Email. You probably use it every day and most likely have more than one. Work, home, personal business and social media accounts all require us to use email to be in touch with the outside world—so much so that they’ve become like an extension of ourselves.
When people first sign up for a personal email account, they don’t often make the smartest of choices and opt for emails like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, which are embarrassing to spell out to bank tellers or insurance providers. Think back to the first email you had and try not to cringe.
Getting a custom email address requires some work but it’s ultimately worth the effort. As a professional, you’ll need an email address that can stand the test of time while adequately reflecting you or your brand, and one that you never again have to change, even if your email provider goes out of business.
Regardless of who you are, it’s time to get a custom email address using your personal domain name. Here’s how to buy a domain email address and get it set up.
Email Addresses Structure
Before you register a unique email address, it’s important first to have a basic understanding of how an email address is structured before we get too technical.
An email address consists of two main parts, and most people don’t know that they actually have control over both!
The two parts of an email address are:
- Mailbox name
Let’s go over these two parts, starting with the domain.
Think of a domain as the home of your email address. Incoming messages arrive at the domain and are then sorted by mailbox name to make sure they reach the right person at the address.
A domain name itself also consists of two customizable parts:
- Domain (e.g. example in example.com)
- Top-level domain, or TLD (e.g. the .COM in example.com). This is also called a domain extension.
There are many factors to consider when choosing which domain and TLD to use for your custom email address. There are over 400 domains available like .ART, .HELP, .EMAIL and many others, so your options are quite limitless.
The mailbox name is how incoming emails end up with the right person. If your domain is the home address, think of the mailbox name as each person’s name who lives at that address.
How to Buy a Domain Email Address
Here are the four instructions you’ll need to get a unique domain email address:
- Register a domain name.
- Sign up for an email hosting service.
- Create a mailbox name.
- Configure your email address with an email client.
1. How to Register a Domain Name
Choosing a Domain Provider
To buy a domain email address, you’ll need to select a domain provider. Here are things to look for:
- No unexpected renewal costs: Many registrars will advertise a very cheap initial registration of your domain but then set the renewal cost for additional years much higher. Make sure you check renewal fees.
- Helpful customer support: To assist with setting up your domain and email address and troubleshoot any issues.
- Included WHOIS Privacy: This keeps your contact information hidden from online databases for spammers and hackers to find.
- Full control over your domain name: Avoid registrars that only let you use your domain name with their own services and/or make it challenging to get set up with another email hosting service.
Finding a Domain
The domain name you register will vary depending on… you! Remember, this is about customizing your email and you can make every part of it exactly as you want. Some common formats include:
- Personal name (e.g. johnsmith.com)
- Family name (e.g. smith.com)
- Brand or nickname (e.g. designergirl.com)
- Company (e.g. falcondesign.com
Once you have an idea of what type of domain you’re looking for, it’s time to start your domain search. Don’t get discouraged if the initial domain that you search for is already registered; there are millions of domains registered and it’s common to go through many searches until you find something that you like and is available.
If you’re having a tough time finding something you like, here are some domain finding tips to try:
- If using multiple words in your domain, add a dash.
- Make sure you try all the different formats and variations of your name, last name, initials or brand.
- Try a different top-level domain instead of .COM like .ORG, .XYZ, .CO or any of the other 400+ options that are available to further customize your email and stand out from the competition.
Registering a Domain Name
To register your domain with Hover, simply add it to your cart, select a term length (typically between 1-10 years), enter your contact and billing information and click register.
Example domain checkout. You may also have the option to purchase an email address at checkout.
Important note! Registering a domain name does not mean that you own it forever. Once the initial time you paid for has passed, you’ll need to renew it in order to continue owning it. If you don’t do this, you’ll no longer own the domain and it will be available for anyone else to register. Oh and, your email will stop working too.
Enable auto-renew within your account settings to make sure you don’t forget to renew your domain.
2. How to Sign Up for an Email Hosting Service
Chances are that your domain provider will also offer email hosting services, but you do have the option to connect your domain elsewhere. Make sure that whoever you choose offers fair pricing, strong security and plenty of storage. Your email host will handle the backend for your email address, meaning that it will communicate with the rest of the Internet to send and receive your emails, as well as store your incoming emails and files.
You have two options available when creating custom email addresses: forwards and mailboxes. The forward option will forward any incoming emails that are sent to your custom address to another specified email address you own, but will not let you send emails from your custom address. A mailbox, on the other hand, will let you send and receive emails from your domain email address.
3. How to Create a Mailbox Name
You can create as many mailbox names as you’d like with your domain name, whether you’re looking for a more professional email address for yourself or email addresses for 10,000 employees.
Mailbox names are typically a person’s name (e.g. email@example.com) or a department (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org), so you’ll need to think about how you plan to use email and what mailbox names will work for your business or brand.
4. How to Configure Your Email Address with an Email Client
Last, you’ll need some software so you can actually use your personalized email address. Many email hosts will provide an email client to use, but you can choose other programs if you prefer.
The exact steps you’ll need to take will vary depending on the specific email client and hosting service you’re using, but will look something like this:
- Go into your settings.
- Add a new account.
- Enter your name, domain, email address, password and a description of the email account.
- In both the Incoming and Outgoing Mail Server sections, enter your host name (e.g. mail.hover.com), the username (email address) and password. You’ll have the option of selecting either IMAP or POP. If supported, we recommend choosing IMAP because this will keep your messages in sync between all of the mail clients you use on all of your devices.
By following the above steps, you’ll be able to buy a domain email address as unique as you and your brand. Don’t forget to let people know about your change of email, copy over your contacts, change some or all of your subscriptions and update your settings on various platforms!
If you’re ready to register domain email, start by searching for a domain name from Hover!
Already have a domain name? Learn more about our email hosting.