Ten years ago, we were installing a lot of mail servers for design firms and advertising agencies across the greater Seattle area. Today, however, we rarely recommend our clients host their own mail servers.

Why the change? Email has become the key tool for conducting business. Creative teams are accessing email away from the office with laptops, webmail, and (increasingly) iPhones. And most significantly, fighting spam has become a full-time job.

In short, if you own an independent creative studio, there is one good reason to have your email handled by a dedicated hosting company: They’ll probably do a better job than you.

MailTrust – Business Email Hosting.

MailTrust.gifWhile we do recommend clients have their mail handled by a dedicated hosting company, not all Internet providers do a great job with email.

At Creativetechs, we like MailTrust. Unlike other hosting companies, MailTrust focuses exclusively on email services. In return for that focus, they provide some of the best mail hosting we’ve worked with over the years.

Costs range from $30/month for a 10-person team using their “Noteworthy” email service (that’s what we use here), or $15/month per mailbox for full Microsoft Exchange hosting:

MailTrust: Noteworthy Hosted Email.

MailTrust: Hosted Microsoft Exchange.

Want to Host Your Own Mail Server?

But what if you do want to host your own mail server? CreativeTechs’ lead enterprise engineer, Jordan Bojar, just published a 4-part series on his technical blog detailing how to properly host email with Mac OS X Leopard Server:

Part 1 — Arguments Against Hosting Email; Basic Mail Services.

Part 2 — Setting up User Accounts; Securing Email Access.

Part 3 — MX Records & DNS.

Part 4 — Redundancy: Backup MX Server; XSan Mail Clustering.

Source: This tip inspired by a number of email migration projects, including clients such as Hodgson/Meyers, India Tree, Stanton & Everybody, ect. Special thanks to Ben Greiner at Forget Computers in Chicago for recommending MailTrust to us a little over two years ago.