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What is an email domain and how to get one for your business?

What is an email domain and how to get one for your business?

5
min read

Email is a key part of modern life. Whether for personal or professional use, the average person sends and receives multiple emails every day. 

Have you ever taken a closer look at any of those email addresses, though?

If you did, you would notice the wide variety of email domains on the emails in your inbox. That leaves the question — what is an email domain, really? 

Here’s what you need to know:

What is an email domain?

An email domain is the part of an email address that comes after the “@” symbol. If you use Gmail, for example, the domain name for your email address is gmail.com. Other common email domains you’ve probably seen include yahoo.com, hotmail.com, and outlook.com. 

What’s the difference between an email domain and an email address? 

It’s easy to confuse email domains and email addresses. Email addresses all have email domains in them, but your email domain is just one part of your email address. 

Think of it this way: your email address = [your username + @ symbol + your email domain]. 

Every email address is unique – they have to be. That’s how your email provider and other tools like Streak identify and sort contacts in your inbox. Using their unique email addresses, Streak will track your contacts to organize your conversations for you. 

The same email domain, on the other hand, can be used by thousands or even millions of different users. With common email domains like gmail.com, the username before the @ symbol is the only way to tell one email address from another. 

Using one of these generic email domains makes it hard to see when multiple people are part of the same company. Streak, for example, classifies an organization as a collection of people using the same domain. That's also how the average email user tends to understand and classify emails in their inbox, which is why it's so important for businesses to have a custom email domain.

Email domains show that different email addresses all belong to the same organization, but that only works if that organization uses a custom email domain.  

What is a custom email domain?

A custom email domain is specific to you or your business. Instead of your email ending in @gmail.com, your email address with a custom email domain would end in @yourdomainname. 

Select an email domain that captures your brand or personality. 

Why do businesses use email domains? 

If you send an email to an established business, chances are good that the email address you use to contact them won’t end in @hotmail.com. Or yahoo.com. Or gmail.com. You get the picture. 

Most likely, that business will have a custom email domain related to the company name. Even Google itself doesn’t use the Gmail domain — Google’s email domain is google.com instead. 

Businesses use these custom email domains to establish credibility and project professionalism. Sure, you could use a gmail.com email address for your business, but what a missed opportunity for branding that would be. 

For businesses, other benefits of using a custom email domain include:

  • Standing out from your competition
  • Establishing your brand
  • Staying out of customers’ spam filters
  • Standardizing all company emails
  • Granting you more control over employee email accounts

A custom email domain is much more powerful than a free email domain. It’s no surprise that so many businesses use them. 

What are the options for getting an email domain? 

If you’re interested in securing your own email domain, you have a few options. 

Option #1: Create your email domain with your web hosting provider

Anyone who has a website already has a domain name. The domain name on your website is what comes after www. in your URL, just like your email domain is the part of your email address that comes after the @ symbol. 

Say your website was www.yourbusiness.com. Your domain name would be yourbusiness.com. This domain name will be the email domain on your new email address, too. 

Go to your web hosting provider like Bluehost, Dreamhost, or Hostgator. All of these web hosting companies provide free email accounts with custom email domains for their customers. Once you’re logged into your account, create your new email address with any username you want in front of your domain. 

Option #2: Make your email domain with Google

Your other option for getting an email domain is creating email accounts through Google Workspace (Google’s premium email package) or Microsoft 365. 

Note: You will have to pay an extra fee for an email with your custom email domain through Google or Microsoft. That’s on top of what you already pay to own your domain name.  

Make your email domain with Google by visiting Google Workspace and filling out the signup form. In the form, enter your domain name. You’ll have to verify that you own your domain name later. 

Once you complete these steps, you can set up your own account with your custom email domain, e.g. yourname@yourdomain.com. 

How do you choose an email domain? 

If you don’t already own a domain name, you have complete freedom now to choose your new domain name and email domain. 

Your email domain will often be one of the first things people see when they contact you. It should spark interest and create a strong impression. 

Business owners often use their business names (or close variations) as their email domains. For personal use, you might want to make your email domain your full name. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s professional and appropriate. 

Sometimes, the email domain you choose isn’t available. They’re exclusive, so if someone already has the email domain you want, you’ll have to select another one. 

Are there any risks or pitfalls to be aware of when considering using an email domain?

Try not to rush through the process of choosing and creating your custom email domain. Using a custom email domain offers several benefits, but it has some risks, too. 

When you’re considering using an email domain, apply these tips:

  • Make your domain easy to spell and remember.
  • Choose the .com extension whenever possible.
  • Watch out for awkward words if you abbreviate (e.g. packagesex.com for a company called Packages Express).
  • Stick to simple, pronounceable domains — no symbols or numbers.
  • Keep your email domain short and sweet.

The goal of using a custom email domain is to take your email address to the next level. Make sure the email domain you choose doesn’t stand in the way of that goal. 

Now that you know the answer to the question “what is an email domain?” it’s time to decide whether to choose one of your own. What’s the best email domain? What about the worst? Let us know in the comments below!  

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