What is hosted Exchange email? To answer this broader question we must break it down into two smaller questions, and define all of the words in ‘hosted Exchange email’ in isolation.
Now, assuming we’re all on the same page about the definition of ‘email’, that leaves us with ‘What is hosted email?’ and ‘What is Exchange email?’
What is hosted email?
Put simply, hosted email (or email hosting) is an email solution hosted on a provider’s email servers. In the past, if a company wanted to have their own email solution they’d have to install, operate and run their own email servers on-premises, but hosted email allows businesses to rent server space from email service providers.
What is Exchange email?
Exchange email is an email protocol developed by Microsoft as an alternative to POP3 and IMAP. While fundamentally all three protocols are just different ways for a user to read their emails, Exchange email also allows for better integration of additional email features such as shared contacts and calendars. This allows a business to easily sync contacts, diaries, calendars, tasks, etc. with all of their employees.
This extra data is stored on an Exchange server, so individuals can send requests to the server to, say, book a meeting and see, right from their email client, which of their colleagues are available to attend at any given time. IMAP and POP3 are just email protocols, so don’t allow for this extra functionality.
So, what does hosted Exchange email mean?
From that, we can add together those definitions to say that, intuitively, hosted Exchange email is an email solution hosted on a Microsoft Exchange email server.
Benefits of hosted Exchange email
Hosted Exchange is the ideal email solution for SMEs who want powerful, reliable email, but don’t have the skillset, resources or desire to run their own email servers in their own datacentres.
- Cost-effective. Hosted Exchange lets you rent space in an email service provider’s datacentre, which for smaller businesses is a much more cost-effective method over having on-premises email servers.
- No technical knowledge needed. Because you’re renting space in someone else’s data centre, it means that all of the technical aspects of managing an Exchange email server are taken away from you.
- Customised email address. One way hosted email differs from free webmail solutions like Hotmail or Gmail is that with hosted email you have the ability to run email accounts with personalised email addresses. Instead of having to choose from available @gmail.com or @hotmail.com addresses, with a hosted email solution you can use your website’s domain name in your email address, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Email on the move. Unlike with POP3 and IMAP, the Exchange protocol allows you to access your tasks, calendars and shared contacts from any device. As the modern workforce becomes increasingly mobile, this is a huge advantage, as it makes it easier to coordinate with colleagues whilst you’re on the move – from a phone, laptop or tablet.
- Send larger attachments. A hosted email solution will typically allow you to send larger email attachments than free webmail.
- More mailbox features. A hosted Exchange email solution will include more advanced mailbox features like robust antivirus/antispam protection, mailbox rules and email forwarders/autoresponders, and backups/archives.
Microsoft Exchange and Office 365
For a complete business package, Office 365 gives powerful Exchange email, as well as a licence for offline and online versions of the entire Microsoft Office suite, including Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.
Office 365 is a perfect solution for businesses wanting to get started with a hosted email solution, and because it comes with Word and Excel, it’s the complete package for business productivity and collaboration.