Email is the unsung hero of most businesses. If you struggle with free or shared alternatives, a virtual private server from ScalaHosting may be right for you.
Like many critical technologies, many businesses spend a lot of time thinking about email until their email system fails or a key feature of a free service disappears. While collaboration tools and instant messaging are helpful, email remains the common denominator for communicating with customers, suppliers, and employees.
For businesses that have outgrown free services like Gmail and are tired of the brand-diluting impact of their customers receiving emails from [email protected] — or even worse, an address worthy of your youth like [email protected] – there are basically three options for email. At one end of the spectrum, you can purchase shared email services that effectively promise “best service available” from a pool of servers shared among users. At the other end of the spectrum, services like Microsoft 365 offer more complex messaging tools and other software at a high cost per user.
SEE: Recruitment Kit: Cloud Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)
A virtual private server strikes the middle ground, providing the benefits of a professional technology team maintaining the infrastructure with dedicated hardware for your business in the form of a virtual server. Companies like Scala Hosting allow you to configure exactly the hardware and disk space you need and easily upgrade or downgrade this service. Plus, you can add services to your Dedicated Service, from web hosting to automated backups and monitoring.
Unlike a shared email hosting account, having dedicated computing resources allocated to your email server means your company’s email services won’t be affected by what other businesses and individuals are doing. Think of a VPS as a sort of private highway. While shared roads are prone to traffic jams and accidents, a private highway can accommodate as many vehicles as you allow.
ScalaHosting: Messaging Features
In addition to the benefits of a virtual private server, ScalaHosting offers several important messaging features. Admins can create unlimited email accounts and manage unlimited domains with free domain registration or transfer included with the service. You can configure account-specific size limits for each user and quickly add, remove, or suspend users through a web portal.
Users can access their email accounts through a web-based email interface that can be customized with your company logo, as well as popular POP3 and IMAP protocols. The latter allows users to access email through a smartphone or a wide variety of email applications ranging from native Windows and Mac email apps to Outlook or other web interfaces.
ScalaHosting also includes advanced spam protection and 24×365 support. I tested support in the wee hours of the morning and within seconds I was connected to a live human through the chat interface who has quickly solved my problem.
The company also promises to prevent your email domain from being “blacklisted”. This often happens on shared or high-volume mail servers and risks sending your emails to spam folders or rejecting them entirely.
ScalaHosting: management capabilities
Most hosted services offer some sort of control panel, which allows the administrator to do everything from adding new email users to adding additional services like web hosting. Most vendors typically use a tool called CPanel, which was developed in the late 1990s. Although CPanel offers robust functionality, it’s not particularly intuitive and often incurs additional costs.
ScalaHosting offers users the choice between CPanel and its in-house developed portal called SPanel. SPanel is a more modern and lightweight management tool. I found the streamlined interface, quick loading and transitions, and more intuitive menu structure easier to use than CPanel’s icon wall.
For advanced administrators, ScalaHosting also offers command line access via SSH. However, for email hosting, SPanel or CPanel is probably much easier to manage for most users.
You might expect signing up for a VPS to be a little complicated, but ScalaHosting has simplified the process while providing great flexibility. You can subscribe to a plan for as little as a month, with discounts starting at the one-year mark. In my test case, the price for a standard configuration on a monthly payment schedule was around $50. This VPS could probably support hundreds of users, resulting in a low cost per user.
On a single screen, you can select the length of your subscription, determine which management tool you want to use, and customize your server.
Options are clearly explained and pricing is transparent, with a running total displayed on screen. Once you have selected your plan duration and customized your server, you have the option of registering a new domain or transferring an existing domain. A domain registration is included if you purchase one year of hosting.
Finally, you can create an account and provide a payment method, and your server is provisioned with the options you specified. Online help is available during the registration process and they responded quickly when I asked a question.
There are some nuances in setting up your new VPS to work with an existing domain. ScalaHosting provides an email with the servers that need to be added to your domain’s MX record, which you typically complete with the company providing your domain’s registration if you choose not to transfer or create your domain with ScalaHosting .
Once complete, you can add users through the control panel, configure user mail programs or webmail access with information provided by ScalaHosting, and start using your new mail server.
Note that due to the vagaries of the global internet, there will likely be a short transition period between your old and new mail servers if you are transferring a domain, so allow for a day or two when some emails may arrive on your new server while some arrive on your old server. Performing registration on weekends or after hours can reduce the challenges of this transition.
While email is taken for granted in many businesses, having a dedicated VPS can keep this essential service running at peak performance. ScalaHosting’s SPanel, streamlined signup, and easy management make their professional email hosting worth considering if you’ve outgrown free or shared email services.