Web Hosts Mail Forward/SMTP Gmail Hotmail/Outlook Zoho

When you have a web host account; your own web address, you want a reliable email platform in which to receive your emails.

Main choices:

My mail forwarder for many years has been either Gmail or Hotmail, but more recently due to unreliable login and forwarding issues with Hotmail Ive been looking at an alternative. Gmail has been excellent, but sometimes it takes 1/2 hour to forward the email depending on their system activity.

ZOHO MAIL has been around since 1996, and is a popular option for many users, initially myself included, and that's what this Blog is mainly about.

To forward your Cpanel incoming to Zoho mail is just the same as any other you can see here:

Any of these addressees will theoretically be forwarded directly to myemail@zoho.com. Unless zoho.com interferes with their delivery.

Therein lies the first problem. Zoho.com has a reputation for flagging emails as spam even when they are not. You can Google 'zoho mail spam undelivered' to see this problem.

If you flag a deliverer as whitelisted, the mail can repeatedly be refused. Note that this is a REFUSAL not spam; so you never get to see the mail in your ZOHO spam folder or for that matter anywhere!

As an aside, I have never had this problem with Hotmail or Gmail; they do put mail into spam (Gmail much less than Hotmail) but I cant recall ever losing a mail by those 2 services, whereas with ZOHO in 1 month Ive lost plenty.

Note that as a web host, you will undoubtedly have CONTACT form on your site, includes senders email address. Using PHP the default sender is usually class.phpmailer. With some mail services like Gmail you can add From_Name as the sender, but with ZOHO, unless you change your MX records on your server you must use yourname@zoho.com as the From_Name sender. This will likely apply to cpanel mail accounts as well, to avoid spoofing. Its not a major loss as the sender email is still available as Reply To.
To summarise ZOHO mail is potentially the best of the 3 mail services, but due to losing so many emails I could not recommend it.

YOUR OWN SMTP MAIL SERVICE did you realise that you have a perfectly good email service on your host in Cpanel? With this service you can use Thunderbird or whatever mail client you are currently using to get and send your mail through your own server. This is the option I do recommend.
Instead of using email forwarding in your cpanel go Email Accounts set your domain mail account up according to same page documentation and to get client details click on Set Up Mail Client and it shows what parameters you need to enter in to Thunderbird etc. You can route all your domains through this newly created one by using option Forward/Add Domain Forwarder. 

  1. Sender parameter may have to be changed from 'AutomatedSender@localhost' to eg 'account@myserver.com' to avoid same problem as with ZOHO; to avoid email spoofing - sending email as "bob@example.com" when that account doesn't actually exist. This will show as a 'mail not sent'.
  2. Email sent but not getting through: Ensure to remove old forwarding addresses otherwise they take priority and your new local service wont route the mail; the forwarder will. Likewise ensure to name your other domain email accounts with an address that is unlikely to be used as incoming eg account@mydomain.com  NOT admin@mydomain.com as any email to admin@mydomain.com will not be forwarded to the catchall Domain forward, but to local webmail host instead.
  3. 'Mail not sent' you must be accurate with your smtp name, port and password. Sometimes you may need to switch from SMTPAuth to SMTP before it works.
  4. Depending on your development platform you may not be able to send test email if you are logged in as admin.

If anyone is unsure of how to set up their host mail service I do believe there may be tutorial video in Cpanel support.

Kind regards, and God Bless,

Alistair George.