Using pobox.com redirection and a free webmail account to host branded email for a domain

A friend registered a domain name, and wanted to send and receive branded email using that domain. If your project has a modest budget, you can send and receive branded domain email using a combination of a free webmail account and a pobox.com redirection account for US$20/year.

you can use pobox.com as your receiving post office, and have it forward your inbound email messages for that domain to a free webmail account. You can use the pobox.com SMTP server as an outbound SMTP gateway, with username and password authentication.

By publishing SPF and DKIM records in the DNS zone file for your domain, you can greatly increase the chances that branded email sent via the pobox.com server will be accepted by the remote party and not be mistaken for spam.

Checklist: what you need for branded email:

A domain (example.com)

a DNS control panel for the domain (I don’t let my hosting ISPs get my control of my DNS, I control it via the free DNS control panel that came from my registrar, GoDaddy.) You could probably do the same with your registrar.

A free webmail account (for example, a free @gmail.com account).

A pobox.com redirection account (US$20/year)

Setting up DNS

Log into DNS control panel

create MX records for your domain:

MX @ mx-1.pobox.com priority 12
MX @ mx-2.pobox.com priority 24
MX @ mx-3.pobox.com priority 36

create SPF and DKIM records:

TXT “v=spf1 include:pobox.com”

For the DKIM record, refer to the custom value generated for your domain, and available in the control panel for your pobox.com account.

Setting up a mail client

Start with an email client, like the Mail app on an iPad or iPhone.

Instead of choosing a branded email service with a logo, like Gmail or Yahoo, choose “other” and define a custom email service.

Name: Firstname Lastname
Email: firstname.lastname@example.com
Password: passwordforgmailaccount
Description: firstname.lastname@example.com

Incoming mail server

Host name: imap.gmail.com
User Name: username@gmail.com
Password: passwordforgmailaccount

Outgoing mail server

Host name: smtp.pobox.com
username: username@pobox.com
password: passwordforpoboxaccount

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