People often ask me what the best and cheapest way is to set up a custom domain email, not just your standard free google.com email. You can of course pay Google, but I’m not a big fan of their interface or snooping on your email to better advertise to you.
I personally use Fastmail. It’s professional, fast, reliable, and has a nice web interface. If you’re interested, my referral code for 10% off your first year is here:
There used to be a few decent free options, but as Google has started charging, so have the others.
Do you ever need to check if a website changes? I use an automated site checker for this such as visualping.io. What’s this useful for?:
- If you’re watching a product’s availability on a site, for example to buy a hard-to-find item such as a popular game console.
- If you need to see if data or text changes on sites for your job, for whatever information is contained on those pages; this could be for data analysis or competitive research.
- If you have your own website and want to see if it goes down for any reason.
There are probably many more reasons to check websites. Visualping and other sites make money by having you pay if you need checks more frequently than every day. There used to be many PC-installed software tools for this purpose, but this has largely moved to the cloud, which I think makes sense for simplicity and ease of use.
Got some unused domain names that you believe have value? Selling those domains rather than just letting them expire can be tricky. There are a lot of domain auction and resale sites on the internet but we believe only one approach is above the rest.
Afternic.com is one of the most popular domain selling services. The key is to use their Premium Promotional Level. This allows your domain to appear on other domain sites for sale along with unowned domains. In order for this to work, you must also set a Buy Now price. This premium level is only available with certain domain name registrars. We highly recommend hover.com. Once afternic confirms you are the domain owner, your domain will then appear on many sites when people are searching for domain names to buy.
Google email works with email@example.com, but you could also use firstname.lastname@example.org. To do this, you sign up for Google Apps, which is offered in Standard (Free) and Premier Editions. Go to: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/group/
There are a couple of ways to do this:
The simplest is to choose “I want to buy a domain” which allows you to buy a domain through Google (which actually uses GoDaddy as the registrar and costs $10/month), which provides you a domain pre-configured to use Google services.
The other method is to use your existing domain or purchase from domain registrar service and assign the MX records to Google. Your DNS Manager or Domain Manager page from your registrar would then look like this:
The second method requires that you also verify that you own the domain by updating the cname record or uploading a file to the domain.
After pointing your MX records to Google, you can get your email by going to:
..where yourdomainname.com is actually your domain name.
Because that’s a long address, I typically set up a URL pointer so that mail.yourdomainname.com will point to the above address. This is also handled in the DNS management page at your domain registrar. The URL pointing would look like this:If your registrar’s DNS management system does not allow such a redirect, then you can set up a redirect from your website, for example from yourdomainname.com/mail/.
SSL stands for secure socket layer. It is the technique used to encrypt and secure data over the internet. It is most known for use in web browsers. When you go to a secure web site (known as http over SSL or https), you will see a little lock icon somewhere which shows you that the site is secure. Things get complicated when you shop for SSL certificates where you can also get site seals or EV SSL and you’ll find a wide range of prices ranging from $30/year to over $1,000/year.
- SSL certificate – A basic SSL certificate is all you need for a lock to be displayed in a browser.
- Site seal – If you purchase an SSL certificate, it often comes with a site seal which is a little graphic you can display on your site which will tell visitors that your site is secured by that SSL seller.
- “Deluxe” or “Premium” SSL – Most SSL sellers offer some more expensive version of SSL which is typically the exact same SSL certificate accompanied with a site seal or more advanced site seal.
- Multi-domain SSL – It is possible to purchase one SSL certificate that can work for multiple domains which makes it much easier to manage if you need to secure many domains. This is typically only worth getting if you have a lot of domains.
- Extended Validation (EV) SSL – This is the latest and most expensive SSL which in addition to basic SSL will also cause a green security bar to be shown in the latest web browsers. The green bar means the SSL purchase was verified as a real business which is supposed to make the visitor feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Considering it isn’t that hard to make a fake business, I never get that feeling. Also, less than 1/3 of browsers in use right now can show the green bar and most people don’t even know what it means yet.
Without encryption, everything you send from your computer to a web server is totally readable by anything in between. Things get even more unsafe if you are at an open wifi spot at a cafe where anyone around you can watch all the unencrypted data you are sending and receiving. As a result, some actions such as site logins or purchasing online must be encrypted with SSL.
There are several places you can buy SSL certificates. Many are extremely overpriced for no good reason. From cheapest to most expensive, I’d recommend the following:
- GoDaddy.com – The standard SSL from GoDaddy is $30/year and you can typically get a discount off of that with a promo code. They also offer EV SSL for $500/year. Sadly, that is relatively cheap for EV SSL. One complaint I have about GoDaddy is their site to manage your SSL is ugly and confusing. Another problem is they are not a top tier SSL provider so you have to install what’s called a certificate chain file in addition to the certificate. If you can handle the extra work and poor site, they are the cheapest way to go and in the end, the SSL works the same.
- Geocerts – This is a site that resells GeoTrust certificates for cheaper than GeoTrust sells directly. GeoTrust certificates are easier to install than GoDaddy because you don’t have to deal with a certificate chain. They also make the process quick and easy. Their basic SSL is $99 and their Premium is $129. If you want a good site seal that is clickable that brings up a useful dialog box about your SSL, GeoTrust Premium is the way to go.
- VeriSign – These guys have been around for a long time and they do a good job but their prices are nuts. $400 for basic SSL and $1000 for EV SSL. If money is no object, you can consider them.