What is a custom domain email address?
Basically, this is an email address which uses your custom domain. So, instead of email@example.com we're talking about firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why would I want one?
This is one instance where it really is all about appearances. Gmail - and the like - addresses are fine, but custom domain email addresses just look a bit more professional.
How do I get one?
First off, you need a custom domain. I bought mine - www.babiafi.co.uk - from 123-reg.com for £3.49 per annum. If you have gone fully self-hosted with that domain, chances are your email will be bundled in with your hosting package. If, like me, you're just using a 'vanity url' (i.e. your own domain name and a redirect), you have three options.
1. Paid Hosting. I don't like spending money, so this one was straight out!
2. Yandex. Sign up is in Russian, but you can always use Google Translate - there's a step by step guide to it all HERE. I have no faith in Google Translate though, so went with...
3. Zoho Mail. Zoho offers you 25 unique email addresses, with 5GB mailbox storage per user. For free. Click HERE to sign up. After clicking on the free option you'll be taken to a new page and asked to input your domain name.
With that done you need to verify your ownership of the domain. To do this, log in to your custom domain account, i.e. where you bought your domain name from. Once you're into your advanced DNS settings there are three methods you can use to verify: CNAME, TXT or HTML. Whichever one you go with, Zoho's instructions are nice and clear so you shouldn't have any problems. I used TXT and it was all done and dusted in two minutes.
The next task is to set up your administrator email address. From there you can either create more users, or skip on to add MX records. This will require you going back into your domain name's DNS settings and adding a new MX type record. Again, the on screen instructions from Zoho are pretty fail safe.
You've Got Mail
No, really, you'll have the Zoho welcome emails waiting for you in your new inbox. You're now free to faff about with the settings, add new users, and promote your fancy new email address.
With that in mind, if you want to get in touch please feel free to email me at email@example.com. ;)