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How to create a business email (for free) – a step-by-step guide

Wondering how to set up a business email? Torn between Gmail and Outlook or looking for something in between? Simply follow our five steps to business email success

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We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality.

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According to a Verisign UK survey, 78% of UK consumers trust a business email more if it comes from a company-branded email address.

And, as you can set up a free business email, there’s no excuse not to do it as soon as possible.

More trust means a higher email open rate, and a better ROI for your email campaigns. On top of that, having a separate email account for your business is also incredibly useful for you – it's easier to track, easier to prioritise, and easier to manage.

If you aren't sure how to set up a business email account, this page is for you. We’ll talk you through the step-by-step process of setting up a business email for free, including how to register a domain name, choosing an email service, and setting up multiple users.



1. Register a free domain name

Your domain name is the address of your website, and forms the foundation of your business email. For that reason it should include your business name, or be as close to your business name as possible.

The easiest way to register a domain name is to use an internet domain registrar or web hosting company, such as Bluehost (our top ranked hosting provider for small businesses), or HostGator, our second best.

Read more: find out why we chose Bluehost as our number one hosting provider.

If you sign up for a hosting plan with any of the above hosting providers, you get a free domain name for the first year, with many web hosting companies offering free or discounted business email in the cost of their plans as well.

To get started, just select a hosting plan. You can choose either shared, VPS, or dedicated hosting (check out our guide on website hosting for more information).

Bluehost hosting plans

Now you’re ready to choose your domain name. If you choose one that’s already been taken, the registrar will show you alternatives that are closely related (i.e with different spellings or extensions). If it’s available, congratulations – you’ve taken the first successful step towards setting up your business email.

Bluehost success

Next, you’ll have to fill in all your personal and payment information in order to create your account.

In the example above, you’ll pay a total of £101.80 for the year, excluding any optional paid extras such as domain privacy + protection, which prevents your personal contact information from being publicly available, and SiteLock Security.

We’d recommend privacy + protection if you want to avoid being harassed, or don't want to risk your domain being transferred. You can decide whether or not you want any of the other optional extras at a later date.

Check out our full guide on how to buy and register a domain name for more information.


2. Choose an email provider

This may be decided for you. Many hosting providers work with an email partner, which will allow you to access free or discounted email services through your hosting plan.

Bluehost actually offers one Microsoft 365 Mailbox 30-day free trial with every hosting plan. One mailbox equates to one user. After the trial ends, you’ll have to upgrade to one of its three email plans, which all have reasonable starting prices:

  • Email Essentials – £2.15 per license per month
  • Business Plus – £4.32 per license per month
  • Business Pro – £7.20 per license per month

With HostGator, you can choose to add either Microsoft Office 365 (Outlook) or Google Workspace (Gmail) at checkout for £4.32 per month. Choose whichever best suits your needs.

Gmail or Outlook?

Ah, the eternal question, with no definitive answer. Both are equally professional, and both offer a host of useful features and functions.

Some find Outlook harder to get to grips with, but say it offers more options to customise your email to your own needs. Gmail is generally considered to be the more streamlined experience for day-to-day use. But if you use Microsoft’s suite of software more widely in your operations then it makes sense to use Outlook.

This article from ITPro, which puts the two email titans head-to-head, concludes there’s very little offered by either that would tempt anyone away from the other.



3. Create your email address

Great stuff – you’ve registered your domain name with a respectable hosting provider, and you’ve chosen your email provider. Now you’re ready to create your very own business email address. 

All you have to do is:

  • Log into your hosting account
  • Click on the ‘Email’ section
  • Click ‘Create’
  • Fill in the appropriate box with the business email and extension you’ve decided on (e.g. henry@coolfunkybusiness.com – in Bluehost this is under ‘Username’, while in Hostgator, it’s under ‘Email’)
  • Create a password using the password generator
  • Select whether you want a maximum storage limit or unlimited storage (you get unlimited storage on all plans with HostGator, so you might as well use it)
  • Click ‘Save’ or ‘Create Account’, and…
  • Hey presto! You’ve just set up your first free business email account
  • Check your email for a confirmation email

4. Access your new email account

Now you need to access your webmail to make sure you can send and receive emails.

You can pick any webmail application you like, just follow the instructions in the webmail section of your hosting provider. 

This is also where you approve which devices you want to be able to access your email from.


5. Set up multiple users

You can then repeat the above process to create more users (any personalised email address) using the same business email extension.

Once you upgrade to a paid plan, you’ll have pay for each additional user at the same rate as your plan. For example, if you opt for Google Workspace’s Business Standard plan (£8.28 per user per month) and have three users, you’ll pay £24.84 per month.

Group email aliases – such as sales@coolfunkybusiness.com or info@coolfunkybusiness.com – don’t count as additional users and so are included in the cost of your plan.


Final thoughts

There are many different ways to set up a business email. But if you’re setting up a business website and you need to pay for hosting anyway, we’d recommend setting up your business email through your hosting provider. It makes everything a lot easier, and means you can manage everything from one place.

If you choose any Bluehost hosting plan, you can use Microsoft 365 and Outlook for 30 days for free, with prices starting from £2.15 per month thereafter. HostGator's pricing plans start from £4.32 per month for either Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace.

There are other hosting providers to choose from, and other email services, but we think Bluehost and HostGator are great options for most small businesses.

Just follow the steps above, and you’ll have your business email set up in no time at all.


Henry Williams
Henry Williams

Henry has been writing for Startups.co.uk since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also contributed to many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Young Guns, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides. Before joining the team, he reviewed films for a culture website, and still harbours ambitions of being a screenwriter.