Many people do not like putting their personal email address on a website, often for reasons of privacy but also because they prefer to keep church business separate from their private emails. You will often see a more generic email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org. How does the email get to its intended recipient?
Some website service providers will give you one or more mailboxes as part of their service. It’s not linked to any other email account and the secretary has the username and password details needed to access that email account. You may access it using webmail, or you can sometimes set up an email client such as Microsoft Outlook to download your email.
We at churchsite do not offer this service, and although it’s nice to have, it isn’t strictly necessary. There are a number of alternatives.
Free branded mailbox
There are quite a few very well known free email services such as gmail, hotmail, outlook.com, yahoo, etc. You can choose a name which aligns with your church, e.g. email@example.com. Because it’s not a personal address it’s perfectly reasonable to use this directly on your website.
This is a method of sending email from one address directly to another, e.g. from firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com. You can put the forwarding address on the public website and any emails sent there will be re-routed automatically to the private email account. This can be very convenient as Shula only has one inbox to check. But having one inbox is both an advantage and a limitation.
- It doesn’t separate church from personal email
- If someone else takes on the job then all the past emails are in Shula’s own inbox and not available to the new PCC secretary. The same is true of all the contact details that have been accumulated.
- When Shula replies, she is doing so from her own email address.
In this respect, using a separate free mailbox is a better solution in situations when the email is directed to a job title (secretary) rather than an individual (Shula).
Free mailbox with domain name
If you want a proper mailbox with your own domain name we suggest looking at Zoho Mail. There is a forever-free service offering 5GB mail storage and a single custom domain which is accessible as webmail. If don’t like webmail and want to use Outlook or another email client, then you need POP/IMAP access. You need a paid subscription for that, but it is very reasonably priced.