Zoho Mail setup guide

Zoho Mail is currently the only email hosting provider that still offers a free plan, which supports 1 domain name and up to 5 users. However, Zoho has limited the available features on the free plan, so read the plan information carefully to ensure it meets your needs, or select a different plan that does.

Zoho Mail is quite popular with individuals getting started with their first custom email accounts, and for those starting up small businesses and wanting professional branding.

Signing up

Once you have registered your domain name, or if you already have one previously registered, you will then sign up for your Zoho Mail account. The following instructions are for the free account option, though the process is similar for all plans.

Select the Sign up with a domain I already own radio button. Type or paste your domain name into the domain field that shows www. at the beginning.

Enter your name and the username for the first email address that you want to create. That email address will be your administrator account in Zoho Mail.

You will also need to add a separate mobile phone number or email address. This will be the phone number or email address you use to login to your main Zoho Mail account.

DO NOT USE AN EMAIL ADDRESS THAT YOU HAVE NOT CREATED YET, like one using your new domain name. Use an existing email address that you know is already active. As always, make sure you use a strong password that's different from any other passwords you use.

Once everything looks good (check for typos!) click the red Sign Up button.

Zoho Mail signup page #1

The system will process for a moment, then refresh to a Welcome page. It will list the type of account you have and what's included with it. When you're ready to continue with setup, click the Setup "mydomainname.com" in Zoho link to continue.

Zoho Mail setup page 2

Setting up your domain

On the next page, click Choose on the drop-down list to select your domain's DNS Manager. iwantmyname isn't listed there, so just click on Others... at the bottom of the list.

Zoho Mail setup DNS

When the page refreshes, it will display the verification code you need in the box under Name / Host / Alias / CNAME as well as the rest of the information you'll need for the verification record under Value / Points To / Destination.

Our one-click install will take care of the records for you. You just need to copy the verification code.

Zoho Mail setup CNAME verification

Copy the code that starts with "zb" followed by a string of numbers.

Login to your iwantmyname account and go to your dashboard. Next you need to go to the Zoho Mail install page. There is a few ways of getting there.

From the dashboard you can click on Services & Applications.

iwmn dashboard - Services & Applications

From the top navigation menu you can click on Setup, then Apps & Services.

iwmn dashboard - Apps & Services menu
If you go to the page listing your domains, you can click on Install new service to the right of the domain name.

iwmn dashboard - install new service

Or you can go to the domain's page, click on manage DNS records.

iwmn dashboard - manage DNS records

In the search field above your DNS records listings, type Zoho Mail in the search field and press Enter.

iwmn dashboard - one-click install
Once you are on the Zoho Mail install page, paste the verification code from your Zoho Mail account into the verification code field, select your general location from the Location drop-down list.

Note: there are only three regions in the Location list. The one you will use depends which Zoho site you used to create your account. For example, if you logged in to mail.zoho.com, then you will use the .COM settings. If you logged in to mail.zoho.eu or mail.zoho.com.cn, then you will use the iwantmyname settings corresponding to that TLD (domain extension).

Once everything else is completed, click the green Install Zoho Mail button.

Zoho Mail install selections
When the page refreshes you'll see a Finished! notification, and if you look at your dashboard, you'll see the verification CNAME record and the MX records you need for email.

iwmn dashboard - Zoho Mail install - DNS records success

It will take at least a couple of hours for those new records to propagate enough for Zoho to detect them, so you likely won't be able to finish the verification and setup right away.

Completing verification

But when you return, go back to your Zoho Mail account to complete verification. When you're logged in there, at the bottom of the setup page you were previously on, click the green CNAME Lookup button.

Zoho Mail setup - CNAME verification

Zoho Mail's system will check for the DNS records you set up. You should see a success pop-up message. If you don't, wait another hour or two to enable the records to propagate further, then try it again.

Zoho will also encourage you to set up and verify some DKIM and SPF security records. They are optional, but if you would like to add them there is more information at the end of this guide.

Zoho Mail setup - verification success

If you do see the verification message stating that the records are perfect, click the green Verify Now button.

The page should refresh to a Congratulations! page, and show the username you provided at the beginning for the admin account email address.

Setting up email addresses

Zoho Mail setup - admin account setup

If that's the username/email address you want to create, that's great. Click the Create Account button to continue. If you changed your mind or there's a typo, edit the username to what you want it to be, then click the Create Account button.

At this point you get into the various parts of setting up the account, as you can see from the left sidebar navigation. The overall account that you have created manages everything, including the various users and email addresses you set up, any groups, how email gets delivered, etc.

You may want to set all of these things, or you may have only wanted one email address, and that setup is already completed. There are also side options like setting up forwarding to another email client or account.

If you would like additional email addresses, click on the green Proceed to Add Users button. If not, click the green Skip button through the setup pages for any options that don't interest you. You can always go back and set them up later.

Zoho Mail setup - additional functions

You can either do the setup for additional users/email addresses yourself on that next page, or you can send an invitation to another user and they login to Zoho Mail and set up their account themselves. You have to send the invitation to an email address that already exists, not the one they are going to create using your new domain.

Zoho Mail setup - invite users function

Once you finish proceeding through setup, you'll be taken to the Zoho Mail webmail inbox/interface. And that's pretty much it! Take a look around your Zoho Mail dashboard and get familiar with it.

You can use Zoho Mail's web interface for your custom domain email, like you might for Gmail or Hotmail. Or you can set it up to forward to another web-based or desktop email client or account you already use.

Confirming Zoho account registration

You will receive two emails from Zoho Mail at the email address you used for account setup.

One has the subject line "Welcome to Zoho" and has a link in it that you need to click on to confirm you the registration of your Zoho account.  

Zoho Mail setup - welcome email

Once you click the link, a confirmation page should open in your browser showing successful confirmation of your email address and account. Until this is done you won't be able to start using the account correctly or be able to send/receive emails using your new email address(es).

Zoho Mail setup - verification confirmation

Additional functionality, services, and support

The second email has the subject line "Welcome to Zoho Mail" and outlines various setup things you need to do or might want to do.

Some additional setup information that might be of interest:

Zoho Mail Help Center - anything and everything you need to know about setup and functions and how to search for more help.

User Guide - How-to information for pretty much everything from getting started to advanced functionality.

SPF/DKIM - SPF and DKIM records are for additional security, and are quite easy to add to your iwantmyname dashboard. (Use the TXT Type.) If you have questions or need help setting that up, just let us know.

Two-factor Authentication - an account security feature that we recommend setting up for all accounts when possible.

Email Forwarding - to access your custom email account from a different account or client that you use.

Mobile Access - Zoho has its own mail app that you can use on the go. Or, as mentioned, you can set up Zoho Mail to forward to any existing email client that you use.


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