Our email hosting plans let you easily host email addresses for your domain. Getting started with email hosting can be a little daunting. This article gives an overview of everything you need to know. If you got a specific question then you can also check our page with Email FAQs. And, if you need any help along the way, we are here to get you started.

Email hosting packages

We offer both IMAP/POP3 email plans and Office 365. The main differences between the two is that Office 365 gives you a much larger mailbox (50GB) and that Office 365 can include Microsoft productivity software, such as Word and Excel. With Office 365 you can also get 1TB of space on OneDrive and use features such as shared contact lists and calendars. This article looks at IMAP/POP3 hosting packages. If you are interested in Office 365 then you can learn more about the available options on our Office 365 page.

We got four IMAP/POP3 email hosting plans:

  • The Startup package gives you 500MB of disk space (in total) for up to five email addresses. This is a good solution if you don’t need much storage space for emails (for instance because you adopt an “inbox zero” strategy). It is also a perfect solution if you want to just forward emails to another address, without storing emails on the server.
  • The Team plan gives you up to 20 email addresses and 4GB of disk space. You also have the option to add a second domain.
  • If you need more resources, the Company and Group packages give you 15 and 50GB of disk space, respectively, and let you host email for up to ten different domains.
Startup
  • £1.49
  • £14.99
  • 5
  • 1
  • 100MB
  • Included
  • Yes
  • 500MB
  • IMAP / POP3
  • Included
  • Included
Team
  • £3.99
  • £39.99
  • 20
  • 2
  • 200MB
  • Included
  • Yes
  • 4GB
  • IMAP / POP3
  • Included
  • Included
Company
  • £9.99
  • £99.99
  • 50
  • 4
  • 300MB
  • Included
  • Yes
  • 15GB
  • IMAP / POP3
  • Included
  • Included
Group
  • £39.99
  • £399.99
  • 100
  • 10
  • 500MB
  • Included
  • Yes
  • 50GB
  • IMAP / POP3
  • Included
  • Included

Using cPanel

All IMAP/POP3 hosting plans include the cPanel control panel. You can use the control panel to create and manage email addresses:

If the DNS for your domain is managed by us then you can also use the Zone Editor to manage DNS records.

DNS changes

You need two things to host email for your domain:

  • A Domain name. This is the address, or the bit after the @-sign in your email address.
  • A Hosting package. This is the disk space you need for your emails on a mail server.

If you bought both the domain name and hosting package from us then everything is configured correctly out of the box. However, if you bought the domain name elsewhere then you need to make some DNS changes to make sure that your emails are delivered to the new mail server. You can either change the domain’s name servers or change the MX (Mail Exchange) records for your domain:

Changing name servers

If you change your domain’s name servers then all the DNS for your domain is managed via the cPanel control panel. The name servers for all our IMAP/POP3 email hosting plans are ns5.catalyst2.net and ns6.catalyst2.net.

You can change your domain’s name servers via your domain registrar (that is, the company you bought the domain from). However, you need to be a little bit careful. As the old DNS zone becomes redundant you need to make sure that all relevant DNS records exist in the new DNS zone. For instance, if you have a website then you need to make sure that the main A record points to the server that is hosting your website. Please contact us if you are not sure about changing your domain’s name servers.

Changing MX records

If you want to change the MX records for your domain instead then you can replace your existing MX record(s) with the following two records:

Host:     your domain (i.e. example.com)
Target:   st2.mx.email-filter.net.
Priority: 10

Host:     your domain (i.e. example.com)
Target:   st3.mx.email-filter.net.
Priority: 10

You may also need to change the SPF TXT record for your domain. The following record works for the majority of use-cases:

v=spf1 mx a include:spf.active-ns.com

We can help

It is important to get the DNS changes for your domain right. If in any doubt, please contact us. We can help make sure that the DNS for your domain is set up correctly.

Switching from another company

We can usually migrate your emails from another company. There is no charge for this service, and all we need is a list with email addresses and passwords. We may also need to know the incoming mail server name for your current provider, though we can usually see that address.

The main thing to be aware of when you move from another company is that you need to change the DNS for your domain. It will take roughly 24 hours for that change to become fully effective, and during that time some incoming emails may still be delivered to the old mail server. We always do a second email migration 24 hours after the DNS for your domain has been updated. This picks up any emails delivered to the old server while the DNS was propagating. So, you won’t lose any emails, but some emails might be delayed for up to 24 hours.

Configuring email software

You can access your emails in your web browser and via email clients such as Outlook, Thunderbird and Mac Mail.

Web mail

The login page for web mail is always the server name followed by :2096. For instance, if your email is hosted on our Strawberry server then the login page is https://strawberry.active-ns.com:2096. If the DNS for your domain is managed by us then you can also use your domain followed by /webmail (i.e. example.com/webmail). The server name you should use is mentioned in the welcome email.

There are different web mail clients. We enable Roundcube by default. Roundcube is a modern-looking web mail client that has all the basic features you expect. If you are not familiar with Roundcube, we got a few knowledgebase articles to get you started:

You can also use the Horde web mail client. Horde is less intuitive but comes with more advanced options.

Email clients and apps

You can also use any up to date email software, such as Outlook or mail apps on phones and tablets. The only requirement is that your operating system and email client has support for current TLS standards. If you are using an operating system and/or email software that is no longer maintained then you may run into errors. There is a list of supported operating system and email clients on the Email FAQs page.

When you add a new email account you got the option to use either IMAP or POP3. Both are protocols used to retrieve emails from the mail server, but they work differently. We recommend using IMAP, in particular if you access your emails on more than one device (i.e. on a laptop and phone).

The settings you need when you add an email address are as follows:

User details
Username: your email address
Password: your secret password

Incoming server settings
Type: IMAP or POP3
Name: the server name (such as strawberry.active-ns.com)
Port: 993 for IMAP or 995 for POP3

Outgoing server settings
Name: the server name (such as strawberry.active-ns.com)
Port: 465
Authentication: enabled
SSL/TLS: enabled

If you are switching from another company then you probably already have one or more email addresses configured in your email client. In that case you can usually simply change the incoming and outgoing server names.

Spam and virus filter

All our email hosting plans include a spam and virus filter. The filter checks all incoming emails and gives them a “spam score”. Depending on the score the email is removed, quarantined or delivered to your inbox. You get a daily spam report if any emails are quarantined, and you can also log into the spam filter at any time via st2.mx.email-filter.net.

In almost all cases the filter “just works”. However, if you find that the filter is allowing or blocking too many emails then the settings can be tweaked. You can allow or block individual email addresses or domains, and we can make the filter more or less aggressive by tweaking the spam threshold.