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I am not in a position to buy my own domain right now. I have no other option, but to use a free email provider. Can that affect my chances of getting hired by clients?

Unfortunately for me, first.last@gmail.com for my name is not available. Which one of these should I avoid?

  1. first.last@zoho.com
  2. first.last@icloud.com
  3. last.first@outlook.com (Yes, first.last@outlook.com is also taken!)
  • Aside from the assertion that the OP isn't able to get a domain, I find this a very valid question, and one I ponder repeatedly. I still have mixed opinions myself. – user16080 Mar 8 '19 at 2:39
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If you're not in the position to buy a domain (most available for under $15/yr), then you may need to look at other options.

For the longest time, I used firstlast@gmail.com, and clients didn't seem to mind. The biggest thing to remember is that if you use an email from your preteen years (ie supersexyguy6969@hotmail.com), it will be seen as very unprofessional.

If firstlast is not available, look at other variations. You could also use this time to create a company name, and see if that's available (check your provincial/state registries as well), and create an email address based on that.

Whatever you decide, make sure you will always have access to it. For example, don't get email hosted by your ISP if you think you'll ever choose another ISP.

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  • Not even $15 for the first year :). You can get them $1.99 for the first year. – Peter MV Jun 19 '18 at 11:37
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My personal opinion is that it says a great deal about someone who is in the business of web dev or online business and they don't have their own domain. Costs are so very minimal, if you are serious about the business, you get a domain.

The reality is even one single project should provide enough financial resources to register a domain for many years.

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One of the costs of a registered domain is administering it. It ends up being hours, maybe not cash, but it is still a cost. If you're in or serving online business, you eat it. Otherwise, one option is to use a mail provider who can offer you a sub-domain. My provider, Fastmail.com, (and I'm sure there are others) offer sub-domains on one of their many domains. So I chose MyName@<MyBizName>.fastmail.fm. It was free, it contains my business name and my personal name, just like a Me@MyDomain.com would plus another element or two. I've never had any less-than-positive comments on it.

(Disclaimer: I have no connection to my provider except as a 10+ year happy customer.)

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    I disagree that it takes "hours" to administer a domain. It take me literally 1 0 minutes whenever the domain is up for renewal, that's it. So that can be 10 minutes every year or 10 minutes every 5 years, or 10 minutes every decade... not what I see as "hours" at all. – Scott Jul 1 '18 at 16:32
  • @Scott if it takes you 10 minutes you must have a very long account number, super complicated password and five-factor authentication over dial-up internet connection. It takes me more time to read the emails reminder than doing the renewal for domain and hosting combined (different provider for each). – user16080 Mar 8 '19 at 2:35

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