I’ve been making the case for a while that all businesses should outsource their e-mail to a third party. The reason is that e-mail is a specialized service that requires constant maintenance and configuration. You need to run dedicated software to constantly scan incoming e-mails for anti-virus, and there are dozens of things that can go wrong. Not to mention having to constantly monitor storage space as spam e-mails can quickly use it all up. A few weeks ago, I set up the Cloudflare e-mail system for free, and it’s amazing.
For a small business, however, using a 3rd party e-mail solution like Google Workspace can cost almost as much as basic web hosting! And for this reason, I’ve been waiting for Cloudflare’s latest e-mail Beta to become available. And a short while ago, I obtained access! It’s everything I could have hoped for.
Here’s how you too, can use Cloudflare’s e-mail feature to eliminate spam on your server.
E-mail Puts Serious Demands on your Server
From having to filter spam and scanning everything for viruses, e-mail systems put strains on a server that they’re not built to handle well. For example, the anti-virus on my server was using up 40% of the available RAM just holding all the virus signatures!
And it’s not just about raw power. E-mails are a configuration nightmare. Setting up access to inboxes, using the details to connect via SMTP or POP, and thinking of all the possible security implications, etc. Not to mention the default webmail for accessing e-mails is usually terrible. For all these reasons, it’s much better to just hand it over to a 3rd party.
Spam Filtering is a Real Problem: Gmail or Outlook Spam Filters are Better
No matter how good your server’s spam filters are, they’ll never be as good as the ones used by the big guns – Gmail, Outlook, or even Yahoo! This means you will get inundated by spam. And the danger of aggressive spam policies is that you might end up blocking legitimate e-mails.
What we want is a cost-effective way to use Gmail’s spam filters on our business e-mail, without needing to purchase a plan.
Enter Cloudflare E-mail Routing
This new Cloudflare feature lets you create any number of e-mail addresses and forward them to your regular Gmail or Outlook address. Here’s a screenshot:
On this screen, I’ve created three e-mails for my site wp-tweaks.com. I’ve set them all to forward to my outlook.com e-mail address. And because of the excellent spam filtering, I don’t need to worry that I’ve put my main e-mail ID – [email protected] on the front page of my site. Because I can trust the spam systems installed by Outlook to do their job efficiently.
The process of setting this up once you have access to the Beta is amazingly simple. Just verify your Gmail or Outlook e-mail with Cloudflare, and you can then set up as many addresses as you want. Here’s a screenshot of the DNS MX records that Cloudflare adds automatically for me:
If Cloudflare manages your DNS records, you don’t even need to add these yourself. Just click a button and everything is ready to go.
You can even enable a “catch-all” address to which Cloudflare forwards all e-mails addressed to your domain even if they’re not in the list of e-mails you specify. I haven’t enabled this, but it’s just a click of a button.
And the Best Part is that It’s Free
The cool part of this is that Cloudflare does this for free. Unlimited emails linked to your domain can be forwarded to any e-mail you own at no charge. In one blow, this erases all the competition that charged for this service. I do feel bad for the products that Cloudflare puts out of business though :(. How do you compete with free?
Summary: I Can Finally Show a Plain-Text E-mail on my Site
With this, I can confidently display an e-mail on my site that has my domain name, without worrying about getting inundated with spam.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!
How do email replies work with the emails forwarded to your @Outloook.com address? Are you able to reply with the original email @wp-tweaks.com address?
Bhagwad Park says
No, it’s just a forwarding service. The reply will come from the Outlook address.