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How to create a free domain-based email for your blog with Zoho Mail

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Create domain-based Zoho email

I have made a free domain-based email for my self-hosted Wordpress website last year and just decided to create one for this Blogger website. What you'll get is a free email account with your own domain name. It's completely free, as in, no time limit unlike other providers. You can only create a domain-based email if, of course, you've bought your own domain name. For blogger users, that would be your custom domain name. Say, if your blog or website is www.yourdomain.com, you will be able to create an email with (let's say a local-part of admin) an address of admin@yourdomain.com.

The Free Lite Plan of Zoho Mail Suite offers a mailbox size of 5GB. You can upgrade (with payment) to Standard plans with 10GB and 15GB mailbox options.

This is going to be a two-part series of setting up Zoho mail for your domain.

Setting up Zoho Mail for own domain

Forwarding Zoho emails to your Gmail account

This post is for the first one. Without further ado, let's start.

Sign up for a free domain-based email at Zoho through this link.

Fill up the boxes with your information:

Setting up free domain-based email with Zoho Mail

After clicking the sign up button, you will be directed to a confirmation page where at the bottom, you have to click "Proceed to verify domain ownership".

There are three methods to verify domain ownership: CNAME, TXT, and HTML. I suggest to do the first option (adding CNAME) since I need you to get used to this process as we're going to need that later. Do you remember how you set up your domain name? You bought a domain name from a provider where you get to access how to change your DNS records.

On a new browser tab, access the panel of your DNS provider.

Log-in to your panel (like your account at GoDaddy.com, Pangalan.com).

Go to the part of DNS Zone or DNS Management.

Click ADD or New Record.

Go back to the Zoho Mail tab for adding CNAME. You are provided a name for CNAME. Put that as an input for name, for the type CNAME on your new DNS record with TTL of 300, and a value of zmverify.zoho.com.

On Zoho Mail tab, click on verify domain.

After verifying your domain, skip on Add Users and on the next page, skip on Create Groups. You can manage those later.

Change your MX Records to configure Zoho Email delivery:

Zoho MX record

As you can see from the above picture, you need to add 2 MX records of Zoho Mail. You must delete any previous MX records or else, you won't receive emails in Zoho. Only Zoho Mail's 2 MX Records should be present in your DNS Records now.

Again, on your DNS Records, click Add New Record.

With the type MX, input the name @, with a TTL of 600, priority 10 and value of mx.zoho.com.

Again, add new DNS Record.

With the type MX, input the name @, with a TTL of 600, priority 20 and value of mx2.zoho.com.

This is how the new DNS records should look like (I'm showing records for Zirev):

DNS records for Zoho Mail

The last row for new DNS record is for DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) so your email is verified by other email providers when you send an email to them. We will tackle this later.

Back on Zoho Mail domain setup tab, keep on clicking Next until you finish the process.

What you're skipping are Email Migration, Mail Client Configuration and Mobile Access. We are going to need those later if you want to forward your Zoho emails to your Gmail account.

You're done setting up a free domain-based email! You can access your Zoho email by logging in here. Now, proceed to linking your Zoho Mail with your Gmail account.

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