How to Setup Your Custom Email Accounts in cPanel and Plesk?

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What is Email Hosting?

Email Hosting refers to a service provided by hosting companies that rent out and maintain a server dedicated to storing your business’s emails. Unlike free email services, a professional email hosting solution offers you greater control, flexibility, and customization over your email system, allowing you to create domain-specific emails (for example, joe@yourcompany.com).

See some of our best email hosting picks here.

There are two main types of control panel that hosting service providers mainly offer:

  1. cPanel, which is Linux-based, and
  2. Plesk, which is Windows-based.

Each of these has their own advantages and disadvantages but do not really affect your email hosting. In this article, we will guide you, step-by-step, on how to setup and configure your custom email accounts in Plesk and cPanel.

How to Setup Your Email Accounts in cPanel?

To set up an email account in cPanel, follow the steps below.

1. Enter your email hosting management area

Setting up a simple email account in cPanel

Log in to your cPanel account and click on ‘Email Accounts’.

2. Click “Create” to begin

Setting up a simple email in cPanel

2.1) This area shows the list of email addresses already existing on your email hosting account. Each email address must be unique.

2.2) Click on ‘Create’ to begin configuring a new email address.

3. Input new email account details

Setting up a simple email in cPanel

3.1) Type in a unique name for the email address you are creating. Normally this is created to reflect either a personal company email such as name@yourdomain.com or as a representative of a business function such as sales@yourdomain.com.

3.2) This is the domain name that is associated with your email hosting. You will not need to change anything here.

3.3) Enter a new password to be associated with this email address.

I recommend that you follow strong password creation policies. This normally means a password should include a combination of upper and lowercase characters combined with digital and special characters. It would be better for each account to have a unique password rather than recycling the same one over and again.

Examples of strong passwords;

  • P455word!@
  • sTrongPa55word-
  • 1LoveMy-keyboard!

3.4) If you can’t think of a strong password or are unsure, click on the ‘Generate’ button and the system will randomize a strong password for you. Make sure you take note of it!

3.5) Here you can set the amount of storage space that is to be allocated to the email account. How much space you allocate will depend on how many accounts you need to set up and the space that is available. Remember that emails today often come with large attachments and running out of space may result in problems receiving new emails.

3.6) If you aren’t creating this email for yourself, click this option to send a welcome mail to the new user. Remember that this email gets sent to the account you are creating, so you will still need to provide the email address and password to the user directly via other means. The welcome mail can be helpful as a part of the onboarding process for new colleagues.

3.7) Once that’s all complete, hit the ‘Create’ button and you’re done!

How to Setup Your Email Accounts in Plesk

Plesk is the Windows-based version of a web control panel and is just as simple as cPanel to use, if not more so. Remember, the type of control panel doesn’t really affect your email hosting and the difference is all in how the configuration is done.

1. Login to your email host

Setting up your custom email inbox with plesk

1.1) On the left navigation bar, click on ‘Mail’

1.2) The display pane on the right will then show the indicated screen. Click on ‘Create Email Address’ to start the configuration process.

2. Input new email account details

Setting up your custom email inbox with plesk

2.1) Enter a unique email address here. This name needs to be unique as the email system does not allow duplicate names on the same domain.

2.2) This is the domain that the email address will be hosted on. If you have only a single domain name, you will not need to change this. If you have more than one, then clicking it will show a list of domains you can choose from.

2.3) Enter a strong password here. This normally means a password should include a combination of upper and lowercase characters combined with digital and special characters. It would be better for each account to have a unique password rather than recycling the same one over and again.

Examples of strong passwords;

  • P455word!@
  • sTrongPa55word-
  • 1LoveMy-keyboard!

2.4) If you feel stumped or are still unsure what makes up a strong password, clicking ‘Generate’ will have the system make one up for you. Remember to take note of it.

2.5) Enter the same password again. This is just the system’s way of ensuring that you are remembering the password correctly or making you check it in case a typo was made.

2.6) You can choose to use the default space allocation for the mailbox size or to specify the limit. By default, Plesk allocated the maximum account-allowable space for that email address. The amount varies depending on what the email hosting provider sets it to.

2.7) Once you’ve entered all the necessary fields, click ‘Done’ and the email address will be ready. If you aren’t creating this email for yourself, remember to send the login details to the person you have created this email account for.


How to Setup MX Record for Your Emails

What is an MX Record?

Mail Exchange (MX) records are a type of DNS record. They indicate on record where emails sent to you will be routed. Unlike email addresses which must be created each time you want a new one, MX records only need to be set up once per domain.

There are two components of an MX record; Priority and Destination.

  • Priority – If you have more than one MX record, the priority allows you to set which will be given preference. A smaller number will indicate a higher priority. For example, if you have two MX records and one is set to Priority 10 and the other 20, the one with Priority 10 will be given precedence.
  • Destination – This is the user-friendly version of a working domain name. by user friendly I mean that it cannot be an IP address, but the name associated with that IP.

How to setup an MX Record in cPanel

1. Enter the Zone Editor

Setting up MX record of your custom email inbox in cPanel

1.1) Log in to cPanel and scroll till you reach the ‘Domains’ section. Click on ‘Zone Editor’.

2. Create a new MX Record

Setting up MX record of your custom email inbox in cPanel

2.1) The domain indicated here shows what valid domains you can create an MX Record for.

2.2) Click on ‘+MX Record’ to start the configuration process for a new MX Record.

3. Configure Priority and Destination of the MX Record

Setting up MX record of your custom email inbox in cPanel

3.1) Enter the Priority of the MX Record here. MX Record priorities are usually changed or allocated in factors of 5 or 10. For example, if you have only one MX Record you might allocate it as Priority 5.

3.2) Enter the Destination address. It is usual to label this as mail.yourdomain.com as indicative that it is an MX record for your mail server. Once you’re done click on ‘Add an MX Record’.

How to setup an MX Record in Plesk?

1. Navigate to DNS settings

Setting up MX record of your custom email inbox in Plesk

1.1) On the left navigation pane, click on Websites & Domains. On the right viewing panel, scroll to the domain you want to create an MX Record for and click on ‘DNS Settings’.

2. Start a new MX Record

Setting up MX record of your custom email inbox in Plesk

2.1) On the right viewing pane, click on ‘Add Record’.

3. Configuring the MX Record

Setting up MX record of your custom email inbox in Plesk

3.1) This is a dropdown list of record types you can create. Click on it and select ‘MX’.

3.2) Enter the domain name you want to create for your mail server. It is in the format of mailserver.domainname.TLD

3.3) From the dropdown list, choose the priority to be given to this mail server. You will not need to configure this unless you have more than one MX Record. Once done, click ‘OK’ and your MX record will be done.

Samples of MX Records

Sample of MX record.
Sample of MX record.

It is important to remember that an MX Record must point to the friendly name of a mail server – not the IP address. Here are some examples of valid MX Records;

  • webmail.yourdomain.com
  • mail.yourdomain.com
  • mailserver.yourdomain.com

How to Setup SPF Record for Your Email?

What is SPF Record?

A Sender Policy Framework (SPF) Record indicates which mail servers can be used to send email from your domain. They are normally defined in the DNS area of your web hosting account and are saved as TXT Records.

The SPF Record always with a ‘v=’ which is the SPF version in use. The most common would be ‘spf1’ and is almost universally accepted today. Everything that follows the ‘v=’ indicator is the rules that define the hosts allowed or not allowed to send email from your domain.

For example:

  • MX
  • ip4
  • exists
  • Added to those rules are modifiers;
  • redirect
  • exp

And definitions such as:

  • a
  • MX
  • ip4
  • ip6
  • exists

Then finally, we have the qualifiers which indicate how to handle a match:

  • + for pass
  • –  for fail
  • ~ for soft fail
  • ? for neutral

Sample of SPF Records

v=spf1 ip4:x.x.x.x include: spf.thirdparty.com ~all

Breakdown of the SPF Record:

  • v=spf1 indicates the SPF version
  • ip4:x.x.x.x allows the IP4 domain indicated to send email
  • include: spf.google.com is the list of authorized servers
  • ~all means that any server not included is explicitly not allowed to send ema

How to setup an SPF Record in cPanel

1. Access the DNS Editor

Configuring email SPF record in cPanel

1.1) Log in to your cPanel and click on ‘Zone Editor’ to enter the records management area.

2. Enter the extended management area

Configuring email SPF record in cPanel

2.1) In cPanel the main Zone Editor screen only gives you access to create or edit 3 record types; A, CNAME, and MX. To create a TXT record for SPF Record you will need to click on ‘Manage’ to enter the extended area.

3. Adding a TXT Record

Configuring email SPF record in cPanel

3.1) On the right side of the screen there will be a dropdown menu where you can select the type of record you want to create. Expand the list and select ‘Add TXT Record’.

Configuring email SPF record in cPanel

3.2) Under the ‘Record’ column you can type in / paste your definition for the SPF Record. Once done, click ‘Add Record’.

How to setup an SPF Record in Plesk

1. Access DNS Settings

Configuring email SPF record in Plesk

1.1) In the Plesk control panel, click on ‘Websites & Domains’ on the left navigation bar. On the right side viewing panel click on ‘DNS Settings’.

2. Adding a new record

Configuring email SPF record in Plesk

2.1) Once in the DNS Settings area, click on ‘Add Record’.

3. Building your SPF Record

Configuring email SPF record in Plesk

3.1. From the dropdown menu, select the TXT record type.

3.2. Enter your SPF Record definition here then click on ‘OK’. You’re done!

Final Thoughts

Setting up custom email accounts in both cPanel and Plesk is easier than it might seem. By following the steps we’ve outlined, you can manage your email accounts smoothly, ensuring your communication is professional and secure.

If you run into any problems or have questions, don’t hesitate to check the support documentation from your email hosting provider or reach out to their customer support team. Whether you’re using cPanel or Plesk, these tools will help you keep your email organized and efficient.

For more tips and guides on web hosting and related topics, keep exploring our learning resources at HostScore. We’re here to help you get the best out of your hosting experience.


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Article by Jerry Low

Jerry Low has immersed himself in web technologies for over a decade and has built many successful sites from scratch. He is a self-professed geek who has made it his life’s ambition to keep the web hosting industry honest. For latest personal updates and news, follow Jerry on Facebook and Twitter.
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