New email host wanted - recommendations please.

  Peter Lanky 18:11 15 May 10
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My 2 children and I all have free hosting accounts with Heart Internet, which is stopping free accounts from the end of the month. We all have our personal domains, and want to transfer these domains a new free supplier in order to have multiple email addresses as we have at the moment. Website hosting would also be nice, but is not a must have.

Can anyone recommend a good free host where it would be straightforward to transfer our domains. I would must rather have a recommendation than taking the lottery of searching for something, having to register and then finding that it's not what I want anyway.

  PrefabSprout 20:06 15 May 10

First - you can still keep your domain registered at Heart ( I don't see any reason why you need to transfer the domain to another registrar) but turn off the free hosting & free email hosting, and change the domain DNS so email hosting is pointing elsewhere.

I have used Google Applications for a long time, and for free you get 7GB email accounts for your domain. You also get Google services free as well - Calendar, Sites and Documents, all using your own domain (don't confuse this with regular Gmail - this is something different). click here

Hotmail also do something similair called Windows Live Admin - again they provide email, calendar, office suites for your domain, but is not as good as Google, its fairly limited in features.

Beyond that, paid email hosting is your best bet - Fastmail, Tuffmail, EuMX, Rackspace to name a few charge £10 upwards to host your domain's email.

Heart Internet have one-click settings to enable your domain to work with Google Applications if you decide to go with Google Apps and keep your domain at Heart.

Hope this helps.

  Peter Lanky 20:18 15 May 10

That sounds useful. I'm not sure how one changes the domain DNS to point elsewhere. Do I need cooperation from Heart Internet to do this, or can I do it by logging into my Nominet account?

I wanted to ask Heart to help in the process of changing (before this response), but when going to their online help, there is a message telling me that as this is a fee hosting package, no support is available, so I didn't go any further, expecting the generic answer.

  PrefabSprout 20:29 15 May 10

Peter, you should be able to manage the DNS for your domain by logging into Heart Internet, then clicking on Manage Domain Names, then under either Manage Domain Names or Manage Web Hosting Domains, click on the required domain, then you will get the control panel for the domain. In the list of icons, you should see DNS management. This is where you'll find all the records for mail, CNAME, A and text records.

  gmark 03:59 16 May 10

I too was hosted with Heart using on of there free accounts. Came as a big shock and caused quite a panic until a friend recommended another UK basd free hosting provider. They even offered me a free transfer!

Their free hosting page can be found at click here

Good luck.

  Taff™ 06:15 16 May 10

Personally I would recommend you stay with Heart unless money is so tight you can`t afford £3 a month for their Starter Pro Package which will give you exactly what you want plus web hosting.

If you look in the Webdesign forum you`ll see that many of the experts there recommend Heart including FE himself. I have several clients that have tried Free hosting packages and they all fail to meet expectations at some point.

I took a look at gmark`s recommendation. There is a setup fee of £7.99 PLUS £9.99 for each domain name other than .co.uk domains. If you compare the features of both Heart wins every time. I followed the recommendation three years ago and haven`t regretted it once. I now host several business websites for clients who have transferred their domains for me to manage for them on Heart. Private clients also have their domains with Heart which is hassle free.

You have to ask yourself the question as to why a company would host mail servers and websites and offer it for "free" when it obviously costs money. Perhaps like Heart it was a way to increase their customer base but not commercially viable on a long term basis.

  Peter Lanky 08:55 16 May 10

Taff, It wouldn't be such a problem but because we have three Heart accounts, we are talking over £100 a year (these companies always conveniently fail to mention VAT in their prices). IMHO, £100 is far too much for simply having an email facility, hence my desire to change.

  Peter Lanky 09:56 16 May 10

I've decided to have a go with Google Apps ...seems straightforward enough. I now have to wait up to 48 hours to see if everything works. Fingers crossed.

  Forum Editor 10:23 16 May 10

host a domain with heart - use their basic package, which is very cheap - and then set up your mailboxes on that?

You can have as many as 1000 separate mailboxes, and although you say you all have your own domains it might not be such an imposition for you all to have email addresses at one of them.

  Peter Lanky 19:24 16 May 10

I've done exactly what PrefabSprout suggested and left my domains at Heart and used Google Apps to host my email. So far it seems to be working OK.

  gmark 21:51 16 May 10

Taff Freevirtualservers actually waived the set up when I said I was migrating from Heart

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