Having a professional email ID for your business isn’t a PR gimmick anymore. If you own a website then you should have an email ID registered to your domain, rather than some generic mailing service. In such a scenario, the fact that Google is stopping free signups to Google Apps suite (which had a Gmail app for mailing) is quite sad. Microsoft’s Outlook.com can be a viable alternative, especially when you think of combining it with Microsoft’s SkyDrive for storing data on the Cloud.
Importance of a Professional Email
A professional email is email@example.com. Most web hosting packages have features to set up native email servers, but they never really compare with the efficiency of the likes of Outlook.com or Gmail.
Setting up Outlook.com – Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Sign up for a Custom Domain Mail Service
- Go to Office 365 Admin Center
- Enter your domain name when asked for.
- The next step would be to tie up a Microsoft account through which you would administer your domain
- If you have a Microsoft account, sign in(make sure it’s active, because a verification mail would be forwarded to the address)
- Otherwise, signup for a Microsoft Account
- Click the link sent to the email to verify your ownership of the mail.
This completes the first step. Next would be to configure the MX and TXT records of your domain server.
Step 2: Configuring DNS settings
After you have completed the first step, you would be sent to the Windows Live Admin Center’s domain control page. Here you would find the MX and TXT strings which need to be added to your DNS settings for completing the whole process. MX records tell the DNS that you are using the Microsoft mailing server, and the TXT records configure the required rights.
Like most web-hosting providers, your web host would probably be using cPanel for managing the accounts. If not, look around for the Domain Settings page, and find the option to edit MX records. The rest of the steps assume that you are using cPanel, and the web host we use is Bluehost.
- Select MX Entry icon under Mail.
- Choose your domain.
- Following this, you are required to select an email routing method. Choose, Automatically detect Configuration
- Add MX record string from Outlook.com in the Destination Field.
- To protect your originating emails from being part of spam or junk mails, there’s a need to configure sender ID by adding TXT record with the value
- v=spf1 include:hotmail.com ~all
- If you desire users to visit mail.yourdomain.com for sign in, then you need to create a CNAME record in your domain’s Domain Settings. For cPanel, this can be done with Simple DNS Editor. Use ‘Mail’ for the Name field and mail.yourdomain.com in the CNAME field.
- The settings would take from 30 minutes to 48 hours to become active.
This completes the overall setup of the email account. The next step would be to set up user IDs. For this, you need to log into Windows Live Admin Center.
Step 3: Creating Email accounts
- In the sidebar of the Windows Live Admin Center, find the option of ‘Member Accounts’.
- There’s the option of choosing Open Membership, which would mean people can sign up for email accounts at their will.
- Among other options, you can control who gets an account.
Setting up Microsoft Outlook.com as your email service is promising, especially when you take into account the ease with which you can set it up.