Email hosting is a very valuable resource these days, with the explosion in demand for email services and the huge number of people who send and receive email messages every day. It can be a very attractive option for companies, especially as a means of gaining new customers.
Companies that offer this service necessarily have large server resources. Here’s why: Email hosting is potentially a very large enterprise, depending on how many bells and whistles are offered. It means that a company offers to perform email functions for customers. These functions can be as basic as send and receive and as complicated as database processing and global searching.
By agreeing to provide email hosting, a company must necessarily agree to maintain the security of its clients' email accounts, as well as the reliability of the servers on which those email accounts are stored. It is common practice for a company that offers hosting to store its customers’ email archives on its own servers. Because of the always-on nature of email, the company that offers this must also have server power that is always on.
Email hosting is provided by companies large and small. Such well-known companies as Yahoo!, Google, and Microsoft offer the service. It is the stated intent of these companies to offer email as a stepping-stone toward signing up users for even more services. Yahoo! and Microsoft, in particular, offer so many services that some users can meet all of their Web needs without ever leaving the pages hosted by those providers.
When provided by such large companies, email services are usually free for the most basic suite of services. More complicated needs, especially storage of email messages, routinely cost extra. Some smaller companies offer free email hosting; others charge for it. The incredible variety of options available make it a buyer’s market.
Email hosting commonly uses Web-accessed email programs or websites. Traditional email use, via applications that reside on individual computers, is rare in this realm. As such, the common practice of going online to download email messages, responding to those messages offline, and then reconnecting in order to send responses to those messages is not possible when using Web-accessed email. The flip side of this is that users are not tied to their individual PCs, because all they need to send and receive email messages is a computer and an Internet connection.