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Why having your website store your emails is a big no no

Lot’s of our people don’t know that their business email address (e.g. yourname@example.co.uk) doesn’t have to store emails on their website. Instead, their emails can be directed to professional email software, completely independent from their own website. 

Often, we see web design companies offering to set up their clients with a way of checking their emails through their website by going to a specific web address (e.g. yoursite.co.uk/mymail). 

While these “mymail” accounts might seem like added value, we don’t offer them. 

In fact, in our opinion, this sort of set-up should be completely avoided for quite a few reasons. 

You compromise convenience

First of all, these types of “mymail” platforms don’t offer anything close to the features you get with professional billion-pound email platforms. (We set all our customers up with a free business account with this type of company – see our website packages). 

These platforms not only allow you to have a professional business email address, but they also do so much more. For example, you can set up folders for specific customers, and access calendar applications to keep you organised. They also do a fantastic job at filtering spam. And, all of this is wrapped up in bank-level security features.

They also come with mobile apps included so you can keep up with your business on the go. 

These are all things that basic “mymail” accounts that a web designer sets your up with just can’t compete with. 

Your email is less secure

Let’s imagine two websites that get “broken into,” everything that’s stored on it is stolen and the passwords are changed.

Janet owns website one. Her emails are stored on a completely different platform from her website and she uses a service like our All-in-One management plan.  

While Janet knows having her website hacked is not ideal, she doesn’t panic. She knows that she doesn’t have any customer data on her site, so she just fires off an email to her website manager, who is able to then restore her site from a back-up copy. Within a few days, Janet’s site is back-to-normal. 

The worst that has happened? Her website has been offline for three or four days. Yes it’s annoying, but it’s not the end of the world.

Now, John owns website two. His web designer set up an email account for him to log into via his website (e.g. johnswebsite.co.uk/mymail). John loves this and thinks that it’s really convenient because all of his stuff is in one place. 

Unfortunately, the hackers have found the “.co.uk/mymail” login and try the same password that granted them access to John’s website. John didn’t use different passwords and there’s no two-factor authentication set-up.

The hackers send out scam messages, pretending to be John, accusing his customers of not paying him and demanding money. 

Now, John not only has to worry about getting his website up-and-running, but he’s also got a much bigger issue. His customer’s personal data has been accessed and stolen. Quotes, addresses, and bank details that he forgot to delete – everything. 

John now has to worry about reporting a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office, and he faces a big fine and critical reputational damage with his loyal customers. 

On top of this, professional email software has better spam protection, meaning that you’re less likely to have spam messages appear in your inbox, which themselves are sometimes a security issue. (See our article on how to spot a spam message)

It makes expanding your business a pain 

If you’re willing to forgive these points about convenience and security (you shouldn’t) then consider this: using a “mymail” account to manage your business emails might be ok now, but what about next year? What if you take on a new employee? What if you take on a bigger contract and need to do more and more things over email? 

These are all considerations that a standard “mymail” account will just end up being a hassle to use. 

Setting up an additional email account for an employee, and then closing it down if they leave, will take a painful amount of time. 

Sorting and manually searching through emails to dig out invoices for your accountant ends up taking hours. 

Want to create things like auto-reply messages, or custom-rules for specific emails? Cue more headaches, or not even being able to do this! 

It makes changing web-hosting providers really difficult 

Let’s say that you have a “mymail” type account on your website, but you grow unhappy with the web design company who has set up your website. 

You want to leave, and take on responsibility of web hosting yourself. 

In this scenario, the company should provide you with the necessary site files to do this and if they’re decent people, some instructions and help to go with this. But that’s typically where their responsibilities end.

On top of figuring out how to migrate website files and databases, you’ll also have to figure out how you point your business email address to your new hosting provider, who will themselves use a completely different type of “mymail” account that you’ll have to learn. Cue lots of evenings googling and testing everything works while also trying to manage your business.  

Now, let’s imagine a different scenario – let’s say you’re currently with us, but you want to leave (that’s completely OK, although our All-in-One service is hard to beat!) 

Not only do we offer a simple way of going it alone, but we also don’t see, touch or manage your email software. 

You can switch your website over to a self-hosted plan. After a few techical configurations, your emails will continue to flow to your independent email account and you won’t have lost any of your past emails.

Simple. No new logins to remember, no new system to master.

Closing thoughts: Why we don’t offer website email hosting

Like lots of things in the web business, knowing what service you need can sometimes be a little hard to understand. 

Hopefully, though, this short article has helped to set out why we think what we offer our customers is absolutely top-notch. 

We really have gone through what our small business and sole-trader customers actually need both now, and as their business grows, and we offer exactly that. And when it comes to business emails, that’s no different. 

No fluff. No gimmicks. 

More than that, though, we want to compete for business because we deserve it, not because we tie people in loops with technical jargon. We never want to leave a customer feeling as though they are somehow forced into paying for our services because leaving is just too difficult. 

Email systems play a massive part in that. 

Having one that is independent from the people who host your website makes it easier to switch providers, as well as being a more secure, more useful and more usable service.

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