Why I use Outlook.com for my custom email accounts (and how you can too)

Why I use Outlook.com for my custom email accounts (and how you can too)

Summary: Microsoft’s best-kept email secret is an online tool that allows you to connect any custom domain to its shiny new Outlook.com back end, for personal or business mail. It’s free, and it works amazingly well. [Update: Microsoft has ended this service.]


[Update, April 10, 2014. Microsoft has ended this service. Existing customers can continue to use addresses that are already set up, but you can no longer attach your own domain to Outlook.com. For details, see "Microsoft ends support for custom domains in free email service."]

I've removed the instructions that were previously on this page, as they are no longer functional.

Topics: Networking, Microsoft

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  • Only 50 addresses?

    Too bad they don't allow catch-all addresses.
    • .

      haven't MS ditched catch all email addresses even in exchange 2010 and upwards?
      • ...

        Not sure. I've primarily used webmail providers for the past 8+ years. ;)
    • Outlook.com is a total fail

      Many things are very disturbing and if they don't change it (I doubt they will change it) I never gonna switch.

      1. No catch-all (solution is to create a full mail account for each alias and forward it to the main account, totally absurd, also one has to login to each mail alias account every x days)

      2. Skydrive is censored. I am not allowed to upload as a backup for myself (no sharing!) the beach photo of my wife. The TOS forbid it and many users have been locked out because of such thing.

      3. No IMAP. I know probably only 1% need IMAP. I need it.

      4. No custom display images for address book contacts.

      5. Indian Microsoft support with copy and paste answers in their forums

      6. Spam filter is as bad as the Gmail spam filter.
      • Nope it is not

        @JamesDevon, I didn't agree with you, especially on #3I am using my outlook on my Andriod and Windows Phone, using Exchange, so though techincally Imap is not there, but I can still use it like IMAP.

        #5 that is true for all Tech support of any company, so why you include that in outlook failure only ?

        #6 Outlook has better spam protection as I feel, though both Gmail and mS are all good.
        • I'll agree and add to it

          2. I don't know what specific issue you're having, but I haven't been rejected for any file ever on Sky Drive. Even if it's in TOS, why would a photo of you're wife on the beach be "censored"?

          3. Exchange active sync is effectively IMAP on steroids. It functions the same, is much more reliable, and works on ALL my devices. IMAP is antiquated so IMO "doesn't have IMAP" in this case is a good thing.
    • Just one email address fill up fast, i could not imagine 50 email addresses

      Just one email address fill up fast, i could not imagine 50 email addresses
  • Google already has this.

    Mr. Bott, I am not sure if you know this, but free-Gmail already has this feature. As a matter of fact, I have been using it for years. As for their anti-Spam feature, not only has THAT been around for years, but it's also considered to be Legendary and superior to other free and non-free email solutions.
    • I already use my own domain with Gmail

      How do I create multiple accounts for family members with one free Gmail address?

      By the way, the real problem with Gmail spam filtering is that it puts a lot of legitimate email in the spam box. The last two times I've looked,. my Gmail spambox has been 100% legitimate email, and it's often 30-50%. Outlook.com lets a little spam through but it never (so far) puts legitimate email in the spambox.

      Whether this makes Gmail "better" is another question, but it's one reason I shifted my wife's account from Gmail to Outlook.com: she's much more reliable at deleting spam than she is at retrieving Gmail mistakes from the spambox.
      Jack Schofield
      • Outlook.com false positive

        While I've had an Outlook.com account for a while now, I only started actively using it recently. The first e-mail that appeared in my Junk folder at Outlook.com was a legitimate e-mail (an account activation e-mail from a service I had signed up for).
      • Gmail spambox

        The only legitimate email I see in my Gmail spam is email from companies that I consistently delete without reading. For instance, I've bought clothes for my wife from a couple of online stores. I don't want to read their email specials unless it's close to anniversary, Christmas or birthday, so they get deleted a lot. After awhile, I will see that stuff start showing up in Spam. This is part of "training" Gmail to recognize spam.
        big red one
        • I temporarily used Gmail for journal purposes...

          While moving my mail archiving from a local box to a cloud provider. Gmail randomly moved messages from my users into spam. I created specific rules and wildcard rules for every user / domain in my organization and still kept finding hundreds of messages in there every week.

          Also, automatically deleting the messages once they had been archived via my archiving application didn't work because Gmail doesn't actually delete anything when you click delete. I Would have to log into the account and manually delete all the messages every day. Sometimes it would crash / freeze if I had over say 5 GB of messages to delete at once, so I would have to go through and select / delete them 100 at a time.

          TLDR; I now hate Gmail.
      • Been using Outlook much as Ed has.

        I see about one peice of spam per month in the inbox. Absolutly great I would say. No good email has gone to the junk folder yet!

        I also have a business account that my company uses through Gmail as also brought up. I also have a personal Gmail account. Personally I just like the Outlook better.

        To each his own I guess.
      • gmail spam filters work for me

        gmail spam filters work extremely well for me. Not much spam gets through and very few legitimate emails get filtered as spam. I have a custom domain hosted by gmail and, like Ed, I've had that same email address for about 20 years so I get a lot of spam.
    • Gmail is no more free

      $50 per account per year.

      Old domains which were free continue to get their pre-claimed quota.
    • You're grandfathered in

      Google stopped offering this feature as a free offering last year. Costs $50 per user now.
      Ed Bott
      • Incorrect and misleading!

        I still use it and enable such configurations for my colleagues and family. These have been set up in such a way, no one can tell from which email address or which device one responds... For example, if you have received a mail on your POP server that can't be accessed through WAN, when you respond using gmail from whichever device form whatever place, it goes as a response from your POP account without the hint from where it has been sent. I simply disagree with the evidence at hand. I don't say that now Outlook.com does not have these features.... they may very well have it, but to suggest that this is the first and is charged, It is incorrect and misleading. I have mentioned everything that has been possible for me to do with the free individual account.
        • You're just forwarding email

          You can do that with any account, but then your mail goes through two servers before it gets to you. The advantage of this type of setup, just as with Office 365, Exchange, or Google Apps for Business, is that your account is a full-fledged mailbox on the back end.

          If all you want to do is aggregate stuff from POP servers you can do that with Gmail, Outlook.com, or anything you want. But it's not the same thing at all.
          Ed Bott
    • Google SPam Filter

      I guess Google might have good Spam Filters because they are responsible for about 90% of the SPAM on the Internet already. It's sickening to look at all the companies that Google owns that are SPAM related.
    • Are you talking about the same thing?

      Be certain you aren't confusing the ability for G-Mail to fetch e-mail from your other accounts and send replies in that account's name as what this article is discussing.

      Could you set up sending and receiving e-mail from "mail@mydomain.com" without having another server somewhere receiving e-mail for that account? If not, it is not the same as what is being discussed here.

      Fortunately, I am grandfathered in to my free Google Apps account, but it is nice to have this information for clients and friends.