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Email domain hosting

When Vodafone shut its email services this year, we received queries from members asking how they could keep their emails in New Zealand. While Vodafone recommended customers sign up with webmail providers Gmail and Outlook, they are hosted on overseas servers.

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Having an email address that isn’t tied to your internet service provider (ISP) is a good option as it makes changing ISP easier. However, there are privacy concerns with storing data, such as emails, on overseas servers. Whatever data you store on an overseas server is subject to the laws of that country. Microsoft recently won a case against the US government after the tech giant objected to Hotmail emails being seized from an account stored on a server in Ireland.

What are your options for New Zealand-hosted email?

Your best option is registering your own domain name and using a local email-hosting company. Domain names are a website’s address, such as consumer.org.nz, but registering one doesn’t mean you have to create a website. You can use a domain for email only. Having your own domain also means you can create multiple email addresses. Registering jamesfamily.co.nz means you could have john@jamesfamily.co.nz and sarah@jamesfamily.co.nz as email addresses. The number of email addresses you can have is usually unlimited.

While it might sound daunting, setting up your own domain is as easy as following these steps:

Acquire a domain name

You can find available options on the Domain Name Commission website (dnc.org.nz). While you can’t register a name on this site, it does list the sites where you can (called registrants). Registering a domain name doesn’t mean you own it, rather you rent it. When registering, you specify how long you want it. Your options will range between one and five years. Registering costs about $30 per year, but varies between companies. If you use a company that hosts and registers your domain, try getting a package deal. A word of warning: if you forget to pay the “rent” on your domain name, someone else can snap it up and it’s a case of tough bickies.

Hosting and setup

Picking a hosting company is important. If you haven’t used one to register your domain name, you’ll need one now to host and store your emails. Be sure to choose an email host with plenty of space (look for at least a gigabyte if you’re wanting personal email addresses). Hosting companies charge about $5 a month and help you set up the email addresses linked to your domain name. If you want your data stored in New Zealand, there are a few hosting sites claiming to have servers and support based here. To be sure, we recommend contacting them and asking where their servers are physically located before signing up.

Access your email

For anyone moving from an ISP-provided email, such as Vodafone, to their own domain email, they have similar options for accessing emails. The majority of email-hosting sites include a webmail portal so you can log in from a browser on any computer or mobile device. Many also provide access through Outlook or another email client that can be installed on your computer. The hosting company should be able to help you set these up as each service has different settings.


By Erin Bennett
Technical Writer