider changes.
- Ad-free: freemail accounts are often sponsored by advertisements. Not only do the providers use their pool of customers to promote advertisements, these accounts are also easy targets for spam. A personal e-mail domain, on the other hand, is based on a payment model, meaning that there are no advertisements and a smaller risk of spam.
- Safer: cybercriminals also need a high hit rate if their malware (such as viruses or Trojans) are to have a big effect. Freemail providers are a common target for hacking and phishing, but this risk decreases significantly with a personal e-mail domain.
- Typo-proof: correctly configured e-mail addresses with their own e-mail domains can be far more reliable than freemail addresses. Using a catch-all function, it’s possible to redirect incoming messages to a domain on a main inbox, even if the local part before the @ symbol is spelt incorrectly. This is essential in order to avoid losing important messages.
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How to create your own e-mail domain
The assignment of domains is organized centrally. Each top-level domain is managed by a network information center (NIC), also known as a domain name registry. Nic.com is an example of a network information center and acts as a mediator between customers and administrative agencies. Private companies such as webhosts or other internet service providers enable domain registration to happen separately or combine it with other services such as e-mail hosting. For customers, the ordering process is carried out in three steps:
Step 1: Choose provider
NICs cooperate with various internet service providers. A domain can generally be registered through various service providers. Important selection criteria for e-mail hosting with a personal domain is the number of inboxes available, the storage size of an inbox, and the availability of relevant transmission methods such as POP3 and IMAP.
Step 2: Check e-mail domain
Once you’ve found a suitable e-mail host, you should check the availability of your desired domain. Accredited registrars have free domain search boxes at the ready:
The provider then searches the appropriate registry for your desired domain, which takes just a few seconds. Please note, that an e-mail domain must always consist of a top-level domain and a sub-domain name (second-level domain).
After entering your chosen domain into the search box, click on ‘check’ to see if it’s available. If this combination is already taken, the request is rejected and you’ll receive a statement from the registrar saying that the desired domain isn’t available:
If the desired domain is already taken, you have two options: either you change the domain name or you check the availability of the second-level domain (so here it would be ‘example-company’) in combination with a different top-level domain. The following image shows alternative extensions such as .enterprises and .global.
Step 3: Register your personal e-mail domain
If an available domain has been found, the ordering process can now begin. It’s a good idea for companies and online projects to register the desired second-level domain with different extensions to increase the visibility of the network and protect the company name from domain grabbing or typosquatting.
A domain registration can be completely done online; you simply have to fill out the registration form. Your name, address, and e-mail address are the only details needed. Don’t forget your bank details to complete the order process.
Create your personal e-mail address
Depending on which e-mail host you use, you have the option to create a certain number of e-mail addresses under your e-mail domain and then customize certain settings for forwarding, ‘out of office’ messages, encryption options, or filters. E-mail hosts usually offer a central control panel for the whole e-mail account so that you can manage your inboxes more easily. You can reach this using your customer number or your username and a personal password. In the control panel you will find the ‘new e-mail address’ option. In order to add a new inbox to your e-mail domain, you have to define a new local part (the part before the @ sign), and combine this with the global part (domain name plus TLD):
If you own more than one domain, you can choose for which of the e-mail domains the e-mail address should be created.
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