Why Most Web Hosting Companies Hate Email

I got a good chuckle the other day while reading an article from Dreamhost, a popular web hosting company. The blog post, What Web Hosting is For, is all about email. They make the case that, while their customers buy web hosting, it’s email that their customers use more than anything—and they hate managing email for their customers. To quote them:
“Web Hosting is for email.
Stupid, boring, old, annoying, dumb, repetitive, stupid, boring, old, annoying, dumb, EMAIL.
Just over HALF of all the support requests we get are about email. Everything else we offer, combined, doesn’t add up to the amount of trouble, expense, use, and effort that goes into “simple” old email.

I have to give Dreamhost some credit here because they’re saying what many web hosting companies are really thinking. I’ve long said that web hosting companies offer email as a checklist item—something they spend very little time on. And while email hosting drives probably less than 1% of revenue for most of them, it likely drives up to 50% of support. What a bummer!
This is actually why we merged with Rackspace. They view the world differently which happened to be the same as us. They realize that IT hosting is a big part of the future and that IT starts with email. And so they’ve empowered us to maintain our focus on business-class email.
Dreamhost goes on to say that, when looking for a web host, people have:
“. . . been conditioned by Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, and Gmail to give email no value. I mean, everybody gives it away for free… nobody gives (real) web hosting away for free.
And yet, in the end, the only thing (sadly?) that actually ends up getting used, is that “no-value” email!

They are right here, too. The only argument I’d make is that while there is real web hosting (like what they offer, I’m sure), there is real email hosting as well. Free email doesn’t cut it in the business world. In fact, one of our largest sources of new customer acquisition is from businesses that currently host email with a web hosting company that doesn’t take email seriously. While it’s typically cheap or free, sooner or later they realize they need to work with a company that does this for a living. We currently host more than 800,000 paid email accounts—so we’re obviously not the only ones that think like this. Businesses do too. Besides, why would you want to leave your most important business communication tool up to someone that doesn’t even want to host it for you?

Rack Blogger is our catchall blog byline, subbed in when a Racker author moves on, or used when we publish a guest post. You can email Rack Blogger at blog@rackspace.com.


  1. Well said. My horror story is evidence. I purchased business hosting, including an online store and up to 500 mailboxes. Now you may ask, why would anyone but a business of considerable size need up to 500 mailboxes?

    So I naively assumed their email was adequate for business use. Boy was I wrong! Not only it was inadequate but dangerous!

    I tried to inform my customers (all of my e-mail addresses were given by customers in our RL store) of a special offer and all hell broke loose. I got bounced mails day and night. I got lableled as a spammer and my site was taking down pending investigation!!!

    This was due to the fact that changes were made, so the mailer had to be re-sent, which set up red flags in the server instantly.

    Working with a company who understands e-mail is worth every penny and is the best business investment anyone who relies on electronic mailers could make.


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