Normally when you sign up for an online email service such as Outlook.com or Gmail.com, your email address points to the domain name of the email provider. So if you sign up for a Gmail email account your email address is displayed as firstname.lastname@example.org, or whatever the domain is of your email provider. Normally this is OK for most individuals needs but it is normally thought of as unprofessional for companies to use this method. Think about it, what if an established company such as Pepsi gave their email address as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org? Now you can say that large companies like Pepsi use their own email servers. This is true, with their budget they can very well afford a data-center with supporting I.T. infrastructure just to handle emails, but this article is not for large corporations. This article is for the individual or small business who use emails in their customer interactions. That is the business person who is trying approach an established entity such as the government or ‘corporate Jamaica’. Instead of providing your email address as email@example.com, wouldn’t it look more professional to provide your contact email address as info@hbccontractors? Now it should be noted that even though most webmail services are free, if you want your own domain name in your email address, you are going to have to spend a little. Firstly you are going need to register your chosen domain name (e.g. www.hbccontractors.com), and this cost around USD $8 for one year.
If you are ready to proceed, lets establish some requirements:
- A registered domain name.
- Access to your account’s DNS editor with the ability to add a MX and TXT records.
- A Windows Live/Outlook account.
Now that we have all the above requirements, let begin!
- Go to domains.live.com, you will be asked to log in. Use the Windows Live/Outlook.com account you created earlier. See screenshot 1
- At the next screen, enter your registered domain name in the “Provide your domain name” section and select the option “Setup Outlook.com for my domain”, Then click “Continue”. See screenshot 2
- The next screen will ask you confirm your settings, answer a Captcha puzzle and accept those settings. Accept and continue. See screenshot 3
- This new screen gives you a yellow banner telling you to confirm ownership of the domain you are using. This page will provide you with some information you need to add to MX and TXT records. See screenshot 4
- In this step you have to log in to the account you got when you signed up for the domain name. Then you have to find the options for “DNS configuration”/”DNS Zone Editor”/”MX Entry”. The name of option varies by registrar/web host, you may have to contact support for assistance.
- Once you find the option, you are going to add 2 records. One is a TXT record, the other is a MX record. You are going to add the information provided by Outlook.com (please copy and paste to avoid errors).
- Once you entered the information in your DNS editor, go back to the Outlook.com page with the yellow warning banner and click the “Refresh” button.
- If step 6 worked you will get an option to create “Member” accounts. You can create 50 email accounts. See Screenshot 5
If all went well you can go to Outlook.com and log in to your email account with your custom domain name e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org
Side notes. Most webhosting accounts come with a free email account and domain name but some ask you to pay for extra webmail account or limit storage capacity for emails, some even limit the number of emails sent in a month. It was once possible to use Gmail to do the above procedures but Google recently start charging for access to this service. It may be possible with other webmail providers such as Yahoo (i haven’t checked) but i prefer Outlook.com user interface and integration with Windows 8.
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