You are one of the cool web kids? You like flat design, use preprocessors, your code is under version control, you install components with a dependency manager and your code is based on a decoupled framework. You call your websites Apps and host them on a new PaaS (such as ours). But your domains are registered where again? And where are your e-mails hosted?
Monolithic frameworks are out, component based collections like the new Laraval 4 and Symfony are a better approach. I believe that the same light weight set up could apply to our hosting and web services as well. The old price dumping mass hosting services sucks and must be replaced. There are great new specialized services for your needs:
- Simple CMS: Squarespace, Virb …
- Portfolios: Cargo, Carbonmade
- Blogging: WordPress.com, Tumblr, Blogger, Scriptogr.am
- eCommerce: Shopify, Big Cartel
- Static Pages: GitHub, Amazon S3
- Personal Splash Pages: Zerply, About.me, Falvors.me
- Professional Developing: Heroku, Appfog, Dotcloud, Pagodabox, Cloud Control, Fortrabbit and even more
But to have your business up in the interwebs you will most likely need a memorizable addreess, a TLD. And you might also need to send and receive mails from this address. All the services above offer you a way to connect your domain, but that’s it no service will host your domain nor your mails. So where to go then?
In decoupled thinking domain and e-mail are two different things. So we are looking for two services: One to order and transfer domains and to manage DNS settings. One to set up and configure new mail addresses and to receive, SPAM filter, store and send mails from.
It’s really hard to find a service that does only domain hosting out there. Domains are usually not a product of it’s own. They are often part of old school hosting plans, you know the ones that start with check domain name availability now. However some hosters offer dedicated domain (and mail) packages. Luckily there are some new specialized services: iWantMyName and DNSimple just doing domain management. Both services match perfectly to decoupled thinking and the above services. In Germany United Domains, Schlundtech are also single purpose domains registration services, a bit more old school. Domain Factory and Host Europe offer packages with Domain AND Mail.
That’s more complicated. E-Mail hosting must be very reliable, SPAM has to be handled. The big elephant in this room is Google with Apps for Business – that’s just like Gmail, but for your own domain. Google is international and will probably never go down. It also comes with extra features: Calendar, Docs and Drive. There was even a freemium entry level, but the have just recently skipped that. Let me guess: They already destroyed the market and rule it now. Left competitors are: Zoho Mail, Rackspace Email, Fastmail (all in the US).
The usual extra business features for business e-mail are fine, but i am not quite sure if i will need them right now.
I would like to see more specialized professional services for domain management and especially for email hosting – E-Mail as a Service and Domain as a Service offers.
Our old hosting system MISH included Mail and Domain handling. These things kept us busy, so i am actually pretty happy that we don’t have to care about all this again on the new platform.
As the old system is closing in April 2013, i have to tell our existing clients how to go on now. Some of them might proceed with classical hosting, that’s ok, see my previous post for this. Others will hopefully migrate to the new platform. I would like to give them directions like this: »We are your web hosting partner, register your domains there, host your mails over there. All services are separated but fit well together.«