How to Setup Zoho Free Email Hosting (Google Apps & Outlook Custom Domain alternative)

After shuttering Microsoft Outlook for Custom Domain there only a few options remaining for free email hosting. One of the most reliable option is Zoho Mail. This service is provided by Zoho and already been featured on various top blogs and news sites. However, Zoho do not provide as much as features as Outlook and Google Apps provided but it has some unique features also which can’t be expected in a free email hosting solution for personal and small business. One of the key feature is Ad free interface. The storage for free accounts are just 5GB/user but they do provide POP3/IMAP support. So if the space is not enough for you then you may send and receive emails from other services like GMail, Outlook or Yahoo mail. Initially, free signups comes with 5 free accounts (if you have a domain). Which can be further increased to 20 by inviting 3 business signups. With each successful invites 5 accounts will be added for lifetime.

Previously, Microsoft Outlook for custom domain was top in providing free email hosting since November 2005. But Microsoft shutter the service to promote Office365, which is a paid service. I had wrote about setting up Outlook Custom Domain but since the free option is no longer available people started asking me about hidden tricks to get it for free. Frankly, this is not possible to signup for free email hosting at Outlook for new domains. Not only this but if you already have active service then soon you will not be able to add more users to those domains.

Since the two biggest players, including Google Apps for free and Microsoft custom domain, ended the free email hosting for domains. So, what are the options? I have discussed this in my previous post. The only most reliable service, as available now, is Zoho Mail. And in this post I will share how to setup Zoho mail for free email hosting.

Setup Zoho Mail for free email hosting

It’s really easy to setup up for free Zoho mail for your domain. You can do this by yourself. For any clarification or help ping me in forums or on social media.

1. Choose Plan:
Visit ZohoMail Pricing page and choose “Free” option. You may also choose your preferred currency. [At Zoho Free plan is also called “Lite Plan”.] Hit the “Signup” button to get started.

Zoho Mail Pricing Chart
Zoho Mail Pricing Table

2. Add Your Domain
Now, You have to provide your domain name. Unlike Google Apps you must have a domain name. Fill your domain name and hit “Add domain”. If you opt any paid plan you may buy a domain from Zoho also, right below the following form:

 

Note: You would not be able to add more domains to your free account.

3. Signup an Account
On the next page you will have to create your first account and verify your existing contact email address. This contact email is required to activate your account and reset your admin password, in case you forget in future. Check the image below.

Create admin account
Now, add information about the admin or webmaster of the businnes

This will be another simple form asking for name, email, username for your custom domain, and password for that. Once you satisfy click on signup.

On the next page you will be asked verify your domain. Also an email will reach to your email address. Verify the email id by clicking the unique link. Meantime, do not close the signup previous “congratulation” page.

4. Verify your E-Mail Id
Go to your email account and verify your email account.

verify email
Zoho email id verification mail

5. Verify your domain

zoho-mail-verify-domain
Now click the “Proceed to verify domain ownership” link. If you can’t to see this page, go to mail.zoho.com and hit “Access Mail” a red button on the top-right of the page. on the next page there will be a link.

Choose CNAME method to verify your domain ownership.

On this page, you will also have DNS provider specific guide. You may select the option using dropdown. At the time of writing this tutorial Godaddy, 1 and 1, Enom, Euro DNS, WordPress, cPanel, Bluehost, Open SRS – Squarespace, Network Solutions, Name.com and Register.com were in the list.

 

Domain Verification Options
Here comes the tough part (not really :P). If you have done this before then you will easily configure it. Else, proceed with caution. There are three ways to verify your domain.

  1. Add CNAME record
  2. Add a TXT record
  3. Upload an html file.

The first two options will take time. It may takes a few hours ( but sometimes take up to 48hrs or sometimes more). The third option will be instant. But you will probably need a web hosting and know how to upload the file to the root directory of the domain.

Depending on your condition choose an option. Don’t forget there is a small dropdown for help. If your DNS provider is listed there then you may check the help article, in case you need.

If you stuck at any point or unable to configure Zoho mail. Join our forum and start a fresh topic. I will help you to configure. If you are out of time or these things complex then you may hire me to do all these things.

However, I will choose the first method to show you how to do that.

7. Verify domain using CNAME (under cPanel)

Domain Setup

The domain I added is hosted on HostGator and the DNS (hostgator provides) is also managed from the cPanel.

I have simply signed in to HostGator cPanel and hit the “Advanced DNS Zone Editor”. You will find this option under “Domains” section. Select the domain from drop-down menu and fill the details as zoho asked you to do so. [Check the image below and above one. See how I added]

cPanel add cname
Create CNAME under cPanel DNS manager

Now add the CNAME. Now we will have to wait for a few hours.

After sometime, go to the same page (zoho domain verification) and hit “Verify” button. Once, the account is verified you will see a message saying “You have successfully verified ownership of gplthemes.org. Enter a username below to create your administrator email account:” Your first account will be prefilled. Simply check for any typo and proceed to setup MX records.

Set MX record to send and receive Emails from custom domain

Now hit “Next” > “Next” a page saying “Change MX record”. Read the page carefully. You will be asked to setup MX record. If I am not wrong then the MX record should be same (or at least similar) as below:

MX Records
Zoho mail MX records. You will need to add these records to your domain.

Again if you are using cPanel then find and click “MX Entry” under “Mail” section as shown below.

HostGator.com Control Panel
Mail setup options under cPanel

1. Now add the 2 MX records one by one.
2. Change the “Email Routing” to “Remote Mail Exchanger”
3. Make sure to delete any default entry if there is any.

cPanel X4
MX Records setup under cPanel

Now you have completed the setup for Email Hosting.

Remember, like CNAME we added earlier, it will take up to 48 hrs. (or sometimes more) to work.

If you want to receive emails in your Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo or Mobile devices then the following details you will need. For any Configuration related problem visit forums.

POP and SMTP settings for Zoho mail
Incoming Server Settings:

Incoming Server Name: pop.zoho.com
Port: 995
Require SSL: Yes

Outgoing Server Settings:

Outgoing Server Name: smtp.zoho.com
Port: 465
Require SSL: Yes
Require Authentication: Yes

How to Transfer YouTube Channel to another Google Account in 4 easy steps.

transfer-youtube-channel
Transferring a YouTube channel was not possible after 2009. But now we can easily transfer YouTube channel to another Google Account. This is now possible with a new Google+ Page and YouTube feature. Now in a Google account we can have more than one account and a Google+ page can have multiple Managers. And this trick is based on the combination of these two features.

Yet, Transferring YouTube account is not official but yes we can do this. It’s a great news for users having multiple YouTube channels. Now they will not have to maintain multiple Google Accounts just for YouTube channel or any specific Google Products.

Lets get started and discuss how to transfer a YouTube channel to another account or even change the ownership of a YouTube Channel.

Transfer YouTube Channel to another Google Account

Step 1: Go to YouTube Advanced Setting page of your Channel (which you want to transfer). Here you will find a new button titled “Connect with a Google+ Page”. Click on the button. A new window will appear asking to keep username or choose a better one.

Choose the first option to “keep your username”, accept the terms and condition and click “next”. Don’t worry if you get an error page but check if a new Google+ page has been created.

Step 2:  Now go to the newly created Google Plus page and Add a new Manager. Invite a manager by sending email. (This user will be your new YouTube channel owner at the end of the tutorial)

Step 3: At this step you or the new manager will need to verify his email id and accept invitation to be a manager. Just check email and click on “Be a Manager” button.

Step 4: Now go to Google plus page and change the privilege from “Manager” to “Owner”. You will find this page on “Managers” Tab. Also, there might be a 2 week wait time to complete the step four. If you find such message then come after 14 days and transfer the ownership of the YouTube channel.

Tested on NetRival YouTube channel. At that time there was no 14 days wait time. After a few hours when I tried to move BlogSynthesis youtube channel, it was there.

Additional tips after transferring YouTube channel:

1. If you transfer the ownership then the old Google Account user will become a manager at YouTube and the Google+ page. To completely remove accessing youtube dashboard remove ask the new owner (or yourself) to remove old account from manager. If you will do so, Old account will be completely removed from the youtube channel.

2. If you already have a Google Plus page, then youtube channel can be transferred in reverse order of the tutorial. i.e.

  • Go to Google+ settings page and invite a manager (YouTube account holder email).
  • After accepting invitation the youtube account holder will be able to link YouTube channel and Google+ page.
  • After successful linking remove the manager from Google+ Page. (Following this reverse tutorial I transferred BlogSynthesis YouTube channel)

3. Be careful while inviting a manager to Google+ page.

If you got any problem then leave a comment here or on video tutorial at youtube. Don’t forget to share on twitter,Google+ or Facebook. if you liked the tutorial.

Alternate way:

There is a possibility to some changes in the process as many of you have reported on the video comment or here on the blog. Well, as i said earlier, Google do not allow to transfer youtube channel officially but there is a loophole. That’s why the above guide and video worked. Due to the changes it might be possible that the above guide is not working for you.

However there is an alternate way to transfer the youtube channel: If you are forced to create a Google+ page with your youtube account. Then go ahead and create one. (For some people Google has already created one.) After sometime (or instantly) you will be able to add a manager or administrator to the Google+ page. Don’t forget here we are talking about the page, not the channel.

Also, Many people asked me about the video, subscribers and stats? Will everything be lost? The answer is “NO”. There will be no changes in your videos, stats or subscriber. I will be completely safe with the youtube channel.

And yes, This trick will work until Google patches the hole. So it will be better to hurry.

Top 7 email hosting solutions for domains

There was a time of Google Apps who offered free custom domain email hosting solution for sites and blogs. Day by day, the things got weird. Starting from 2000 free users in Google Apps, it gradually decreased to 10 free accounts. But now, Google no longer offer the free version of Google Apps and Microsoft outlook for custom domain has reduced the number of users from 500 to 50. However, there is something good inside MS outlook service. You may ask their team to increase the free quota.

Here is the list of top email hosting solutions.

Email hosting providers

Top free email hosting solutions:

1. Zoho mail

Zoho is known for its CRM service and online document and forms. Zoho is well-recognized in corporate sector. It offers 5 free custom domain email hosting and no credit card needed to sign up. I like the interface but not that much as Gmail and Outlook.

The best thing about Zoho mail is NO ad anywhere. Yes, there will be no ads anywhere in or outside email and dashboard. Perfect solution though. I have not tested the anti-spam capability.

Pros of Zoho mail

  1. No ads
  2. App like dashboard
  3. 20 Free accounts

2. Yandex Mail for Domains:

Russian most popular portal also offers email hosting for domains. It’s server is quite reliable in terms of uptime and features of the dashboard. Currently they offers 1000 free email accounts for your domain. The signup process is easy but available only in Russian. However, Chrome’s translations will be good option while this process.

Pros:

  1. Free 1000 email accounts
  2. Reliable server
  3. 10 GB free cloud storage for all your accounts.
Cons:

  1. Sign up Process is only available in Russian.

3. You Web host

Many of you are unaware that you may host your email at any web host like HostGator, Dreamhost etc. All of them are free and integrated in their dashboard. Just go to you Web Hosting Dashboard and find email or web mail link there. This is completely free and enabled in almost all types of shared hosting and VPS.

Pros:

  1. Free if you have web hosting
  2. Full html support
  3. No Ads

Cons.

  1. No spam filter
  2. Less secure
  3. Your mails could fall into spam folder

Top paid email hosting solutions:

4. Microsoft Outlook for domains:

This is no longer a free option. You will need to subscribe Office365 which is not a free service.

Yep, all knows the Outlook for domains will be at top. They offers good service and elegant dashboard. Unlike Hotmail and Live.com Outlook’s interface is decent and user-friendly and yes no crappy rich media ads. Microsoft Outlook for domains allow 50 users at sign up which can be increased further.

The best part of the service is the open registration. You can allow users to sign up for email address within your domain and act like an email service provider.

Pros of Outlook for custom domain:

  1. World class email hosting
  2. Good Anti-spam filter
  3. Virtually unlimited email accounts
  4. Act as Email service provider

Cons of Outlook for custom domain:

  1. Rich media Ads

5. Google Apps

Of course Gmail is the best free mail service. The business upgrade of Gmail will have no ads and 2.5 times more storage than normal Gmail account or Google Apps for free. However the cost is higher than other services but it is worth it. It will cost $5/month/user or if you want a vault then $10/month/user

Pros:

  1. Best Anti Spam filter
  2. No ads
  3. Multi-level Administrator
  4. A lot more than just email. (Whole bunch of apps like sites, Calendar, Google Drive)
  5. 25GB Email storage

Cons:

  1. More Costly

6. Yahoo Small Business

Yahoo Mail also do not need any introduction. They also offer a custom domain email hosting at $34.95/year for one account (no setup fee) or $9.95/mo. for 10 accounts (and a $25 setup fee).   The email storage will be unlimited with up to 20MB attachment size.

Pros:

  1. Reliable service
  2. Unlimited storage
  3. Norton Antivirus
  4. SpamGard Plus

Cons:

  1. Costlier

7. Rackspace Email hosting:

Rackspace email hosting solution is another reliable and premium email hosting allow users at $2/month. At this price users will get 25 GB storage per mailbox and can attach up to 50MB attachment. Users may also buy email archiving at $3/mailbox.

Pros:

  1. Cheap
  2. Reliable
Cons:

  1. Spam filtering could not be as good as Google, Hotmail or Yahoo mail.

It is important that all of the above paid email hosting provide you free POP/IMAP access to retrieve your mail into Outlook Express or Thunderbird or any such software.

If I have missed anything about Email hosting providers; share with use. I will include those in the next update.

How to setup Microsoft Outlook custom domain for free email hosting?

If you are looking for a custom domain email on a reliable host for free, then Microsoft Outlook is the best free solution. Microsoft Outlook custom domain allow 50 accounts/domain for your personal or small business use. If you need more than 50 accounts per domain then you will have to signup Office 365, which is quite costly at the moment. If you want to be email provider then Microsoft Outlook for custom domain is also best choice. You may do this without spending a single penny.

IMPORTANT: Microsoft has stopped new signup for free email hosting. If you are looking for another free alternative then Zoho Mail could be an option. It offers 20 free email accounts. Check top 6 free and paid email hosting solutions. For those who already have a free account, should create as much as account they need in future. Since you will no longer be able create new accounts in near future.

Outlook.com no longer offers support for new custom domain sign ups. New customers looking to manage custom domains are encouraged to use Office 365, Microsoft’s premium online service, which also includes enterprise-class mail, collaboration and communication tools.

Thanks to “Raja” for reporting us.

Recently, Google has stopped offering Google Apps for free. They charges are pretty high for any type of organizations. Well, I will not compare between the two services in the topic, but just helping you to configure Microsoft Outlook custom domain for free email. But first discuss about the features what Microsoft offers for free.

  • Email hosting
  • Maps
  • Profiles
  • Photos
  • SkyDrive
  • Groups
  • Calender.

All services are free and can be offered from a custom domain or sub-domain.

Setup Microsoft Outlook custom domain for email hosting:

Step 1:

Go to https://domains.live.com/Signup/SignupDomain.aspx. Fill the domain name in the box. If you don’t have any domain and want to purchase then you may buy from any Microsoft partners or buy from GoDaddy, Name.com or Dreamhost are best in the segment.

outlook-custom-domain1

Don’t forget to check “Set up Outlook.com for my domain” in “Choose mail service for your domain” on the same page [As shown in the image above]. You may also change this setting later, but who want to do that!  Now click “Continue”.

Step 2:

In the next step, you will be ask to setup domain administrator. [A domain administrator will be responsible for all activity in the Outlook custom domain account]. I will recommend you to use an existing account or account from outside the custom domain. Check “Sign in with an existing Microsoft account” and hit continue to login existing account. You may also sign up for a new outlook.com account if you don’t have any.

outlook-custom-domain2

After logging in to account Microsoft will ask you to review the settings and accept agreement just hit “I Accept” after review it.

outlook-custom-domain-agg

Step 3: Verifying domain and set up MX record

To verify domain name you will need to goto your domain registrar and add some records.

Add a txt record which will be in v=msv1 t=example, and

MX record which will be in “example.msv1.invalid”. Note the “example” part will be same.

You may refer to your domain registrar help topics for any help in configuring TXT and MX record. Now you will have to wait for sometime, until DNS is propagating across the globe. It may take from few seconds to 48 hrs. After some time hit “Refresh” button in the yellow alert box. When your domain got verified the domain will be ready to use and you may create your first free custom email on outlook.com platform.

outlook-custom-domain-verification

Once the domain got verified you will see a green indicator and active status in the domain dashboard of your account. [As shown in the image below]

outlook-custom-domain-dashboard

Step 4: Create an email id with custom domain

Once your account is verified and active you may navigate to dashboard and click on the domain under which you want to create email/account. Their will be a form asking to fill some info. Just fill those and create your first email id with custom domain. the important thing is “Account name” in the form. it will be the email id and may have alphanumeric, periods, hyphens and underscore.

outlook-custom-domain-create-email

After creating the account you may ask user to login and accept terms and conditions. Also their will be an account reset question for your users, which will be asked at first login.

Benefits of Microsoft Outlook custom domain over Google Apps!

  1. Microsoft offers these apps for free.
  2. Up to 500 users 50 may be added just after signing up. (Now, you can’t get more than 50 accounts per domain)
  3. You may also offer your site visitors to sign up email ids with under your domain.
  4. Outlook.com offers unlimited storage. So, you will never required to delete mail.
  5. You may also offer maps, skydrive and other services from your domain/sub-domain

If you have any query or problem let me know by commenting below. Don’t forget to share this post on Google+, Twitter or Facebook, if you liked it.

Quick Tip: If you are now able to receive emails to your newly set up email accounts then make sure that there is no other MX records pointing to @ or the naked domain.

I have recently got a chance to log into someone else’s account and fix the issue. I successfully fixed the issue. It was the wrongly configured.

Please ask all types of Domain Setup, Web Hosting Setup and WordPress related questions to our forums