Hosting Your Business Email For Free with Zoho Mail

UPDATE : The article was featured on hacker news. People really liked the post and expressed their views.

Read : Hacker News Featured Article

Every  company needs business emails to interact with clients, customers, run day to day operations. I have found many startup entrepreneurs whose website is hosted, they are running business but they don’t own business emails. Most of them interact with their personal emails ids with company name appended in the end. This doesn’t look professional considering we have free business email hosting services.

This is mainly because of below reasons:

  • Most email services are paid. e.g. Gmail for business pricing is not free even to begin with.
  • Lack of knowledge that it can be setup for free.
  • Email Services which lack rich UI features like Gmail, Yahoo mail
  • Security of your email data

In a startup of 5-10 people, you want to spend every penny very cautiously. The blog is step by step guide for founders, entrepreneurs who want to host their business emails for free with Gmail like features.

The tool is Zoho Mail which I have been following for last 2 years. UI is cool with  both web client and Android App available. It includes services like Zoho Doc, Zoho Spreadsheet which is good enough for starting a business.

Zoho Mail Pricing

Zoho Business Email Mail Pricing

Zoho Business Email Mail Pricing

Zoho mail has almost all the features which an email client needs and you can start using for 10 emails for free.

5 GB/ user is reasonable to get started.


Few assumptions before starting step by step guide to setup your business email with Zoho.

  • You have bought a good domain from domain selling services like Godaddy.
  • You have write access to your hosting provider DNS records. You will need to modify your domain CNAME & MX records.

Zoho Domain Setup & Create Zoho Account

  • Choose free option from pricing window and click signup. You will be asked to input your domain name.
Zoho Business Email Add domain

Add domain

  • Add your domain name in the input box and click “Add Domain”.
  • You will be redirected to domain setup page.
  • Zoho Setup Window

    Zoho Setup Window

    Click “Setup <domain> in zoho” link.  You will be redirected to domain verification page.

Verify Ownership of your Domain

 You need to verify your domain to prove the ownership/authenticity to use the domain for business purposes.

  • Add Zoho CNAME on your DNS records(in my case Godaddy) as mentioned in this page.
  • After you have added Zoho CNAME record, click “Verify By CNAME

Configure Zoho CNAME in your hosting provider

  • Login to your hosting provider(Godaddy) and add Zoho CNAME record.
Add CNAME Records

Add CNAME Records

  • In Godaddy make sure you click save after adding the CNAME record else changes will not be saved.
  • DNS changes might take sometime from 5 minutes to 40 minutes.
  • Go back to your zoho account and click “Verify by CNAME“.
  • After you are done you will get congratulation window.
  • Your domain is verified.
Add First Zoho User

Add First Zoho User

  • Add your first business email here.
  • After this you will be redirected to email delivery configuration page.
Email Delivery Test

Email Delivery Test

Cool huh! but hey you are not done yet.

Setup Email delivery MX(Mail Exchange) Records

Godaddy MX Records

Godaddy MX Records

You need to configure MX records in your DNS provider. This is required for sending and receiving of emails.

  • Select your domain hosting provider.
  • You will see detailed steps for adding MX records.
  • Again login to your hosting providers( in my case Godaddy) and add mentioned Zoho MX records.  I had various other MX records mainly because i used Godaddy website builder for 1 month.
Godaddy MX Records for Email Delivery

Godaddy MX Records for Email Delivery

  • Make sure you delete all previous MX records. Wait for DNS changes to take place. In my case it was working in 5 minutes.

Eureka you are done with the setup.

Lets test it :)

Zoho Mail Delivery Testing

Zoho  Business Email Dashboard

Zoho Business Email Dashboard

  • Try sending email to any email id from your Zoho business email. You will be excited that your email outgoing ad incoming working perfectly.
  • Zoho  Business Email Delivery Test

    Zoho Business Email Delivery Test

  • You might face below error while sending email to your zoho business email.
  • Zoho Connection Error

    Zoho Connection Error

 “zoho mail Unable to connect SMTP, Port25Reason:Connection refused”

  • Don’t worry!  This comes because your DNS changes are not reflected yet.
  • Be patient! DNS changes might take 5-40 minutes

Congratulations! You are done with hosting your business email for free.

Zoho Mail is really helpful not only for new businesses but also for established businesses. You can buy premium plan as you grow but why pay money until your business has grown enough.

What do you guys think about Zoho service? Have you used any other service for free email hosting? Let me know in comments.

We write multiple articles on topic email in different domain. All email related articles you can find below:

For Spam Protection of your Marketing Newsletters, below free service will help you.

If you like my article please like our Facebook page and also follow us on Twitter.  For regular updates you can also subscribe to with your email.

  • Neha Chandra

    Nice Post! your post is very informative on email hosting and your provide complete guide! Thanks

  • Vishal Chopra

    Thanks for this tutorial and information. Currently, I am using Google Apps free trial of one month but after when it will be expired then I must join Zoho. Thanks in advance.

    • Abhay Kumar

      @vishalchopra13:disqus Great! this will save lot of your money.
      Feel free to ping in case you face any setup issues.

  • Abhay Kumar

    @@dongquiwan:disqus Dong Quiwan Great to know this.

    I am already using Zoho mail for Hackpundit. I want 5 extra mailboxes? Is it completely free!

  • Dong Quiwan

    Hi HackPundit Blog,

    Thanks for the info/review. I am glad to say that I have set up and successfully been using zoho mail :).

    Just to add:
    Anyone interested to sign up for zoho email hosting? AND get 5 extra mailboxes, which brings the total to 15 instead of 10 mailboxes. There’s an on-going promo which allows both the sender and recipient of zoho mail invitation to receive 5 extra mailboxes. Pls reply the thread here if interested, thanks!

    • Abhay Kumar

      I want extra 5 mailboxes. Is it free?

      • Dong Quiwan

        Hi Abhay, yes it is. The only catch is that one of us has to invite the other to sign up for a new business plan (it can be the free plan with 10 mailboxes already). In our case I could invite you through my existing zoho business account. Once you accept and fulfill the requirements set by Zoho, both of us would be eligible to claim the 5 extra mailboxes. Could you PM me at ?

        • Abhay Kumar

          I already have Zoho email account for hackpundit domain. This means I will already have 5 more mailboxes? How can I verify?

          • Dong Quiwan

            Unfortunately, it only works if someone with an existing zoho business plan invites someone to start a new zoho account. If you were invited/referred to zoho by someone through email, your admin may claim the 5 mailboxes by using the referral code sent to you by the referrer.

            Under ‘control panel’, click on ‘bonus users’ on the left hand pane.
            Fill and send the info in the page shown in my screenshots.

          • Abhay Kumar

            Thanks for the info!
            Really useful.

  • Chandan

    Nice Post! A complete guide to setup free email! Thanks Abhay!

  • Akshay Mohite

    Awesome post Abhay !
    Very well written and extremely useful for small team.