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The ideal email setup for businesses using WordPress

Lee Matthew Jackson
Lee Matthew Jackson

With a vast array of hosts available all offering low prices and bundling in your email hosting, it can be tempting to grab a cheap deal. However when focusing on site performance, and team productivity this is not necessarily the ideal email setup.

For example, several active email accounts on a server can create an unwanted burden on server resources and with something as business critical as email, we have recommended clients use third party email hosting solutions such as:

This is a growing trend in the WordPress industry with leaders in the field such as WP Engine (WordPress hosting specialists) adopting a policy of only hosting the website, and encouraging usage of third party services. Check out their blog here.

Reasons why hosting email on the same server is a bad idea

Let’s highlight 4 primary reasons that hosting email on the same server as your WordPress website is a bad idea:

Unwanted server load

Your email software is likely synchronising email every few minutes, along with your smartphone. Your account is also likely receiving email every few minutes and processing it. Multiply that activity by the number people in your company, and you can imagine that the server running your website is also receiving significant demand for your business email requirements. This can affect the performance of the architecture, and in turn of your website. It is often said a slow website is bad for SEO, and increases bounce rates.

Uses hard drive space quickly

If you send a PDF attachment of a few megabytes to a group of colleagues within your business, a copy of that file has been duplicated in every mailbox. So a 10MB file to 4 people is using 40MB of space on your web server (dependant of course upon server configuration as some systems are smart enough to store a file once). Also, with the volume of email coming into businesses, server hard disk space can quickly be used, especially if you are receiving documents or large files. Reduced hard disk space of a server will limit what can be uploaded to your website, and also likely affect server performance.


SPAM is a huge issue for many businesses, and every now and again, a business can find themselves the victim of a DDOS attack on their email. This means flooding email servers with tonnes of SPAM. Many cheap hosting solutions meant for websites simply cannot process huge volumes like this, nor have the necessary SPAM/DDOS protection to cope in these circumstances. The end result can be downtime of business critical email, and your website.

Eggs in one basket

By running 2 major business tools on the same server, you run the risk of both being affected in the event of downtime. If however you had email with a third party and your web server went down, you could continue to work with your support team to get your web server back online, as well as continue to communicate with your team and clients through email.

Our recommendation

We have found Google Apps to be the best solution for our business whilst we host our website with our UK hosting partner. Google has not gone down for us in the last 2 years, and we get the bonus of Google Drive to collaborate on documents and we can easily share access to our inboxes with colleagues.

Office 365 and Zoho both offer a similar services to Google, so be sure to check out their documentation, test out their services and see which one will suit your business needs best.

Setup a third party email provider

Setting up third party email provider is surprisingly easy, and all three we have mentioned today offer migration tools to allow you to pull all your email from your legacy email servers. The setup process is normally:

  1. Sign up for service
  2. Use migration tools provided to import your email, contacts and documentation
  3. Change your domain MX records (ask your domain registrar for help if needed) to point to the settings provided by your new email provider.

The MX records point to where your email lives, and changing these can take approximately 24 hours, therefore we usually perform migrations over a weekend, or at a point of least business activity dependant upon the client.

What are your experiences with Google Apps, Office 365 or Zoho? Do you have a great email setup you’d like to share? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

If you would like help in migrating your email, or would like consultancy on what would be best for your business, contact us today for a free initial consultation.



Lee Matthew Jackson

Content creator, speaker & event organiser. #MyLifesAMusical #EventProfs