So, you've taken the first big step into the world of the web and you've got yourself an Internet identity - you have bought your own domain name! And the first thing you probably want to do is use your domain name for email. That means TWO different things:

 
 
 
 

 

  1. You need to be able to receive emails sent to you@your-domain.com
  2. When you send emails you want the person receiving the email to see that it has come from you@your-domain.com. And if that person hits their "reply" button, you want his/her email software to automatically insert your proper email address in the "to" field of the email they are composing.

Now it is quite amazing how many people and businesses fail to take care of this second point. Truly amazing. Failing to use your own domain name as the "from" address when sending emails is perhaps the biggest single mistake you can make with email! Why so? Well apart from the fact it doesn't look good, it completely cancels out the principal reason for buying and using your own domain name in the first place. Instead of using your own identity it locks you into the identity (email address) provided by your ISP (the folks who provide your Internet connection). All the while you are sending these mis-addressed emails your contacts are getting the wrong email address added to their address book! Should you ever change ISP then if these good people try to contact you their emails will bounce.

OK - so what's the solution?

On the face of it the solution is extremely easy. If you use desktop email software such as Outlook Express or Eudora, then you simple set your correct email address in the setup options (when it was installed it was probably set up with the email address given to you by your ISP). So you just go in and modify that.

Other software will have similar ways to set up your email address.

It's really that simple? Maybe! Try a test. Try sending an email to yourself (or to a webmail account, or to a friend).

There are two parts to the test:

  1. As you look at the email in your inbox - does it display the correct identity? i.e. something like you@your-domain.com
  2. Hit your "reply" button. What address is automatically entered in the "to" field? Is it you@your-domain.com? If that's all OK, you've done it. You're lucky.

However quite possibly you will find yourself unable to send any email at all if you have changed the email address in your software setup from the one given to you by your ISP. There are a lot of ISP's who will not let you send email using their mail server when you use your own domain as an email address (Actually a few ISP's run a system where they will let you do this so long as they know about it. They put your domain name on an "approved" list and once that's done you're good to go. For example, In the UK, British Telecom run such a system).

What can I do if my ISP is blocking the use of my domain name?

Well if you contact your ISP they might suggest that you "transfer the domain name" to them. We suggest you don't! We think that's a racket to try to get you to put all of your eggs in one basket (their basket naturally!). Your ISP provides your Internet connection (broadband, dial-up etc). If they do a good job of that, stick with them. But you don't need them to provide anything else! You are not obliged to use your ISP's mail server ("SMTP server") to send mail! If you have a web hosting account you already have your own mail server built in. Alternatively many webmail accounts offer an SMTP server for relaying outgoing mail. For example Google's Gmail or Yahoo!'s web mail service Here's how to change your email software so as to bypass your ISP's mail server and allow you to send email using your domain name:

1. Find out the name of the SMTP server you are going to use. For example if you had a hosting account with us your mail server would be mail.your-domain.com. Yahoo!'s web mail SMTP server is smtp.mail.yahoo.com. GMail's SMTP server is smtp.googlemail.com.

2. Go to the setup options in your email software and change the outgoing mail server (SMTP server) to the value of (1) above.

3. Make sure that "authentication" is enabled and that the authentication user name/password combo is correct.

That should do it!

Try a test and see what happens. Certainly with any ISP we've ever come across one of these methods will work. Either you can use your ISP's outgoing mail server and you just set your email address correctly in your setup options. This is the easiest approach and so it's the recommended approach. Or you setup your software to use a different mail server (and enable authentication). If you still can't get it to work - change ISP!