Why everyone should have their own domain name

By tonyhughes Hughes, in , posted: 15-Dec-2007 21:42

I have about a dozen domain names. A few are for pet projects, like myAsterisk.co.nz which contains lots of web content, while another is my primary personal email domain (tall.co.nz), which although it has some subfolders for works-in-progress and photos etc, doesn't actually have any content (yet) at the root of the domain.

Others still are domains I own for speculative reasons, or .com versions of some of my .co.nz domains.

But the main reason everybody should own their own domain name, is for email.

Sure, you may think that your ISP email suits your needs, you may had the address for ten years or more, perhaps you have had a Hotmail address from day dot, or perhaps you have made the switch to newer services like Gmail.

The big guns like Hotmail and Gmail will be around for a long time, and if your ISP may not be about to go down the tubes, but what if you choose to move?

Lets say you are on an ADSL connection with your ISP, then a cable provider moves into your area and starts offering 25Mbit connections for only a few more dollars. If you chage ISP, then you will lose your email address, or at the least, have to pay a few dollars a month to retain the old address.

Gmail and Windows Live Mail services are great, but again, if you use the @gmail.com or @hotmail.com as your email address, you are tied to that service in some way for a very long time - yes, with Gmail at least you can forward all your mail to another provider, but what if they start deleting accounts for inactivity timeouts?

Heres what I do:

I have about 5 Gmail addresses, and they are all permanently forwarding to my primary Gmail address. I have the domain tall.co.nz, and that is hosted on a server I control - i.e. I create and administer all the mailboxes on my domain.

My primary email address forwards to my Gmail account, but still retains a copy of my mail on my server.

Day to day, I use Gmail to login, read, reply and create email, with all my outgoing addressing set to tall.co.nz.

If Gmail is ever down, I login to my own servers webmail, and use that (I could just use it full time, but I do like the Gmail interface).

If I ever leave Gmail for a different service, I could just forward all my domain email to the new service. Its transparent to the people I have email contact with - they can always email me at tall.co.nz regardless of where the mail actually sits behind the scenes.

You can get a .co.nz domain for around $30 a year (I use Discount Domains), and a .com domain from around $15 a year. You dont even need a server to host anything, you can just carry on using the same email service you have now, and forward all your domain email to it. Give all your contacts your new me@mydomain.co.nz address, and if you ever move providers, redirect your domain to your new ISP mailbox.

Easy. Why wouldn't you do it?

Even people who aren't geeky, and just communicate with friends and family around the world - you will probably us email for the rest of your life - why not own the address you use, and know that you will never have to change it?

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Comment by muppet, on 16-Dec-2007 10:47

I'm curious why you would use Gmail when there's good free webmail applications out there? Is it just the fact that Gmail is less hassle than having to keep your webmail/imap software up to date? I used to use Gmail, but once I started to get mail delivered to my machine, the only thing I use Gmail for is offsite storeage for my site's database, I encrypt, zip and email it to my gmail account each night. I fully agree with what you're saying though, a domain name is very cheap these days and it's an address for life. My email is what I write on luggage tags etc, it's the one thing I know won't change as I move around the world. I also love that I can ssh to my email address. Geeky.

Comment by muppet, on 16-Dec-2007 10:50

Sorry, ignore my question. I just saw where you said you like the interface.

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